John Frangidis - The People


Rediscovering the beauty of photographing and speaking with strangers led me to John. 

Stretching and doing his daily exercise at Clovelly Beach, his character caught my eye, and he was more than happy to share some of his story with me.  

He recalled to me, in broken English sometimes quite difficult to fully understand, a particular day of his life. The 6th of July 1941 to be precise; the day he was captured by the Germans, and became a longstanding prisoner of war. 

He spent years working 12hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, making railway tracks to be laid around Germany. He lost a huge amount of his body weight, coming in at 52kgs at the worst of it, and after 4 years without being able to send or receive even a single letter, missed his mother terribly. He recalls it as being a terrible time, with bombs being dropped merely a kilometre away, and food scarcely available.

On the 14th of August 1945, John, a single child, was reunited with his mother in a day that was full of tears. John had a few gentle droplets escaping the corners of his 97 year old eyes whilst recounting this to me, in a beautiful moment of honest emotion. 

Now though, he's busy with his children and grandchildren, throwing surprise parties, following Manchester United (up the reds!), and strolling around Clovelly; his neighbourhood of almost 30 years.