College-trained photographer captures Stratford’s special feeling

29th October 2019

A Stratford-upon-Avon College alumnus is carving out a successful career as a documentary photographer. Inspired by photographers such as the award-winning photojournalists Don McCullin, Steve McCurry and Martin Parr, he describes himself as “an observer of things” whose work “explores isolation and devotion.”

William Mulryne was born and brought up in Stratford and studied Photography at the College from 2013 to 2017. Believing Stratford to be “an amazing place with a special feeling”, he specialises in documenting everyday life in and around the town.

“There is very little documentary of the town, only postcard images. There are so many interesting things and people that aren’t captured.”

Photographer William Mulryne

He started out by photographing objects – “I was a hoarder of things I found interesting. I thought if I photographed something maybe I wouldn’t need it anymore”. However, he developed a keen and lasting interest in photographing people early in his course when his college lecturers asked the students to go around Stratford taking environmental portraits, and these have become a crucial aspect of the photographs he now takes on a daily basis.

Another major interest was born when, in 2016, he came across a group of travellers in horse-drawn caravans who were carving wooden animals. Fascinated by their lifestyle, he spent 12 hours each day for the next two weeks in their company, photographing their daily lives, and since then has spent a great deal of time documenting travellers’ way of life.

William has worked with various charities including the RNLI, Warwickshire Search and Rescue and Swan Rescue Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust exhibition “Living with History” displayed William’s work at Hall’s Croft. Supported by Arts Council England, it consisted of 14 framed photographs which not only give an insight into everyday life in and around Stratford but also encapsulated his feelings of nostalgia for childhood, his love for restoration and his desire to keep history alive.

William is currently preparing two books for publication: “Living with History: Life in Historic Stratford-upon-Avon”, a collection of his photographs documenting the town and its people, and “The Horsedrawn”, a pictorial account of the alternative lifestyle of a travelling family who live in traditional gypsy wagons.

Find out more about the College's Photography course: Photography course