By Gary Silke and Derek Hammond
Amateur photography was a sometimes random pastime. You would point, you would shoot, and you would cross your fingers.
And that was after you had loaded film in the camera. There was no worse feeling for the amateur photographer than to have taken 24 or 36 photos and then realise that the film wasn’t wound on correctly.
Then there was the risk that the film developing lab might screw things up, by, let’s say, putting your black-and-white film through the colour processor.
But at the end of the process we had prints and negatives. The negatives would be stored and then lost, while the prints would go in albums.
Prints could be out of focus, blurred, overexposed or just badly framed. “They’d always looked so much better throughout the viewfinder.” Such was the life of the amateur photographer.
Gary Silke and Derek Hammond authored the bible of football nostalgia, Got, Not Got.
What a Shot! continues in this nostalgic vein, but consists entirely of football photos supplied by fans.
What a Shot! is a sometimes blurred, occasionally “obstructed-view” record of life in UK football stadiums during the 60s, 70s and 80s.
The Dell. Roker Park. Filbert Street. The Baseball Ground. All photographed with an amateur’s innocence. All no longer with us.
Marvel at the parkas, the woolly hats, and the very large hair.
There are photos of light pylons, from a time before light pylons became fetishised.
The photography is undeniably amateur. We’re given a fan’s-eye view of football in those decades. It was the urine-running-down-the-terraces era; fences were often topped with spikes or barbed wire and fans caged in like wild animals.
The book’s warts-and-all approach might not appeal to all. The quality of the photos is varied, but they give us an insight into life on the terraces in an era that’s never coming back.