Photography

Photography.

I began an interest in photography under the tutelage of Fr. Gabriel Gilbey in 1950.  Built it the structure of he Junior House was a darkroom with double doors and dual basins on the ground floor.  Fr. Peter had a Leica – war time model, and we wondered if he leather case was made of human skin from the gas chambers, which had been picked up for a packet of cigarettes from a Germans soldier   Fr. Gabriel had a Retinette and took a series of photographs of the boys.   We bought them when he had processed them.  It was helping him with the processing that I learnt the art or at least the rudiments.   I then asked for a camera for Christians with his Retinette in mind and hte result turned out to be the latest version of hte Brownie box – a big disappointment.   the family camera was a Zeiss Dolly which traditions had that my Father had brought into the country down his trouser leg to void the customs.  One of our governess es at the time was aware of photography so my first films were developed down the cellar at Weston Lodge in dishes (not tanks) and contact printed using a paraffin lamp.  Gradually we went up stairs converted an old lavatory and had our own darkroom.  In retrospect we went down some wrong tracks, we bought outdated paper because it was cheap, and we used chemicals to their death to avoid expense – this meant that the quality of our results were never as good as they should have been – we were financially challenged.  When in the upper school I was given a Super Nettel rangefinder 35 mm. and this remained my camera until 1969 when I was asked to take o the Darkroom after Fr. Alban crossley went to the Junior House. The darkroom was in the attic next to the Science preparation room off St. John’s sixth form gallery.  It had been divided into three rooms internally and well set up by Fr Alban.  I was able to improve it gradually and at the exhibition we had two classrooms for our pictures.  Bernie Caulfield and  Henry Loftus were I remember two very capable photographers.  I was able to get a Minolta IO1 in 1969 as a present from Miles and this remained my standard camera being replaced after two thefts with more up to date versions on the insurance.  My first photographs were of he sisters of Barnsley to whom I gave my first retreat.  I took portraits and pasted them to together, rephotographed them and sent them copies.  On my holidays i would photography families especially successful were the Whites, the Codringtons, Nster Smiths,  Prescotts.     I became involved in photographs for passports, then headmasters’s files, and finally for teams. taking over from Fr. Geoffrey and Fr Michael.  I continued team photographs in JH until I left St. Dunstans  in 1994.   by this time the collection of my community photographs was progressing mainly for Obituaries.    Some of the best photographs which I took were on my Sabbatical in Hawkstone, South Africa and  Chile.  I now had branched into colour and with the processing professional here was an ease and consistency which I had not had before.