Don Tonge (born 1950) has been photographing his hometown of Bolton since the late 1960s. Starting out as an amateur, he won a photography competition organised by Granada Television in 1981. This launched his career as a press and theatre photographer. For this exhibition, Don has selected his favourite images from a single decade: the 1970s.
"It was in the late 1960s that I got the photography bug. I would wander the streets as there was always something happening: a man carrying a table top on his shoulders, football supporters balanced precariously on a high wall or kids playing and shouting, 'Hey mister, take our photo!'
"It was only later that I became aware of the Mass Observation photographer, Humphrey Spender, who documented Bolton in the late 1930s. And it was later still that I realised how many of my photographs were taken in the area around Davenport Street where Mass Observation had their headquarters.
"I hadn't looked at my totally disorganized archive of photographs for many years. When the pandemic arrived in early 2020 and I was self-isolating, I began to find and scan negatives I didn't even know I had. I began taking my first really interesting photographs in the early 1970s and it was then that I joined Bolton Camera Club and started entering competitions. Of all the photographs I've taken over the years, the ones that I took in the seventies seem to resonate most strongly with people. That's why we've chosen to concentrate on them here."