Marc Newton: ‘The British Boot Sale’

10 – 14 March 2020

Marc Newton ‘Golliwog’ ©

Photographer Marc Newton is taking a momentary pause in an ongoing project to present an exhibition titled ‘The British Boot sale’.

Marc has been documenting boot sales since 2014 and offers a unique insight in his series of photographs depicting the project, in his words, ‘it’s a kitsch reflection of today’s throwaway society‘.

Marc Newton ‘Carpet Sales’ ©

With environmental issues on the cover of most papers and magazines the British boot sale is an interesting consideration; it is possibly recycling at its best and the array of intriguing trinkets and collectables available is like a treasure trove; different every time. The customer gets an insight into the individual stood behind the wallpaper paste table selling their wares. Items once loved, passed down through generations perhaps, now offering themselves for sale at a significantly reduced cost – many requiring an acquired taste.


Often history stands still as you pass once iconic collections or must have toys which now sit in a box of plenty sold at just a fraction of their original cost.

It’s true that along with feeling good about recycling through the purchase of existing items you can also bag a bargain, and discover the very thing you never knew you always needed.

Marc Newton ‘Couple’ ©

Marc Newton is a photographer, educational speaker, author and teacher of photography. He launched The School of Photography in 2012 which sell high-quality online photography courses and books worldwide, and are a leading provider of photography education to schools and colleges in the UK.


“I find interest in boot sales as it seems to incorporate a distinct selection of what would be called British society. Here you have the working class in all their glory trying to sell off old stuff to make a few quid. Amongst the makeshift pasting table stalls you find an array of objects that would be deemed worthless. But at some point, they were of value and could well be again if bought for 50p!’

Marc Newton ‘Dash n Dine’ ©

Marc aims to shed a light on our throwaway culture that is steadily destroying the world we live in through his images. He asks, ‘Why did we need these products? What would happen if we had one or even ten less plastic toys, or ceramic plates?’ We are all conditioned to buy more, get a new version or change the décor. Marc argues that the environmental impact of this is immense and with 7.5 billion people in the world and an estimated 1 billion more in the next decade, this practice will have to stop if we are to live in an environmentally sustainable way.

Marc continues, “I suppose, in my own funny way, I want to document this, for people to look back on in years to come. If you’re not going to do anything about it, if I’m not, if we won’t hold our governments, supermarkets, car companies the media etc to account for what’s going on, then we might as well look on and laugh at it. Laugh at what we buy, laugh at what we still want for 50p, be fascinated to the culture you might feel you’re not part of. That’s what this project is about; let’s just see where this throwaway culture goes.”

Marc used the OM-D E-M1 MKII for many of the images due to its portability and discretion, enabling a natural image and an insight into the British boot sale.

Marc Newton ‘England, UK’ ©

Marc will also be hosting a workshop at the gallery on 13th March.

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