The Cambridge May Balls [1995]

As a destination for documentary photographers  The Cambridge May Ballsare a sort of go-to event, similar to making photographs in The Bowery in NYC or Brick Lane [Don Mcullin’s Brick Lane] in London, or  ‘The North’ where binary assumptions around social class are still anticipated as a visual shorthand. Cambridge University, in the popular imagination, is located within such a paradigm, where poshness, and privilege are ubiquitous for those who care to evidence it. The job of the photographer is to try to work against those received ideas, a difficult task with such a limited medium. I went, trying to focus on the relational aspects, beyond the cliches but inevitably was also distracted by the latter. Staying with an old friend who was doing his PhD there, I obtained permission and worked for three nights.