'A wonderful evocation of ways of life that will never be the same again.' (Amateur Photography) 'An exceptional record of the old industrial world.' (Independent on Sunday)
A grafter is English slang for hard worker, with the implication of long hours and hard physical labour. Formerly a professional ballet dancer, it was among his colleagues that Colin Jones began to take photographs and through dancing that he learnt of the tremendous physical labour involved in creating something of beauty. This is an empathetic tale of industrial post-war Britain. Jones' subjects are people who endure physical hardship with dignity - miners, shipbuilders, dockers and ballet dancers. It is a collection of Jones' best work from the early 1960s to the present day and is a poignant study of manual workers and working class families at the end of the industrial era in Britain, from miners cramped and soaking against a two-foot coal seam, dockers waiting in gangs on the docks for work, shipbuilders unaware that they are labouring on the yard's last vessel as well as the un-glamourous sweat and toil of his colleagues at the Royal Ballet. "Grafters" shows the crumbling slums of the East End and now-dead miners' villages in the Northeast, holidays on the pier and in seaside boarding houses and the desperate scavenging for coal on a slag heap.
It is a nostalgic portrait of poverty and physical hardship endured with dignity.