Monthly Archives: January 2020

GEORGE WRIGHT EXHIBITION AT BRIDPORT – UNTIL 15th FEBRUARY

January 2010.

George Wright is a freelance photographer living near my local town of Bridport in Dorset.
On the 23rd January, at the Bridport Arts Centre and accompanied by the writer Horatio Morpurgo, George gave a very interesting talk, in a relaxed, fluid style, explaining his influences and photographic career. This was to coincide with an exhibition of George’s recent work upstairs at The Allsop Gallery

George giving the talk, along with Horatio Morpurgo on the left, looking at one of the illustrative slides.


Having gone to Art School to study Graphic Design, George became interested in photography and was very influenced by a visiting tutor, the photojournalist John Benton-Harris who introduced him to the work of photographers like Tony Ray Jones and Robert Frank. He says, like everyone else at that time (err…including me!), he then wanted to be either Cartier-Bresson or Don McCullin.

He ended up doing both reportage and portraiture stories for The Observer and later The Independent Colour Magazines.
I came across a one of George’s self published books a year or so ago featuring portraits of famous people that George had shot for these colour magazines and I loved the fact that they weren’t any ‘headshots’, but were more perhaps in the style of Arnold Neumann’s ‘Environmental Portraits’.
That’s a silly phrase but it has been used to define the style of portraiture that shows the subject ‘in context’, usually surrounded by something relevant like their artworks for instance. George’s images were often shot in a mixture of natural ambient light and flash which I like to see. I think those portrait photographer’s who shy away from using any flash at all and only rely on daylight are perhaps scared to take total control of their image!

The current exhibition shows photographs taken between 2013 and 2019, during George’s travels on his motorbike. Hence the title ‘Another Way of Life as Seen on a Motorcycle’. These are images taken throughout South America, in Armenia, Iran, Sarajevo, Uzbekistan and India amongst others.

One photo is taken earlier however, 1979 in Aleppo. It’s this one of a ‘local portrait photographer’ and George has dedicated the exhibition to him.

The exhibition runs until the 15th February and The Art’s Centre in Bridport is open 10am to 4 pm.

Do visit George Wright’s website https://www.georgewrightphotography.co.uk to see his work.

I liked many of the images for the little details they contained, such as the interior of a restaurant in Esfahan, filled with people. The sort of picture in which you notice something different every time you view it.
I’m also particularly partial to one of George’s images that shows a large group of Orthodox Jews resting at Hardy’s Monument, nearby here in West Dorset. That’s not something we see here very often, so I can’t guess how he came across that group of visitors to take that wonderful photograph.

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LAKENHEATH AND MILDENHALL IN 1960….AND MY FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS.

January 2020.

After returning from a posting in Germany, my father ended up at a pretty boring RAF camp in Norfolk. This was RAF Feltwell, once a wartime bomber base that now had no aircraft, just three enormous Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles.
The Thor’s…just sat there. Well when in ‘firing position’ they did, otherwise they lay down in their enormous concrete housings, masking their fearsome nuclear capabilities.
We moved from an RAF quarter at Feltwell and bought a bungalow at a nearby village, Weeting and I started at Thetford Boys Grammar School, a somewhat long bus ride away.

It was at this time, when I was 12 going on 13, in early 1960 that I fell in love with ‘planes’. Alas with none immediately nearby, I started cycling to visit the US base at Lakenheath and subsequently continued on the few more miles to Mildenhall.

I say that I fell in love with planes. I found a beauty in these machines and therefore begged my father to borrow his pretty old Agfa camera that took 120 film. At Lakenheath the superb Super Sabre jets were often too far away to get decent photos however but very occasionally I’d find one parked up near the boundary fencing.

Here’s the first picture that I took that I seem to have finally managed to get in focus and without camera shake or getting some of the fence in the shot!

48th TFW F-100D Super Sabre 63221 getting some ‘line-maintenance’ on a Lakenheath dispersal.

I’m very partial to some ‘action’ in my aviation images. This one works because there’s a mechanic fixing something and the sky and the sunlight makes the image worthwhile.

Cycling on to Mildenhall in those days meant passing through the USAF housing, bungalows with a mix of large late 50’s American cars and also some European ‘compacts’ parked outside them…this was the great gas guzzling days of the late 50’s and early ’60’s.

I used to arrrive on my bike at the end of Mildenhall’s runway, up near ‘the town’ and then cycle down towards the old RAF hangars which were left over from it’s wartime bomber days. Both bases were pretty big so I could cover a fair distance.

Here’s probably the best shot I managed at Mildenhall:

C-133A Cargomaster 40142 of 1607th Air Transport Wing (Heavy) from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

In the background that’s a giant gantry for lifting one of the big Pratt and Whitney T34 turbo-prop engines off the C-133.
The 1607th Air Transport Wing (Heavy) was the unit that supplied C-133’s to transport into Mildenhall the large American Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles for the RAF. A total of 60 Thors and their equipment were delivered for the RAF which took 60 flights by C-124’s and 77 by C-133’s. The missiles were based at former RAF airfields, each converted to take 3 of the Thor’s in the enormous concrete housings, the first arriving at Feltwell in September 1958 and they lasted until August 1963. The Thors were moved from Mildenhall by road with transporters capable of front and rear steering, quite a sight to see along the East Anglian country roads.

Waiting around the end of Mildenhall’s runway could however produce images like these…if the Agfa camera would let me.

Douglas C-133A Cargomaster 62011 about to touchdown at Mildenhall in mid 1960.

The Lakenheath runway was harder work alas as the Super Sabres were a bit further away and with no long lens they were always pretty small on the negatives.
It was a great day out to visit both American bases at the beginning of the ’60s and set up my enthusiasm for planes which I ‘fully exploited’ in my next few years at RAF Changi in Singapore.

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