Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The World's Biggest Liar

After a busy Summer, things look like they're cooling back down in the run-up to Christmas. So, I took it upon myself to head out to the Lake District to shoot something a little different: the Jennings World's Biggest Liar competition.

I only heard about this on the Saturday, and by the Wednesday, I was there, ready to start shooting on Thursday night. For those of you unfamliar with the competition, it's a Cumbrian tradition at the Bridge Inn in Santon Bridge in the Wasdale Valley, at the foot of Scafell Pike. It dates back to a 19th century landlord called Will Ritson, famous for his telling of tall tales. His most famous being that turnips in the Wasdale valley grew so large, the farmers hollowed them out and made sheds to keep their sheep safe from the elements.

These days, the competition is organised by the Jennings Brewery in Cockermouth, and the liars took their turns to get up on stage in front of the audience and spin their yarns. This is where I came in. I had a studio set up in the judging room, and each liar was sat in the stool and gave the first 2 minutes of their lies directly to the camera, resulting in the portraits below. Enjoy!

By the way, massive thanks are due to Danny from Vital PR, and Gaynor from the Marstons brewery, who went out of their way to help. 

‘This chap from Cumbria managed to buy one of the oldest rail networks in England called the La’al Ratty... He was working on extending this miniature railway all the way from Ravenglass to London Euston.’
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James Mason, 68, retired scaffolder.

‘It was alive! The kitten was alive – up to that moment, I’d thought it was dead, but it was alive. So I put it back in’t box’ 
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 John 'Johnny Liar' Graham, 74, retired farmworker.

‘There’s a little-known West-Cumbrian animal that’s only recently been noted because it seems to be related to the Scottish wildcat, and it’s called the West Cumbrian web footed cat.’

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Judith Wildwood, 55, 'There's not much I haven't done.'

‘You try going for a job interview when your CV consists of a cycling proficiency certificate and being the world’s biggest liar.’
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Glen Boylan, 48, painter and decorator.

‘[The walls in Wasdale] are an ancient form of iron, and this is why the people of Wasdale really are a different breed. I couldn’t actually say that to them, but they know themselves – those walls at Wasdale have secret strengths.’

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Steve Elton, 58, retired farmworker.

‘She she had destroyed him, and was left with all his wealth, she bought flowers for his grave, and diamonds for herself.’

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Robson Hithers, 'Getting on', 'Workswerver.'

‘So the pawnbroker says ‘Well, when you want to pawn a star...’
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Howard Christie, 50, brewer.

‘So I visted Jody Murphy, and there he was in the room with a brown statue of Charlie Chaplin. He had his arm around Charlie Chaplin, drinking out of his head, and he goes ‘Young fella, did you hear this one?’
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Raymond O'Neill, 55, marina worker.