The Reincarnation of the old Dead Bod
This is a kind of picture timeline of proceedings around the Dead Bod jetty area of Alexandra Dock in Hull. With the exciting Siemens renewable energy plant hitting the shores of the Humber it was inevitable old was going to give way for new. Dead Bod gets it's name from a graffiti painted upside down dead bird with the words 'Dead Bod' underneath. The (True) story goes that a drunken Skipper and an engineer were walking back from the pub one night in the 1960's, found an open tin of paint and dead bod was born.
It became such a recognisable landmark that seafarers began to use it as a navigation point and even now it's name can be heard on VHF Radios as ships and craft sail the Humber. Until they knock it down that is.
The announcement that Dead Bod was to be demolished was not received well by the local community in Hull, whilst they are very supportive of the massive investment and the exciting prospects it brings to the city there was a sadness about losing this part of Hull's folklore and so the campaign began to 'Save Dead Bod'.
The campaign started on social media and spread rapidly with The David Burns Show (BBC Radio Humberside) speeding up the momentum and before the campaign had really got going ABP announced it would aim to save the Dead Bod. ABP own the sheds and whilst they haven't decided on a new location for the icon paintwork they are seemingly giving the people of Hull a say on it's new home which is a nice touch!
You may be wondering what all this has to do with photography! Well ever since I can remember the jetty and sheds have been a favourite location for many a Hull photographer as well as the odd graffiti artist along the way. Before the decay of the railway pier you could get all the way to the sheds if you dared, the journey could be a bit dodgy to say the least especially if the tide was in. Then there was the worry of what you'd find over there, pigeon shit aside the chances of standing on a hypodermic needle were pretty slim but places like this always attract the waifs and strays in life. Most of my early photographic ventures were on my own and whilst the attraction of derelict buildings was there I was always conscious I had a family to get home to! By the time I was shooting a 'real camera' (I use that term very loosely) the pier was just about gone and certainly not a crossing I'd have made with a grands worth of kit on my back. So I never actually got a picture of the original dead bod paint up close. The above image was taken by fellow photographer Lisa Carlton from a barge and shows the latest addition to the infamous paint, quite fittingly an R.I.P sign. (Thanks to Lisa for permissions)
I'm no expert on Dead Bod but I have photographed it from the dockside many a time over the years. It tends to be a morning location for me, conveniently on my route to work and perfect for a sunrise at certain times of year it's a fine way to start before a days graft. The above image was one of my early ones taken on an evening from the drain pipe outlet, a perfectly place brick pier about a metre square providing the ideal platform for a tripod. The image is not my best work by a long shot but it takes me back to cold nights shivering along the River Humber and River Hull trying to get to grips with this new found long exposure settings :)
Below is a number of images showing Dead Bod area in as the works develop and the face of the dockside in Hull will be changed forever.