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John Riley presents Arthur Riley


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John Riley presents Arthur Riley

14 May 2020 10:03AM   Views : 521 Unique : 330

Let me introduce you briefly to my Dad, sadly no longer with us, but very much here in what he left behind for us to enjoy. Arthur was a dental technician, serving in Italy and Africa during WWII with the RAF. Back in civvy street he started working for my dentist grandfather and eventually became a partner in the business. Later, he moved the business to Speakers House on Deansgate, Manchester, doing high end work for Hans and Peter Kurer in particular. One twist in the tale is that my first teacher at primary school was Mrs Margaret Stone, who was the Kurer brothers' Aunt. Small world. His photography started when the Kurers presented him with a Pentax ES II and from there he moved on to a Nikon F2 Photomic and various Nikon lenses. He did not really explore photography beyond his own darkroom though, never joined any clubs, never took it into the larger world, but what he did do was disappear into his darkroom printing vast numbers of black and white prints in search of sharpness.

The subjects mainly were models, and there were plenty of dental nurses around willing to help out, and the views of Manchester from the roof of Speakers House. It is those views across the rooftops that I'm sharing now, having scanned the best of the prints. He unfortunately used a lot of government surplus paper and many of those prints are not good, but the ones on Kodak Bromesko double weight are superb. What is really interesting is that the time he was shooting images coincides with the time when Sinclairs Oyster Bar (The Shambles) was being dismantled and moved for the second time and in general that the pictures show a Manchester newly under construction while quite a few original buildings and features are still there. We are talking early 1970s onwards. The subject is always more important than the cameras and lenses used and in this case he had the subject and the quality kit to shoot it with, plus the time to make hundreds of prints searching for that ultimate sharpness.

Let's have a look at some.












I will be eventually getting these online in a gallery on my website, plus other shots of Irlams o' th' Height and other locations around Salford. Hope you enjoyed the first selection.

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pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 451
15 May 2020 1:55AM
One can live a colourful life yet produce black and white pictures for posterity. Preserving and celebrating them does justice to his work and establishes a legacy that can mark the city's history, especially as buildings can change. My congratulations for your (pl.) work.


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