Canterbury Photographic Society

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John Davies

Born and bred in South Wales, my earliest experience in photography  as a ten year old lad, was taking “family snaps” with a Box Brownie. Later I progressed to owning a “Coronet”, obtained by saving “Trex” cooking fat coupons. The exposed film, I recall, was posted to a company called “Gratispool” based in Glasgow. What exciting times they were, waiting for the set of twelve, small, black and white prints (and another free film), to arrive in the mail. These early images are still a precious part of our family history and continue to evoke many happy memories.

 

It was during my college days that I became involved with more serious photography when having to illustrate aspects of my home  town and the surrounding area, in the production of a geographical atlas.

 

Skills learned at that time proved invaluable when, in later years, accompanied by my wife and children, I became part of  the British Overseas Aid Programme and moved to live and work in Zambia as a  government education officer on the Copper Belt. Here I recorded our daily lives, together with all aspects of the local culture and terrain,  to send as Agfa “transparencies” to our families back home. In addition to my official duties, for us to survive, it was necessary to be as self- sufficient as possible. This led to satisfying experiences in market gardening, chicken farming, occasional employment surveying, and as an illustrator for Zambian Television. As a government employee I was also required during the presidential election to serve as Returning Officer for an area larger than Kent, which involved driving hundreds of miles to check on Polling Stations in remote  schools and villages. This was quite a risky business in a One Party State!

 

We as a family traveled widely taking full advantage of the chance to visit nine countries in Central and Southern Africa, all the while recording encounters with the wildlife and several other traumatic episodes. To be faced with soldiers demanding at gunpoint to examine my camera, and threatening to confiscate it, was one such incident never to be forgotten !

 

That tour of duty overseas has given rise to a lasting wanderlust which has been fulfilled over the years by touring with our caravan all over the UK and Europe, and in circumnavigating the globe by sea. Whilst travelling, my camera is always in use recording  various cultural differences, the people, flora, fauna and environment.

 

After retiring from full-time employment,  I took a qualification in garden design. Here again my interest in photography has proved invaluable in enabling the recording of “before and after” shots of the work undertaken, and in compiling for clients a complete photographic record of the various developmental stages.

 

Membership of the Club provides many enjoyable opportunities for discussion with like- minded enthusiasts, making new friends along the way and, by means of the talks, demonstrations and competitions, continually improving our skills.

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