April 26

The Images of D.J.Norton

I can’t believe 10 years have passed since photobydjnorton.com went online. After many years of looking at my father’s photographs of Birmingham and feeling frustrated that I couldn’t reconcile them with the city I had grown up in, the sudden realisation that their very importance was based on this difficulty hit me hard.

They captured a city that had changed so dramatically that it was practically unrecognisable and I suddenly felt duty bound to share them with the world so others could see what Birmingham had lost during the post-war frenzy of redevelopment.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride since then. My own interest in the city’s history has grown dramatically. I’ve been contacted by so many people who share that interest and have offered their help. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to write three local history books enabling me to share my father’s pictures with those who still shun the Internet. Radio interviews with Carl Chinn and even a couple of appearances on Midlands Today! And one of my favourite activities – occasional presentations at libraries and social groups where I get to see peoples enthusiasm for Brum’s history and their appreciation of my father’s work. I really couldn’t have imagined any of it.

But the thing that I’m most happy about is my aim at the start of all this has been achieved. All those years ago, I wrote the following on my homepage: “If you take copies of the images here for your own use, a small donation to Asthma UK would be very much appreciated.Ê Also, an acknowledgement of their source would help spread his name as an important photographer of his day.”. I’m happy to say that many hundreds of pounds have gone to Asthma UK, a charity whose research I hope will prevent others from never knowing their father (my dad died at the age of 35, 9 weeks before I was born). And the fact that Brumpic are featuring his pictures just reinforces that many people now know the work of D J Norton and consider him to be a forward thinking and talented photographer. Result!

Mark Norton 2015

Mark has produced a number of publications, they can be viewed here