Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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21 Jan 2021 9:05AM   Views : 519 Unique : 306


A couple of days ago, I learned that a pillar of the EPZ community, Peterjay80, died at Christmas. Quite a lot of you may have seen his pictures, or read his always-kindly comments. He made no secret of the fact that he wasn’t a great photographer, and that he loved being able to buy and use excellent equipment. His contribution to our community was in other things.

The consistent feature of his portfolio was views of Gloucestershire from the windows of his flat in Malvern: often shot as he was making his morning ‘mugga’ and delighting the rest of us by sharing an exceptional view from up on a hillside. I never tired of the view – like any sky, it was subtly different every day, and I see it as a generous gesture that Peter shared this so regularly.

I think I got to know Peter through messages here when he posted a series of scans of slides that he took in Afghanistan in the Seventies. He was, I think, an engineer by profession – and engineers often see deeper into a country than journalists and politicians. He showed me a beautiful, wild country, inhabited by generous and proud people. Peter commented that Afghanistan has often repelled invaders: he felt the Afghans had a sort of warrior respect for the British – though they repelled us as they have repelled everyone, they enjoyed the game.

At that point in our growing e-friendship, he recommended reading ‘Caravans’ by James A Michener, a story told in the first person by an American, and set in the late Forties or early Fifties. Peter said this was an accurate reflection of the country and people he saw when he was working in Afghanistan.

I met Peter once: we managed to coordinate a meeting at the Malvern Show in 2019, and spent a pleasant few hours wandering round the displays and stalls, before he fed me tea and cake back at his flat. I tried to photograph the view that I knew so well from his page here at Ephotozine, and failed miserably, but that wasn’t the point of the exercise. Really, for me, it was a chance to bask in the light of a good soul.
One final thing about Peter and his photography: he seemed entirely at ease photographing animals, and they seemed at ease with him: his pictures show every sign of a deep empathy with all living things. While he once or twice protested that he didn’t do as well with people, I’ve never seen a comment from him that wasn’t self-effacing, respectful, and gentle – though sometimes underpinned by a raffish sense of humour. There’s more to photography than making a perfect picture. Rest in peace, my friend.

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ZenTony Avatar
ZenTony Plus
7 28 7 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2021 9:48AM
That's quite lovely John. I wish I had met him.
dales Avatar
dales Plus
7 19 Australia
21 Jan 2021 10:26AM
A wonderful write on this delightful character John , a sad passing but his images will live on as a reminder.
bluesandtwos Avatar
bluesandtwos 13 544 1 England
21 Jan 2021 10:47AM
Beautifully written, I am sure he would be proud of his description.

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
21 Jan 2021 11:45AM
Thank you. Peter was much better at giving credit than taking it. A natural gentleman.
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
21 Jan 2021 12:09PM
Sorry to hear this, and although I never met him (almost did at The Photography Show in 2019) I enjoyed his posts here.
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 37 8 England
21 Jan 2021 1:06PM
"There’s more to photography than making a perfect picture." Very true, John. The people we meet and the friendships we make along the way are more
memorable than the images we take.
rontear Avatar
rontear Plus
20 23 9 England
21 Jan 2021 3:25PM
Truly poignant John, may he reat in peace and press that shutter !!!
JuBarney Avatar
JuBarney Plus
12 36 7 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2021 5:51PM
A wonderful tribute and portrait
peterjay80 Avatar
21 Jan 2021 6:09PM
This is Kate, Peter's daughter - thank you so much for your kind words about Dad. He would be simultaneously very touched, and horrified that someone was singling him out for attention - he really was much better at giving credit than taking it!

He had been in failing health for the past few years, general old age and its assorted tribulations, but in November he found out that the recurring stomach pains he'd been living with for several months was trouble with his pancreas. They told him it was advanced pancreatic cancer on 10th December, and true to its terrible reputation, he lived just two weeks more. But I'm told, by the widow of another pancreatic cancer patient, that the alternative could easily have been months in debilitating pain, so we can't be sad that he didn't suffer for long.

He mentioned this site, and the comments from you guys, to me often - it gave him a sense of community even as his external life quietly shrank. Thank you all for giving him so much pleasure.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
21 Jan 2021 6:33PM
Thank you, Kate, too.

I've made several good friends here: and have enjoyed many different kinds of conversations. Your Dad was very special to some of us, precisely because he was so self-effacing.

He spoke of you when we met, in very affectionate terms. Being a parent is a great blessing...

From his intermittent posting over the last few months, I feared for his health: and I agree that long drawn out suffering is a terrible thing. I'm so glad, for Peter, that he didn't go through that, and that he also had time to say goodbye.

A special man. They don't make them like that any more: and there were never many...
whatriveristhis Avatar
21 Jan 2021 10:32PM
So sad. I personally had no communication with him, but reading his comments on any member's work I always thought him a kind and gentle soul, and a true gentleman.
Robert51 Avatar
Robert51 14 12 147 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2021 4:09PM
We are all sorry for your loss Kate and even we may not have known Peter as a person we do find a lot out about people when they post over the years. Peter always had a good word for everyone and I'm sure will be greatly missed on the site. On the plus side we are happy for the time we got to know him via the net.

Remember that everytime we think of him they are still with us...
mrswoolybill Avatar
mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.6k 2635 United Kingdom
25 Jan 2021 9:04AM
Sad news, I've only just picked up on this. Peter was a real gentleman, always so polite, encouraging and positive. My sympathy to all the family.

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