Fun Factory 101

Nov 21st 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

I will be recreating this photograph on Sunday the 7th of December 2008 outside the ‘Fun Factory’ in 1907 celebrating the fact that the area and indeed the Clockwork Studios is still a vibrant creative community.

The obvious question is why?

To begin with the original is fascinating. If ever an image grabbed you and made you stare and wonder about the people in the photograph and the buildings this is the one. And then some one will wander over and point out that Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel are in the photograph!

I first saw a copy of it when I visited the Clockwork Studios and was being shown around almost 4 years ago by Noel, the landlord and ‘magician’ behind the studios. He showed me a series of black and white photocopies he had framed telling the story of ‘The Fun Factory’. These old photographs showed the house as it was in 1907 as well as behind the scenes images of the factory at work. At his peak Fred Karno was producing many different productions of his companies performances throughout the country and the world. The sets were built in the back yard, the trapeze artists practiced in the tall three story building and with a little imagination you can picture the slapstick routines, typical of Vaudeville, being worked out in and around the rehearsal rooms.

That was 1907. This is 2008 and the Clockwork Studios, as it came to be known, when it became a clock factory in the years since, is now an artists studios with a variety of talented people using it as their base. The workshop include painters, potters, a milner, writer, set designer and many more. You can find out more if you follow the link to their site.

On December 7th I will be recreating the image as a celebration and a momento of who is here now so we can all look back in years to come and remember. I wonder what people will think in a hundred years if they see that photograph!


About Conor

Conor is a photographer and film maker based in London. His images can be viewed on his website on the PHOTOGRAPHY and FILM links above. This blog is a good place to see all sorts of personal work and general projects in progress.

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