Child in the Snow, Oldham, 1982
Child in the Snow, Oldham, 1982
Child in the Snow, Oldham, 1982
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Child in the Snow, Oldham, 1982

Don McPhee


Taken in 1982, this was one of legendary Guardian photographer Don McPhee’s favourite photographs, and you can see why: the small child trudging up a hill in Watersheddings, near Oldham, with snow that looks as if it has been sprayed on for a film set. “If he’d taken it any earlier, the child wouldn’t have been framed so beautifully against the wall,” says Guardian head of photography, Fiona Shields. “It raises questions, too: where is the child going? Is there a parent just out of shot?” Weather pictures are a Guardian staple. “They would have been part of Don’s daily brief,” says Shields. “We still have them almost every day on our pages.” McPhee, she says, was that great combination: a brilliant reportage photographer and social documentarist, who was very artistic. But his real skill was observing the moment.” 

Words: Hannah Booth


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