In September 1995 the D.P.A. advertised a commission in the region of £2500 - £4000 on a subject of the photographer's own choice.
The commission was offered on the usual D.P.A. conditions regarding deposit, written documentation etc. Over 500 requests for further information and 139 applications were received. Three photographers were invited for interview in October 1995 - Lisa Woollett, Malcolm Hutcheson and Tom Wood.
It was decided to award the commission to Tom Wood. Tom's proposal centred on the Cammell Laird Shipyard in Birkenhead. Tom had been at work photographing in the shipyard since 1993. He stated clearly in his application, and reiterated in his interview that his central concern was to explore a new approach to representing the subject of people at work - and especially to move away from the stereotypical portrayal of people at work in a dockyard. Previous contact with Tom and his method of working convinced the interviewing panel that Tom was certainly capable of achieving exciting results in this direction.
Tom's work was already represented in the Archive in the Care in the Community project (C10) undertaken jointly with Open Eye and the D.P.A. This collaboration with Open Eye had not proved satisfactory. Open Eye lost the written record and transferred the work to the D.P.A. in considerable disorder. The D.P.A. therefore welcomed the opportunity to engage directly in a commission with Tom without the complications of a third party.
Tom worked on the commission in 1996. This part of his Cammell Laird project was shot throughout in colour.
Tom failed to maintain any written record during the progress of the current commission. The information contained in this catalogue was compiled after the completion of the commission during conversations with Tom about the work.
North West Arts Board made a grant of £1000 towards the funding of this commission.