Although railways are predominantly featured in my Photostream, I do point my camera lenses at varied subjects, but with the time involved in both uploading contemporary and historical railway images other subjects rarely get a look in I’m afraid!
Brought up at Walton-on-Thames on the LSWR main line, Southern Region steam at speed on this section, particularly Bulleid’s fine Pacifics, drew me at a very early age to spending time at the station just watching in awe and breathing in the sulphurous smell of passing locomotives. The old electric units were also utterly fascinating with their deeply cushioned seats, wooden panelling and brass fittings. This was a totally different world to that which went on outside and I wanted to explore this adventure more! From the tender age of ten I started to travel around, London being an obvious rich hunting ground for my passion, and also areas within travelling distance of Cumbria, where I would spend my school summer holidays, courtesy of my paternal Grandmother, and what tremendous opportunities I had there!
The early days of my passion were dominated by searching down ‘cops’, the locos that I needed to see, although I started an attempt at photography with a Kodak ‘Box Brownie’ using Ilford 120 roll film from 1965 at the age of 12. The utterly disappointing results obtained, coupled with the cost of the processing and printing, soon convinced me that I needed to channel my limited financial resources into rail fares to get around and see more, but I used to study railway books (from the library) and magazines (at the station book stall) whenever I could, admiring the photographs published within and wondering how on earth they were achieved.
The end of steam, firstly on the Southern Region in 1967 and then on BR in the north west 1968, coincided with my GCE studies and subsequently starting full-time work in the Civil Service and I had little time nor money for pursuing a photographic hobby seriously in these final years of BR mainline steam, although by this time I had been given a Kodak ‘Instamatic’ as a Christmas present and it did turn out the occasional good transparency on my ‘shed-bashing’ trips, although I could only afford a handful of films per year. From 1969 disposable income started to improve as a result of promotion at work, so I purchased a Halina Paullette 35mm through my mother’s mail order catalogue and set about recording the railway scene on the then expensive Kodak and Agfa transparency film, but with limited success due to the poor camera lens. By this time my interest in industrial railways had blossomed. There was still working steam and I now had a motorcycle to get about on! Most of my early work covering industrial steam railways from this period is now uploaded on Flickr, although I have much industrial diesel and BR ‘blue era’ transparencies still to deal with.
My first book purchase, a treasured item which I obtained pre-owned from the Roundhouse bookshop in Harrow-on-the-Hill in 1969, was appropriately Colin Gifford’s ‘Decline of Steam’, and I guess that his work had a great influence on my approach to railway photography from that time on.
Joining the Army Intelligence Corps in 1971 at the age of 18, my first posting was to Germany and you can guess how I felt about that with steam traction on DB still very much in evidence, although travel into ‘Iron Curtain’ countries was forbidden! I very soon purchased my first decent 35mm camera, a Pentax Spotmatic with an f1.4 Takuma lens. As further funds permitted I purchased a Takuma 80-200mm zoom lens. I remained loyal to Pentax until 1996, when I purchased my first medium format camera, a Mamiya 645 and eventually ended up using 80mm, 150mm and 210mm lenses, with the Pentax 35mm called upon additionally as required. Apart from my last visit to China in January 2010, most of my work here, as indeed in other overseas locations visited from 1997, has been covered with the medium format equipment. By my late 2005 visit to China I had dipped my toe into the water with digital and was using a Sony ‘Cybershot’ compact alongside two of the three Mamiya’s that I rotated in use. My digital experience has progressed from a compact to a Sony ‘Prosuma’ DSC-R1, then a Canon 40D, which I was never entirely happy with but keep as back-up, and then back to Sony early in 2012 when they introduced their 24 Megapixel SLT-A77, which is where I am today and very happy to be using I might add.
I am now fully (early) retired, having spent the period from 1993 to 2005, (following over two decades of military intelligence service) in the field of transport and logistics, initially with Exel Logistics in operational and solutions design management, and latterly with Direct Rail Services as their Business Development and Operations Manager.
My photography has featured occasionally in railway magazines, but more recently in the jointly-produced book with John Tickner (Flickr – Keighley Bee) and Adrian Freeman (Flickr- Ade) ‘China the World’s Last Steam Railway'. Some of my railway landscape images also feature in ‘Britain’s Scenic Railways’ by Julian Holland (September 2012) and more are currently in the pipeline in future publications.
In terms of images for publication or use elsewhere on the internet, I am always very happy to receive enquiries and will treat each contact with utmost consideration, but I will always want to know what they will be used for and will expect to be credited and have my copyright recorded. Outside of the Flickr community, I respectfully request that my images are not reproduced, transmitted, manipulated or used in any way without expressed permission. Requests are always welcomed, but some images may already be licensed to other parties for commercial use.
I do not wish to spoil images with a copyright statement across each one on Flickr and in turn expect my copyright to be respected, but really must emphasise the point that I do take a very dim view of any of my images being used without prior permission, which is nothing other than theft, and be warned that I have already and will continue to rigorously pursue through lkegal channels any offender that comes to my notice. Some of my older images are now available for purchase or use in magazines/books through Railphotoprints railphotoprints.zenfolio.com/ and these will be added to in time, another reason why I take a serious view on copyright infringement issues. I must also point out that I do not take kindly to those that persistently 'fave' images, have nothing to offer in return in the way of images and make no comment whatsoever. I will block persistent offenders, as simple as that.
Thank you for taking the trouble to visit my Photostream and I do hope that you will find the images of interest. Lastly, but by no means least, I am indebted to my dear wife Valerie who has always given me 100% support in my photography from the early 1970s, without which my Photostream would not be as it is today.
If you wish to make contact by personal e-mail could I respectfully request using my AOL main e-mail account (firstname.lastname@example.org), otherwise your message might just be missed! Thank you.
Gordon Edgar - Cumbria
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John Oram says:
"Gordon is a natural as a railway photographer and his wonderful pictures add considerable value to the rich photographic history of railways. Flickr would be poorer without them."
August 3rd, 2012
"You'll have to go a long way on Flickr to find a better selection of railway photographs than these from Gordon.
The steam photography is stunning and only modesty can account for him not being famed up there with the greats in this field.
Some marvellous historic diesel pictures too, as well as contemporary traction in excellent imaginative settings.
. A good way to spend a few hours admiring the work of one of the nicest people on Flickr."
October 13th, 2011
- Gordon Edgar
- May 2011
- Ripon, North Yorkshire, England
- I am:
- Male and Taken