A life in pictures

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A life in pictures

Sixty years of photography: Korumburra’s Derrick Ives with his iconic photo of the cloud-covered peaks of the Austrian Tirol.

IF not for Adolf Hitler, Derrick Ives believes he may never have taken up photography.
The 80-year-old Korumburra photographer’s love affair began in 1943, when his school in Hastings, East Sussex, England, was evacuated to St Albans, 20 miles north of London.
“We had a funny sort of timetable, with Wednesday afternoon off, Saturday morning school and Saturday afternoon off. In this spare time there was very little sport as all the athletic young men were at the war and all the older ones didn’t really want to know,” he said.
“What did kids do? They went train spotting – collecting train numbers. They were all steam and I love steam locomotives.”
Derrick was enthralled by the work of Ian Allan, a schoolboy who collated the numbers of all the trains on the English network and published them in four books. The works were a surprise success.
“He had photographs in the books and then after the war he started producing books that were just photographs. I collected these, but then I started to wonder whether I couldn’t take my own photographs of trains,” he said.
Derrick’s mother had an old Kodak folding Brownie from the 1920s, with roll film. The local camera shop, however, sold “dreadful ex-RAAF” film.
“It was used for aerial photography, I gathered. But you didn’t know what you were getting with the emulsion speed. It was low-contrast and you didn’t know how to develop it,” Derrick said.
He began to experiment with the development process, using various chemicals to gain the desired effect. The year was 1947, just weeks before Derrick’s 16th birthday.
“The first results weren’t brilliant,” he admitted with a chuckle.
But by 1948 things were looking up, with new film on the market. The results were much better. Derrick and a mate would “cycle all over the place” to take photographs of trains. The photography obsession was really beginning to take hold.
In 1965 he embraced colour over black-and-white. Now he has exchanged film for digital.
Two of Derrick’s most striking and award-winning images are of the iconic Ben Nevis mountain in Scotland and the cloud-covered peaks of the Austrian Tirol. But he is also interested in the minutiae – spider webs, flowers, the delicate and small things from nature. His Korumburra acreage, which is fringed by farmland, has been a rich source of inspiration.
*From March 10 – 14 (with an opening on the evening of Friday, March 9) Derrick will exhibit more than 140 photographs at the Korumburra Art Gallery. The exhibition is entitled Sixty Years of Photography.

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Posted by on Mar 7 2012. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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