• Chatting with Linden • 12.12.22
Updated: Aug 16
Stuart Linden Rhodes on his favourite photograph from the Linden Archive.
Stuart, you've had excellent feedback on the above image since it debuted on the Insta in 2021, and it is also one of your favourites. Please explain its provenance.
Pride, Manchester in the summer of 1993. The influence of James Anderton [God's Cop], the police chief constable in Manchester [1976-1991], could still be felt and was causing many problems for the gay community. There was a great deal of protest about him and his policies.
Everywhere I go I see evidence of people swirling around in the cesspool of their own making. Why do homosexuals freely engage in sodomy and other obnoxious sexual practices knowing the dangers involved? – James Anderton, National Police Conference,1987
So, the figures in the vehicle are police officers?
Yes, Lily Savage [Paul O'Grady] was on stage and all of a sudden announced to the crowd that at the back, stood on the wall, were plain-clothes police officers. They were watching the event and taking down car number plates. Outraged, the crowd turned as one and surged towards the officers.
And how did you contrive the opportunity to frame car, kissers and crowd?
Well, at this point I was at the front of the stage taking pictures of Lily. Unfit and overweight as I was, somehow I managed to run around the side of the stage and across the road, so that I was then facing the front of the crowd. At the sight of the gathering throng, the police swifty got into their unmarked car and attempted retreat. In that moment, two ladies threw themselves onto the vehicle's bonnet and started snogging wildly, embracing in a passionate and lasting kiss. Sweating profusely, I quickly and shakily took the camera to my eye. Only managing to get a couple of shots off in time. Such is the photographer's lot. Thanks to providence, one came out fabulously.
History is made and preserved by and for particular classes of people. A camera in some hands can preserve an alternative history. – David Wojnarowicz, Brush Fires in the Social Landscape
The blank stare, the stillness of the policemen in the car is juxtaposed brilliantly with the hubbub of the crowd behind and the entangled bodies in front of them...
The perplexed officers didn’t know where to look or what to do. They were utterly paralysed by the situation, the crowd was cheering and carrying on, though they certainly wouldn’t have harmed them—but they embarrassed them, pointing and laughing at them, exposing them as the bigots they were.
Homosexuals should be viewed as handicapped people. – George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1987
Stuart Linden Rhodes © 2021
Stuart's photo can be bought directly, as a signed, limited edition art print...