Hull fishing photobook campaign reaches £17k target

Published
Image source, Alec Gill
Image caption, "The buildings and shops were only a background, it's the people I am interested in", said Mr Gill

A book of photographs of Hull's fishing heritage over the past 50 years is to be published after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than £19,000.

Alec Gill, 74, has been taking pictures of Hessle Road in Hull since he started photographing St Andrew's fish dock in 1971 at the age of 24.

Initially a crowdfunding campaign for the book of photographs hoped to raise £17,000 but it has now reached £19,300.

Mr Gill said he was "so excited" that his photos will finally be published.

Image source, Alec Gill
Image caption, The trawlermen and workers on the docks and in its factories mostly lived around Hessle Road in the east of Hull

The crowdfunding campaign for a "beautiful book" to bring the photos together was started by Hull-born Iranzu Baker after she saw Mr Gill's photographs at a Hull City of Culture exhibition in 2017.

"I knew when I first saw his work this would be such a special thing. They are such beautiful and important images," said Ms Baker, who works in a London design studio.

"What Alec has done is so incredible it needs to be created in book form."

Ms Baker said the book will be "historically and socially" important, not just for Hull.

The photos depict intense human emotion, she said, telling stories of life on trawlers in icy waters, families waiting for their men to return and of the children's freedom on the streets.

Image source, Alec Gill
Image caption, Mr Gill was a mature psychology student at the University of Hull when he took many of the photos and has described himself as "a psychologist with a camera"

Gill, a mature psychology student at the University of Hull when he took many of the images, said he photographed the area to "chronicle the decline of the local fishing industry" around Hessle Road in west Hull.

The book will consist of 200 photographs from his collection of more than 6,600.

Initially 500 copies will be printed, using offset lithography printing to reproduce high-quality images with paper from Hull company JS Smith.

Image source, Alec Gill
Image caption, Alec Gill's first photographic exhibition, The Kids of Hessle Road, was in 1979 and captures the community of a close-knit area of mainly terraced streets close to the trawlers' dock
Image source, Alec Gill
Image caption, By 1976, Hull's trawler fleet had lost the battle for fishing rights in the Icelandic Cod Wars and Mr Gill recalls the "sad sight" of hundreds of trawlers dismantled in the scrap yard

Ms Baker said they were "really excited" about the book which she hopes will be published by April, with individual photographs available earlier.

People can also contribute to the crowdfunding campaign until midday on Thursday.

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