JOHN WATCHED HIS cousin printing a photo in the corner of his family
garage and – at 13 years of age – he was hooked.
A year or so later John had saved enough money from holiday jobs to buy an Agfa Isolette roll film camera – and he still has it!
Soon after, an enlarger and associated bits and pieces arrived, and his mother had to seek permission to use her own laundry and remove the blackout screens to do so.
John joined the New Plymouth Camera Club while he was still at high school and later, while at Otago University,
he was a member of the OU Camera Club – really because this gave him access to a wellequipped darkroom.
Monochrome prints from those days have resisted fading to today – good fixer they used back then ลาวสามัคคี วีไอพี.
Early in 1964 John and his young family moved to Greymouth where he became one of the Coast’s few dentists.
A mere couple of months later he was elected President of the Greymouth Camera Club,
a position he held until he escaped from Greymouth to the Canadian Arctic in 1974.
During that time, the club prospered and grew and, at different times,
hosted a couple of Regional Conventions including one where PSNZ
President Vonnie Cave braved a West Coast thunderstorm to get the Ultimate Image and ended up looking more like a drowned rat than the dignified lady she is.
Through those 10 years, John gained experience judging competitions and mentoring local photographers.
He attended assorted PSNZ conventions after joining the Society in 1965 before that year’s Queenstown convention.
He was fortunate to become friends with and learn from legends of NZ photography including Fred Bowron, Len Casbolt, Matheson Beaumont, Brian Brake and Roger Brownsey.
John was also Membership Director on PSNZ Council for a couple of years but gave this assignment away when a better offer appeared and he left New Zealand. In August 1974 John
and his family departed Greymouth to spend two years in arctic Canada where John was a dentist in Yellowknife
and spent twothirds of his time travelling the region (flying over an area three times the size of New Zealand and totalling more than 24,000km by bush plane)
and treating the Indians of the Mackenzie Valley and the Inuit of the Arctic North.
He assembled a large collection of 35mm images during these travels into remote and inspiring communities
and showed programmes of his adventures when he was the Principal Speaker at the PSNZ Convention in Blenheim after his return to New Zealand in 1977.
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