Caravan, A Great British Love Story

St Neots Caravan site in Bedfordshire, England Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones

In the UK, the May Day bank holiday offers a chance to take a short break away from the daily grind, and for some people that means hitching up the caravan to the back of the car and heading into the countryside.

Inspired by fond memories of his childhood caravanning holidays in Southwold, Suffolk, photographer Gareth Iwan Jones turned his attention to this subject, the very British world of Caravanning.

"I've always thought of caravanning as a wonderfully eccentric, colourful world of quirky characters and interesting regalia that would make for a great photography project," says Iwan Jones. "It didn't disappoint."

Together with his wife, Iwan Jones stayed at more than 30 sites across the UK, from beauty spots to those not so picturesque spots near motorways, covering more than 2,000 miles.

"There is a unique union of canopy, awning and torrential rain that one can only experience in caravan and camping parks," he says.

Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones

"For me, the most endearing caravanning moments came with the worst weather - this is when your neighbours and fellow campers brave the elements to help you find your guy ropes and hammer in your pegs."

Iwan Jones found there was a daily routine to the caravanning life and would wander the site looking for good pictures as well as arranging to meet the campers later to take their portrait.

Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones

"Everyone was so enthusiastic and eager to be in the pictures, not a single person I approached declined to be photographed," he says.

"In my experience of photographing people in their environments, this is pretty much unheard of and a real reflection of the culture of caravanning - very open and friendly.

"The portraits were all shot with the same camera and lens combination, a Pentax 645 and 55mm lens and the same artificial lighting."

Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones

"I was deliberately looking to bring continuity to the posed portraits, as I knew the documentary side would be quite loose in its appearance.

"I'm always interested in finding the humour in my images, and the world of caravanning made for a great fit.

"From a man who takes his budgies caravanning to the varied attempts to bring a bit of glamour to one's caravan, there was plenty for me to photograph."

Caravan, A Great British Love Story by Gareth Iwan Jones will be published in early June by Frances Lincoln. You can see more of Gareth Iwan Jones's work on his website.

Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones
Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones
Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones
Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones
Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones
Image copyright Gareth Iwan Jones

All photographs © Gareth Iwan Jones/Institute

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