Normally sentiments, emotions and reactions in art are created by made objects, but occasionally curated found objects can do the same. This work pays homage to an extraordinary farmer and collector, who in his straightforward country manner, was actually a shrewd observer of the human condition. A truly eccentric Englishman, Les Oakes collected objects all his life. When Les and his wife moved to Staffordshire in 1965 they started the buildings at Hales View Farm which contained his collections. Whilst farming cows and sheep he continued to collect everything, although he had a particular passion for horse drawn carriages. Without any particular plan or intent Les 'curated' his objects into tableaux and themes in a peculiarly personal fashion. On a visit to Hales Farm we were at once struck by the extraordinary way Les’s little arrangements evoked a range of emotions and memories and so started negotiations to photograph the collections (Les was very suspicious of all media and famous for his irascible nature). Over a year later we were fortunate to get Les's blessing to spend time photographing his amazing collections. We hope that you enjoy the images and that they may evoke in you emotions and memories as they did for us. Les named his collection "Fool's Paradise." Sadly Les died in a tragic car accident returning from an auction in 2000. His collection is no more.
© Gigi & Robin Williams Photography