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I Belong Jarrow

I was born and brought up in Jarrow, a tough industrial town on the south bank of the river Tyne. It’s where I call home.
I have lived abroad for more years than I care to admit. My Mother and Father are getting old and moving out of Jarrow, cutting me adrift with no way back. Finally, I have been forced to think about who I am and where I belong.

I never wanted to leave Jarrow. I always imagined that one day I would make it my home. I realise now that I can never return. Somehow I traded knowledge of the outside world for some vital piece of me. With this realisation, I have returned
home in order to try to establish how much of where I am from determines who I am, and to begin to understand why I can´t seem to let go.

What makes Jarrow so special? It may have a rich history stretching back to pre-Roman times but this isn’t what makes it special to me. Rather, its relevance seems too be something essentially intangible. Is Jarrow a place that exists more in my imagination than in reality? Perhaps its essence is based on a collection of handed down stories rather than facts? Sadly, the places connected to these stories are disappearing fast and I feel the need to preserve them somehow, if only so that I can share them with my children.

Hopefully, by photographing the places I know intimately I can show something we all instinctively recognize; that, as L.P. Hartley said so eloquently “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”.


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