Leeds Carnival

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Danny Sangra recently stumbled on some old photos taken by his late father, Karl Sangra, and posted one on his Instagram. The photos were taken at Leeds Carnival, the second largest carnival in Britain after Notting Hill, in 1992/93. We’ve often heard Danny talk about his father and wondered whether we could show some more of the photos here, and get Danny to tell us about them and his father. He agreed.

Did you grow up in Leeds?

Yes I did, 1980-2000.

Was the Carnival something you always went to?

Most years when I was younger, then trailed off as I got older. Half of my family was from that neighbourhood. My uncle was heavily involved as he had entered floats into the parade (winning and leading the carnival one particular year and coming second another year). 

Were you there when the photos were taken?

No idea. 

Where did you find them?

After he passed away I kept a bunch of stuff. These happened to be in a pile of my high school artwork at my mum’s. I only just found them when I was moving house. 

Did your father often take photos?

All the time. For as long as I can remember. He always had a few cameras. He’d take photos as he spoke to you, not looking through the view finder or holding the camera above you, firing away as you tried to have a conversation. I definitely picked that up off him. He wasn’t precious about it. He wasn’t a studio type photographer. 

Are there more photos waiting to be rediscovered?

There’s a few but not many. I’m trying to find the negatives. He developed most of it himself and he wasn’t very organised. 

What did he do for a living?

He was a hairdresser.

Did he have a real creative streak?

Undoubtedly. There’s no denying him that.

Would you say you were close?

Yes, then no. 

How did he influence you?

It was mainly when I was a kid. He got me interested in film and photography. It was just always around, it wasn’t even a question. He showed me directors and artists all the time. It wasn’t like he was trying, it was just like anyone telling you stuff they like. Only I was super young. 

He could do most things pretty well, carpentry, painting, photography. He was one of those people that when they decided to do something, they’d get tunnel vision and not stop until they were good at it. But everything outside of that subject didn’t exist. 

Did he encourage you in your work?

My mum was the one that encouraged me to make things. My dad was the one that showed me how.

How did he react when you started becoming successful?

He was probably proud but we didn’t talk much as I got older. 

It was only when I went to clear his locker at the golf club after he passed away that I found he had loads of my article clippings and artwork stuck up and stored in his locker. 

How do you remember him?

In my own way.