‘Seventy Years of Railway Photography’ by Colin Boocock


Our new season of meetings commenced with a splendid show from Colin Boocock titled ’Seventy Years of Railway Photography’ based upon his eponymous book.  The first image though pre-dated Colin’s own photographic journey and featured him, aged six standing by a locomotive at the now-closed Chessington Zoo Railway.  Three years later Colin persuaded his father to allow him to take some shots himself at Bournemouth Central.  These were quite a success and Colin was rewarded at Christmas 1949 with a Brownie box camera of his own which he used for the next few years to record aspects of the rapidly-changing railway scene.  These were not  confined to the Southern Railway, as holidays and visits to friends and relatives enabled the young photographer to include images from the North-West and East Anglia in his modest portfolio.  Colin quickly developed skill as a photographer, processing and printing his own negatives and with an open-mindedness towards diesel traction the range and variety of his pictures grew rapidly.  In many cases it was only years afterwards that the uniqueness of specific photographs in recording aspects of the historical record became apparent.  It is impossible to summarise here the collection of wonderful images that Colin showed us, and the parallel story of his successive film and digital cameras, but they covered many unusual aspects of the railway scene in the UK and Ireland with the addition of some specially chosen images having a local Sheffield focus.  This was an afternoon to be remembered, and a show to be heartily recommended to other branches.  If you need further recommendation then buy the book!