Regatta People is a project dating from 1987 to the present day. Anthony Haines is creating a photographic record of the people who attend the Henley Royal Regatta. This is a project undertaken for the interest and pleasure in doing it rather than financial reward.
The Henley Royal Regatta is regarded as part of the English social season. The event is held annually on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on- Thames, England. First held in 1839 on a single afternoon, by 1986 Henley Royal Regatta had been extended to five days, (Wednesday to Sunday) over the first weekend in July. Its international standard rowing attracts tens of thousands of spectators from around the world. The racing can be viewed from a number of locations along both banks of the Thames, over a course of 1 mile, 550 yards. However, its social position means that some visitors may have no interest in the actual rowing.
The Stewards' Enclosure has a strict dress code in accordance with its long-established tradition. "Gentlemen are required to wear lounge suits, or jackets or blazers with flannels, and a tie or cravat. Ladies are required to wear dresses or skirts with a hemline below the knee and will not be admitted wearing divided skirts, culottes or trousers of any kind. Similarly, no one will be admitted to the Stewards' Enclosure wearing shorts or jeans. Whilst not a requirement, it is customary for ladies to wear hats".
Many visitors to the Henley Royal Regatta observe this dress code even if they don't enter the Stewards' Enclosure and can be seen in all their splendour walking along the banks of the Thames. Anthony Haines photographs capture these traditional English qualities
His photographs explore a geographically diverse and socially distinct grouping of people who come together and adopt a ‘dandy-esque’ persona at the Henley Royal Regatta. Here, dandyism isn't simply about conforming to a strict long-established dress code, but rather Regatta-goers consciously projecting their identity through wearing uniforms associated with independent schools attended as a child or membership of elite rowing clubs.
Anthony Haines has lived near the Thames and photographed the river most of his life. Photographing the Thames is a personal project and a labour of love. The first time he visited the Thames was when he attended the Henley Royal Regatta. Since then he has photographed many other locations and events along the river. This includes the source of the Thames, Lechlade, Oxford, Henley, Reading, Windsor, London and the tideway. Most of the photographs were taken when walking along the tow path.