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Appleby Horse Fair - Steve Franck, 2010

22 July 2010

I first heard about the Appleby Horse Fair when a photographer friend showed me some of her work. I was struck by the actual and metaphorical colour of the people and the fair. It dates back hundreds of years and enjoys Royal Charter status, ensuring that gypsies and travellers return to Cumbria every year to trade horses and meet up with family and friends.

This image is part of an audio slideshow feature shot for the BBC News web site. I’d been supplying the news site with images as a freelance for a few years, but before I spoke to the picture editor I contacted Billy Welch who is head of a large gypsy family and organiser of the fair. I asked Billy for an interview and access to the gypsy camp.

Once I had backing from the BBC and agreement from Billy Welch I travelled up to Cumbria with my partner who was to do the interviews and sound recording. We stayed as close to Appleby as we could, visiting over two days.

I’d been told the gypsies were media shy, but our experience proved them to be very welcoming and friendly.

The Appleby Horse Fair slideshow is on the BBC News web site here.

Formally a project manager in the commercial refurbishment industry, Steve Franck began working as a full-time freelance photographer after completing an intensive photographic course at London College of Communication. “The course taught me to develop a more structured approach to photography in terms of story telling and continuity which I applied in my Appleby shoot,” says Franck who’s photographic clients include The Guardian, The Daily Express, the BBC, EMAP and Radio Netherlands.

Photographer since 2007, EPUK member since 2010.

See more work by Steve Franck

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