‘Yes, there’s a photograph, one of my favourite photographs.…where I came across this notice, this rather primitive beautiful painting, with words “Truth is Stranger Than Fiction” and I thought this really described what I was after, what I was doing, was to describe a certain kind of truth. And indeed it seemed to me that I didn’t have to wait long before individual people turned up who were in fact rather stranger than fiction. Here they are in the photograph.’
‘….the whole of the by-election campaign produced a lot of favourite pictures. One of which is this of an old lady going to the polling booth wearing the statutory shawl and clogs. It seems to me that photograph gives not only marvellous sort of blacks but a very…. an atmosphere which is very typical of the streets, the cobbled streets in Bolton at the time.’
‘Another favourite is of the open market, actually a misnomer because it is closed…it’s roofed in market in Bolton, where there’s this extraordinary man with an extraordinary hairstyle himself claiming he can cure any ailment of the head, and with it’s strange writing on it.’
These quotes have been taken from a transcript of Humphrey Spender’s interview for the 1985 documentary about Mass Observation, ‘Stranger than Fiction’ which was directed by Ian Potts.