Here are two pictures taken in the northern UK coastal town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

The first was taken in October 1974
and the second, twenty one years later, in July 1995.

The subject is the same: five people who, in 1974, called themselves "boot boys". They were fifteen years old and in their final year at school. A year later they became apprenticed tradesmen; four of them at Vickers Engineering (where the British nuclear deterrent is made - Polaris then, Trident now) and the fifth, Brian Morgan (the tall lad on the left) at North West Gas.

I decided to re-photograph them in 1995 because I was curious to find out what had become of them. I was thinking of the passage of time, how things have changed in twenty-one years: the fashions, the employment situation, the end of the cold war, all that. And, I am afraid to say, when I persuaded the local newspaper in Barrow, the Evening Mail, to help me trace
them by publishing the picture large across its centre spread, I gave little thought to how the lads might react to being contacted again.

I report here, in their own words, the reactions of the men to the original picture when, without warning, it dropped into their lives. They are, left to right: Brian Morgan, Martin Tebay, Paul McMillan, Phil Tickle and Mike Comish.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8