I was recently chatting to someone at work and we got onto the subject of her degree course at Sussex University, which she really enjoyed. However, she did experience one spooky moment during a lecture on postwar urban poverty.
It began innocuously enough with an introductory talk, followed by a slide show of grim, black and white scenes of urban deprivation. My colleague was relaxing in her chair, absorbed by the images being beamed by the projector.
Suddenly, to her horror, a picture appeared on the wall of her mother dragging a mattress down a street. The lecturer calmly deconstructed the image, explaining its context and meaning, unaware that the woman's daughter was sitting a few feet away from him.
What a shining example of social mobility.
Apparently, the lecturer was unaware of the photo's true origins. It was taken by my colleague's aunt, who threatened to thump her younger sister unless she posed for the picture with a mattress. The aunt, who grew up on a grim council estate, started to make a name for herself as a photographer, but inexplicably gave it up after a year.
Sadly I don't have a copy of the image with the mattress, but here is another striking photo, featuring my colleague's uncle on the right: