Rupert the Bear?

When I was a little boy, I loved Rupert the Bear. I was given the Rupert Annual each year at Christmas: the fantastic colour illustrations fascinated me and fired up my imagination perhaps more than anything else at that time.

Occasionally, when looking through my photo archives, I come across an image that brings me back to those ‘innocent’ pre-photography days, when reading, drawing and plasticine model-making were my favourite pastimes.

One such image is this one: a balloon hawker at the Download Festival held at Donington Park, the motor racing track.

A balloon seller eating a hot-dog, while walking among the crowd, in the main arena at Download Festival

A balloon seller eating a hot-dog, while walking among the crowd in the main arena at Download Festival reminded me of a ‘Rupert’ illustration from childhood

The multi-coloured balloons floating above his head were so like a Rupert illustration to me! I think in the original image, the balloons were first spotted seemingly floating above a hedge, and in the next, the vendor came into view. For some reason, I seem to recall that he was a stork… After all, the characters in the Rupert stories were mostly creatures of one sort or another!

Of course, the Download Festival is nothing like a Rupert story,  but to me, there is nearly always a story behind my photographs; I like to take pictures for a reason.

Documenting audiences at festivals and other live events always appeals to me… Sometimes it is far more interesting to look for those fleeting moments of human interaction, expressions of life and emotion that pass in front of my lens, than it is to photograph the bands or artists on the stage.

I watched this balloon seller walking through the arena, eating his sandwich, from quite a distance, but as the light came and the Welsh flag walked by, I took the shot, which I think it’s quite good. It captures something, a moment in time… And as ever with subjects I’ve photographed, I wonder where he is today!

I hope he’s well.

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