Where in Yorkshire?

Once again, I’d really appreciate your help in identifying the location of a couple of old photographs from my archive.

travel photography YorkshireBut where?

Are they the same place? Which canal would that be in the picture of the child running along the tow path? Please add a comment to this post if you know the answers.

I’ve tried Google maps and Street Maps and satellite images, but I still cannot identify these places

Can you anyone help please?

travel photography - Sunday Times

Oh, in case you are wondering – no, as the travel photographer for The Sunday Times I did not always get sent to exotic locations. Yorkshire was often on my list of assignments. It always produced interesting photographs.

Photography Holiday Fully Booked

The September Photography Holiday in Menorca is now Fully Booked.

I’m sorry if you have missed your chance to come this year, but you will get another chance to enjoy one of these very special Photography Holidays next May 2012.

photographer on photography holiday MenorcaI run just two of these holidays each year, so please do think well ahead if you want to take advantage of a full week of first-hand professional photography tuition in a very beautiful and interesting place. The hotel is excellent and Menorca itself is the perfect training ground for a really good grounding in the arts of travel photography. You will cover a wide variety of subjects including night photography, people, street photography, landscape and interiors.

Please don’t leave it too late to book. You can confirm your place with a deposit of just £100. Non-participants are also welcome – so if your partner prefers to sit by the pool or explore the island while you learn about photography, it’s not a problem.


Arnold Lancaster – photographer

I learned the other day that a very old friend, Arnold Lancaster, was one of the victims of the dreadful events at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

Arnold Lancaster was a photographer on the Stockport Express newspaper in the 1960s when I started there as a 15 year old tea-brewer and photographic printer.

I remember him as a lovely, happy bloke. A gentleman. He was one of the people who helped me learn my craft. All my memories of Arnold are happy ones. For instance, it was Arnold who helped develop my love of classical music – and beer. Bless him, Arnold used to sneak my into the pub for a half of mild ale well before I was legally entitled to drink.

The photograph below shows Arnold and me with the group of staff photographers at the Stockport Express. I don’t doubt I must have brewed that cup of tea.

Stockport Express Photographers 1963

Staff photographers on The Stockport Express, Christmas 1963. Back row from left: Don McPhee (now sadly no longer with us. Don worked with great distinction for The Guardian), Eric Willoughby, Arthur Partington, Philip Dunn (the bright-eyed boy). Front row: Albert Coleman, Jack Little, and Arnold Lancaster

Sadly, I completely lost touch with Arnold over the years – I know he spent some time working in Australia and that he returned to Stockport and worked again for a time at the Stockport Express.

To hear of a lost contact in such tragic circumstances is terribly sad. I do not know if Arnold had family, but if he did, I send my condolences.

Photography Holiday Email

As you will know, I do not send out many ‘Newsletter-style’ emails to the hundreds of photographers in my contacts list. Maybe two or three emails each year at the most.

Photography Holiday email
If you are on my contacts list because you have been on, or enquired about, a Photography Holiday or Photography Course, or maybe because you have bought one of my DVDs, you may be getting a brief email from me over the next few days – that’s a picture of it on the left.

It is really to remind you that there are just two places available for the Photography Holiday in September, and that if you have been thinking about joining one of these holidays – now is the time to book before it is too late.

You will, of course, have the option to ‘unsubsribe’ from any future emails from me, but I hope you won’t do that because I do like to keep in touch from time to time, and you have my promise that you will neither be deluged with guff or have your details passed on to anyone else. This just will not happen.

And – with a bit of luck – I’ll see you in Menorca for a great week of photography and tuition.


Photography Holiday Song

I have posted already about the fun we had on our Photography Holiday earlier this year, and what a fantastic group of photographers we had with us in Menorca.

However, I have not mentioned what this group gave us at the end of the holiday – it was one of the best ‘thank you’ presents Norene and I have ever received. It was a song! Just that – a song sung by the whole group during our ‘Light Monkey’ Awards party on the last evening of the holiday.

It never ceases to amaze me the wide range of talents and backgrounds in every group of photographers who come one these holidays. In that May group of snappers we had, among others, a retired surgeon, the wife of a scrap metal man, a nurse, and an ‘elf & safety’ person. We also had a retired GP, Bill Hammerton. Bill is a chorister and, together with the other photographers, he conspired to write a brilliant song about the photography holiday in Menorca.

Photographers group travelling on location

That's Bill in the white tee shirt - and he looked such a quiet sort when he joined us for the Photography Holiday - you never can tell. The picture shows him leading the fun on the mini-coach as we headed back to the hotel S'Algar after a day's shooting in Ciutedella. And the guy in the grey photographer's waistcoat? That's our good friend Ande Wick - he's the 'Andy/Sophie/Hippy/Happy/Zeplin singing one' mentioned in the song. What a great group

Okay, some of the lines are ‘in’ jokes about the people involved during the week, but I have posted it here and I’m sure you get the jist of the sort of fun and mischief we get up to on these Photography Holidays – quite apart from a gteatr deal of training and tuition, of course.

The words were set to the tune of ‘Phil the Fluter’s Ball’, and I’ve embedded a YouTube video below of a lovely lady called Jane Rutter playing the tune so that you can get the idea.

It was sung with great gusto led by Bill.

With a monkey on each shoulder
And the lighting from the side
You’re a very happy bunny
Says our photographic guide.
Top, bottom, front and back,
Forget about them all
It’s The Side, The Side, The Side for me
At Phil the Tutor’s Ball.
Verse 1
Have you heard of Phil The Tutor
From that little Scottish toon
And his beautiful wife Norene
Who comes to show you roon(d).
They take you out to S’Algar
And teach you how to shoot
And send you back a pro -

And Oh! It’s just a hoot.

Chrorus – With a monkey…

Verse 2
There was Sailor Roy from Milton Keynes
Kept running round the block,
And his crafty wife Annie,
Who was not so keen on Rock.
Laughing Linda, Gentle Jenny, Susan, Stevie were the lassies.
Teasing tricking, singing, playing
As they gaily raised their glasses.
They all joined in with the greatest joviality.
Trotting races, coffin cases – we photographed them all.
John the Knife, Jeff the Pen and Clever Ken the quiet one.

Excuse me Linda, darling will you pose for me to shoot.

Chorus – With a monkey…

Verse 3
Then there’s one last character to add to all the fun,
The Andy/Sophie/Hippy/Happy/Zeplin singing one.
But it’s time for us to go now so farewell to one and all,

So join us in one last chorus now of Phil the Tutor’s Ball.

Chorus – With a monkey…

There are just two places available on the Photography Holiday in September


David Pennell – photography student dies

I was terribly saddened to hear this morning that David Pennell, who last year came on one of my Photography Courses, and also for one-to-one tuition here in Kirkcudbright, has died.

Photography course student David Pennell

Photography Course student David Pennell with his Leica M9

I have no doubt that every photographer on the group will remember David with great affection – he will certainly be remembered. You could not meet David and easily forget him.

David Pennell was a powerhouse of mischievous fun and outrageous charm.

I wrote about David in a post only last November.

David is also featured in a short video of students’ comments about the Photography Courses – it’s worth waiting until you get to the last comment – that’s David.

The story behind this video clip below still makes me smile.

When I approached David with my video running and asked him if he had enjoyed his weekend – the answer was ‘Not in the slightest’. You only have to look at David’s face to see the pleasure in the mischief he was causing.

When I came to edit the clip, I could not find a way of  ‘bleeping’ out David’s rich choice of one particular word – hence the fading and lifting of the sound level at one particular point.

Thank you David Pennell for all the mischief and fun you took around with you. Our thoughts are with Killy and the family.

Photography Student’s new book

What a lovely thought from my former photography student Russell Turner. He’s just sent me a copy of the book he has just published in co-operation with two other photographers; Andrew Dowsett and James Moore. I posted about the publication of this book online some time ago – now there are hard copies available.

Russell has been on several of my photography courses and weekends including one-to-one photography tuition. He always showed great potential, and to see his new book gives me a tremendous sense of pleasure.

Eilean Dubh photography bookThe book ‘Eilean Dubh – The Black Isle’ is a photographic journey through this wonderful part of the Highlands of Scotland up there near Inverness.

What particularly impresses me about the work of these three photographers is their understanding and use of light – something Russell certainly seems to have taken on board after his photography sessions with me.

There’s page after page of beautifully crafted photography – everything from the oil rigs in Cromarty to the waterfalls of Fairy Glen and a whole set of knock-out pictures of the dolphins at Chanonry Point.

Eilean Dubh photography book - dolphinsChanonry Point is a bit of a sore point with me, having sailed past this famous dolphin watching spot several times without so much as seeing the flick of a fin. And here is a set of fantastic dolphin pictures – all taken from the beach. There’s no justice in the world.

I can recommend this beautiful photography book to lovers of good photography and lovers of the Black Isle itself.

‘Eilean Dubh – The Black Isle’ is published by Bassman Books £23.95 inc p+p from Russell Turner’s website

Find out more about Photography Courses with Philip Dunn

Where is this Yorkshire Railway Viaduct?

In my ongoing task of sorting and scanning my archive of thousands of old negatives, I came across this photograph taken for The Sunday Times.

I know I took the photograph in Yorkshire, and sometime around 1989. But that’s as far as my information goes.

Yorkshire viaduct photo for Sunday Times

Can anyone help and tell me the name of the viaduct in this photograph taken for The Sunday Times

Can anyone help me and name the viaduct in the photograph please?

It would be a real bonus if someone could also put a name to the gentleman in the photograph, too.

How to Find Photo Ideas

In my recent post How to Succeed as a Freelance Photographer I wrote about the importance of coming up with a constant flow of good picture ideas if you want to succeed as a professional freelance photographer.

So where do all these wonderful photo ideas come from?

Well, photo ideas are gleaned from a wide variety of sources and are usually found after a great deal of hard work: reading through local newspapers and between the lines of press handouts from travel companies, theatres, museums, and publicity departments attached to businesses and government departments. You must be on the mailing lists of all these people.

They come from watching television, listening to radio programmes and cultivating personal contacts. Above all these days, the internet is the finest resource of photo ideas you are likely to find. It is also the best research tool I can imagine – Wikipedia, Google Earth and Street Maps are fantastic tools for a photographer, enabling him or her to check out and uncover facts about a location even before a wheel is turned.

The list is long, and the time involved in sifting though all this material and information is considerable.

Ideas are worth money
But ideas are worth money, and the freelance who can place the right idea with the right newspaper or magazine should be rewarded for all the trouble. The more actively ideas are sought, the more will be uncovered and the more pictures the freelance will get published. Once the ball is rolling, one idea often leads to another – perhaps requiring a slightly different approach for a different publication.

The important thing is to maintain the momentum and drive.

If you have a particular interest or expertise – use it. For instance, if you have a passion for cycling, it is far more likely that you will have contacts in the cycling world and that you will understand the sport and be in a position to come up with ideas involving it.

The freelance who is really ‘tuned in’ to events, and who works for newspapers on a regular basis is will be more aware of the sort of stories worth involvement. He or she will be in constant touch with the picture editors, PR people and fellow photographers and journalists working for a whole range of publications.

Research and Groundwork
Often a receptive freelance picks up a seed of an idea just by talking to these colleagues. Then, usually after a considerable amount of research and groundwork, the idea might develop into a worthwhile picture project.

An awareness of current trends and the editorial requirements of all possible markets is essential is a freelance is to be successful in marketing ideas and pictures.

In the search for picture ideas, it must be constantly borne in mind that the most profitable pictures are those that can be sold again and again long after the first sale to a particular newspaper of magazine. These are the pictures with initial news/relevance value plus the potential to attract future sales either because of their aesthetic or human interest content or because, as with pictures of public figures and personalities, they will be in demand as library stock.

The ideal situation is for the freelance to ‘sell’ an idea to a magazine, which then funds the initial expenses and pays a fee for the first publication. A professional photographer should never relinquish copyright at this stage because he must be free to syndicate the pictures again after this first publication.

If the magazine insists on the photographer signing a contract that signs away the photographer’s rights. Go elsewhere. If it is felt that the idea has sufficient merit, then it will be worth the photographer funding the expenses himself and retaining all his rights.

Tips for finding and selling photo ideas…

  • Get on all relevant press release mailing lists
  • Read between the lines of press releases
  • Research locations with Google Earth, Street Maps & Wikipedia
  • Build personal contacts
  • Use what you already know
  • Don’t part with copyright

Of all the thousands of tips I can give for selling pictures and features to newspapers and magazines, the one single most important and vital need is to ‘know your market’. I will explain how you can do that in my next post.

You can learn more about how to succeed as a professional photographer on Philip Dunn’s Photography Holidays and Photography Courses

How to Succeed as a Freelance Photographer

During my photography Holidays and photography courses, I am often asked by keen amateur photographers – “How can I make a living as a freelance photographer?”

The short answer is ‘with great difficulty’. However, I have, over the years, a growing list of photography students who are now working as successful professionals. It can be done, and during my photography holidays and courses, I explain to those who a keen to learn – just how it can be done. I often run one-to-one photography courses purely to help aspiring professionals.

Here are a few notes I wrote in my book ‘A practical Guide to Press Photography‘ – a book now long out-of-print, but which became a standard work in universities and colleges throughout Britain. I will be reproducing more snips from the book in future posts.

How to succeed as a freelance photographer
The successful freelance photographer must acquire more than a proven ability behind a camera. The professional freelance photographer is in business to make money, and must adopt an astute and businesslike approach to every assignment undertaken.
This is especially so when working speculatively on picture stories he or she hopes to sell.

In these situations, the freelance photographer must know his markets thoroughly and approach every story with a view to producing the sort of pictures that editors are prepared to pay for.

Pay cheques to not come to freelances unless they maintain very high standards and are able to come up with a constant supply of usable material. There are still freelances content to make a living by working stand-in shifts for a limited number of newspapers, and other freelances who can come up with a seemingly limitless succession of workable ideas.

Both types of freelance provide a valuable and much-needed service, but the freelance who can produce good picture ideas – and carry them though to a successful result – will always be received more enthusiastically by a picture editor than the freelance who relies solely on commissioned assignments.

In fact, commissions are far more likely to be assigned to the innovative freelance with lots of ideas of his own.

Fresh ideas that can produce new pictures, or enliven old stories, are often more highly valued tha an photographer’s ability behind a camera. The best picture editors never get tired of listening to ideas from freelance photographers. Those ideas are the lifeblood of all magazines and newspaper coverage.

Even if an idea has to be turned down, it would be a very unprofessional picture editor who derided a proffered suggestion from a good freelance photographer. It is far more likely that the picture editor would explain politely that the idea does not quite fit his newspaper’s style, or policy, for the present time, but that it is a good idea nevertheless.

A real pro picture editor might even go so far as to suggest an alternative market. He knows that if a good photographer is taking the trouble to put ideas forward, eventually that photographer will come up with some really first class suggestions – and he would far rather they were offered to his publication first.


  • Approach every job in a businesslike manner
  • Know your markets – study them!!
  • Put forward suitable ideas that target those markets

Next time – How to find picture ideas that sell

You can learn from Philip Dunn’s 40 years experience as a professional photographer on a Photography Holiday or Photography Course