No photograph that is displayed and posted on this blog may be reproduced, copied, stored, manipulated or used in whole or in part of a derivative work without the prior written permission of the Copyright (c) Owner & Photographer: Trevor David Betts BA (Hons). All rights reserved.


If you want to use any of my photographs displayed upon this blog, for inclusion in an essay, presentation, talk, or for posting on your blog or web site. Or for use in any other way or means. Then it would be very much appreciated if you could contact me first (as a matter of courtesy and decency) to seek my permission to use any of my photographs. Failure to do so is breach of my copyright and rights.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009



It was in the summer of either 1982 or '83 that a friend and I attended a pop concert in London. We then stayed an extra day to take in a few sights. I'd just bought an Olympus OM10.

I tried a few shots in Trafalgar Square. It was my first 35mm camera and I was trying to make sense of all those strange figures on the lens barrel and the shutter speed dial.

My friend was yelling at me to get a move on when a long-haired bloke with a camera bag approached me. 'Having problems?' he grinned. I was indeed having problems. As the camera lacked the add-on manual adapter, I'd been trying to sort out shutter speeds and apertures when in actual fact all I needed to do was just set it on auto, select an aperture and fire away. I didn't know this, of course until my knight in shining armour told me .

My friend sat there waiting for me to take her picture, and I was about to do so when my charming new pal said, 'Hang on a minute'. He took the newspaper out of my pocket, opened it and stood sideways on to my friend. He explained that by using the paper to reflect the light on to my friends face it would help control the contrast.

I pointed to his bulky camera bag and asked if he were a professional photographer. He nodded and I made a joke about how he must be loaded. He smiled and said, 'I do OK'.

After I'd thanked him for his help he reached into his bag, pulled out two rolls of film and handed them to me. 'Try it' , he said. 'You might like it'. What an absolute gent, I thought and with a smile he was on his way.

A couple of months later my late dad bought a copy of a now long-gone photo magazine. Inside was a portfolio by a world-famous photographer called Bob Carlos Clarke. As I sat gazing at a shot of a crashed helicopter my gaze then went to the small portrait of Clarke at the head of the page. It was him - the bloke who'd come to my aid. When I excitedly told my dad he was as stunned as I was.

We noted from the article that Bob was was a huge fan of Kodak Tri-X. I rushed to my room and dug out the two rolls of film he'd given me. Tri-X I'd noted. It was those rolls of film and a little help from my photography-mad dad that got me into processing and printing mono, which I have been doing ever since.

It was so sad when Bob took his own life, and he has been saddled with the 'troubled genius' label. He may have ended his life deeply troubled, but I will never forget the kindness he showed to an out-of-her depth Geordie lass trying to get to grips with her first camera.

From an article in the Back Chat section of Amateur Photographer magazine by AP reader Susan Cave, 22nd August 2009. An edited version is displayed here.

Footnote: I have heard a similar story from someone who I used to know, when he talked to Bob at the annual Focus on Imaging show held at the N.E.C, Birmingham in 1989. He obviously had time for people and was approachable.

I like no doubt many other serious photographers was very upset to hear of his passing in such tragic circumstances. I have one of his prints that takes pride of place on my living room wall.


  1. damn nice...very touching ....thanks for sharing.

  2. Many thanks for that comment Amit.

    Yes very sad, but still a nice story to remember a great photographer by.

  3. very good blog, congratulations
    regard from Reus Catalonia
    thank you

  4. Thank you Te la ma Maria - Reus for your kind comments, they are very much appreciated.

  5. I wonder if its depression. A lot of artistic people suffer from that, I think. I am reminded of Van Gogh...

  6. Hello Nikki,

    With regards this case, like a lot of artistic and creative people I believe that he did suffer from depression. Apparently he was attending a well-known clinic for treatment and he was worried about growing old. It's a very sad tale because he walked in front of a train, and left behind a wife and a daughter.

    There's a saying that ignorance is bliss, so in my opinion those of us that are not creative, artistic and dare I say it less intelligent do not think or worry as much as those that are creative.

    History is full of artists, writers, actors, photographers and other creative people who have committed suicide for what ever reason.

  7. A stranger giving out film rolls, what a dream. A touching story, all the way.

  8. Thanks for your comment Laura. Yes you would not get today (it might be memory cards instead of rolls of film).

    Yes I agree with you it is a touching story.




To my Photo Blog,

All my monochrome photography is darkroom produced. This portfolio consists of photographs from several of my projects, assignments, personal and course related work. Some of these monochrome photographic prints are then selectively toned.

Take a look at the slide show, or the popular posts. Click onto some of the many excellent blogs that I have listed in my blog roll. I welcome constructive feedback (post a comment).

Click onto the links in some of my posts which will then take you to the relevant website link where you will be able to find out more about that location, charity or organisation etc featured in the post and which is relevant to that specific image.

Also please click onto my links. Join my blog and my Google + followers. If you would like to know more about any particular photograph or project then please send me an email. My email address is at the foot of this page.

Also from time to time I will post videos that are of interest to me, mainly from my military background.

Yours sincerely

Trevor David Betts BA (Hons)




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All the photographs featured on this blog spot were taken on Canon analog 35mm SLR cameras which included: Canon A1, Canon AE1 (non-programme) and Canon T90. The Canon A1 was rendered useless after prolonged exposure to salt spray residue, and the AE1 suffered a malfunction, and one of my T90s just packed up on me during a photographic shoot.

Most of my camera equipment was initially purchased brand new, then as the years have past I have purchased second-hand equipment. But the vast majority of equipment I currently possess is well over twenty years old.

Canon FD lenses used were: 28, and 35mm wide angle, 50mm standard, 35-105mm short telephoto zoom and a 70-210mm large telephoto zoom lenses. Also used was a loaned Mamiya 645 with 50 and 80mm lenses. My favourite combination is a T90 fitted with the 35-105mm lens with an Hoya orange filter. I use Hoya orange, red, neutral density, and skylight filters. Hoya and Canon lens hoods. A Canon remote cable. I have used a great Metz 45 CT-4 flashgun for many years. I used this for the bounced and fill-in flash for some of the documentary and portraiture work.

Studio flash used was Courtenay brolly flash (just two heads fitted with soft boxes) at Hull Community Artworks studio (sadly this excellent local arts facility closed in 2001). Billingham and Tamrac camera bags (the Billingham is a old model that I have had for years - wonderful bags). The Tamrac one is a medium sized back pack type bag. Slik Black Diamond 88, and 500 DX Pro tripods. A Cullmann touring set (which consists of a light tripod, ball and swivel head, all-purpose clamp, suction cap, and a ground spike). I presently have three Canon T90 and one A1 SLR cameras.

Film used was mainly 35mm (with some 120mm). Ilford Delta monochrome negative print film, 100 asa (a few rolls of 400 asa as well). Ilford HP5 and FP4 (400 and 125 asa respectively). Fuji Neopan 400 asa. Various Fuji colour film. Photographic chemicals: Ilford ID-11 and Microphen film developers. Agfa Rodinal fine grain film developer, and Ilford Hypam fixer.

Photographic paper: Ilford Multigrade IV VC paper, Fibre based VC paper including warm and cool tone. Kentmere Velvet Stipple and Art Document papers. Kodak selenium toner. Barclay and Fotospeed sepia toners, and Colorvir blue toner. Durst M60 and Meopta 5 enlargers fitted with 50 and 80mm Schneider lenses. Kenro negative sheets and Jessops negative folders.

Most of my photography involves the use of the camera being securely mounted onto the tripod, with the shutter set to the 10 second delay. I bracket my exposures (relying on the excellent Canon in-camera meter). My aperture settings are usually between F5.6 and F22. In the vast majority of cases the very first exposure I take is usually the correctly exposed one.

Finished photographic prints (spotted if needed). At the 10 x 8 inch size are then scanned on an Epsom 1660 photo perfection scanner using Adope Photoshop CS2 at the 5.5 x 3.5 inch image or canvas size, 150 dpi and at the 750 x 550 pixels size, and saved as for the web. The only thing that is manipulated is the brightness balance and contrast levels.


"It is the soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to fair protest.

It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

From: "Fighting for Queen and Country,
by Nigel 'Spud' Ely. Blake Publishing London, 2007.