Article by Tony Myers FRPS
I first met Martin when we were both fire-fighters in Liverpool Fire brigade over 30 years ago. While having a chat between shifts, we learned that we both had a strong interest in photography. Shortly afterwards I mentioned to Martin that I was a member of the South Liverpool Photographic Society and about all the many activities, competitions, group field trips and the many lecturers that visited the club that went towards giving the club the very high standard of photography in the many competitions that were held, shortly afterwards Martin signed up and got the competition bug. The club then were meeting at the Electric Supply club in Wavetree.
Martin’s first camera as a teenager was called a Ilford Sportsman but when he started work as a Firefighter he soon purchased a very high quality camera and lenses made by Contax , which had a Leica look about it . Martin decided to go down the slides route , which were then printed as very high quality and costly Cibachrome prints . Martin was a very competitive member and often submitted 26 prints in the Annual competition and regularly ended up often amongst the prize winners .
He entered North West competitions and remembers winning the North Cheshire print challenge and also gaining a Associate Distinction with the Royal Photographic Society helped by myself and the great Reg Coleman FRPS .
Martin has served in most positions on the committee along with a number of other members who have worked very hard to keep the high standards that we have today including President on a number of occasions . During the past few years the committee have brought some of the top photo journalists namely Eamon McCabe top sports photographer , Dennis Thorpe 40 years a photo journalist with the Guardian and local sports journalist Steve Hale.
Martin enjoys the social side of the club and mentioned the year the members went to London for a weekend to see the History of Photography at the Royal Academy of Art , it had some of the world’s best photographs from 100 years plus. During the Saturday evening the group ended up at a Turkish restaurant which we were pleasantly entertained by the regular belly dancers. The next morning at breakfast a few of our members seemed a bit worse for wear , however the exhibition was excellent , a real one off. There was also the great club trip to Venice which Martin arranged everyone had a great time. One memory from this trip he will not forget was seeing Eric Garnett and Ian Kemp sitting on chairs in the middle of a very misty St Marks Square at 2am in the morning. The only regret that he did not have his camera to record the event which was the end of a great evening where some alcohol had been taken.
Martin spoke of the loss of some of our past members no longer with us , Reg Coleman and especially Eric Garnett a really outstanding photographer who was always willing to help others.
Martin has for many years been living with the Medical condition M E , which has often impacted on his general well being and his subsequent committee duties and the amount of travelling he was capable of carrying out . Following help from a German Doctor at the Walton Centre at Aintree Hospital Martin’s condition is now better managed and allowing him to catch up on travel and wanderlust.
Since standing down as President he has had a lot more time to visit a number of his favourite countries on photographic expeditions including Italy, Switzerland , America’s Yosemite National park, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, many members will have received his images that he sent out almost on a daily basis from his travels .
He is now very busy planning trips with professional travel guide photographer Paul Gallagher on a 1 to 1 situation , planning trips next year to New York, Portland, San Francisco and meeting up with Paul for another Yosemite workshop .
Talking about his proudest moments ……. “I was awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the Queens New Years Honours list in 2002, this is one of the levels of The most excellent Order of the British Empire. This was awarded in recognition of my work both in the Fire Service and specifically for my role as a Trustee and Director of The Firefighters Charity. This was bestowed upon me by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace later that year.”
Finally I would say Martin has continually worked to improve and to keep up the high level of photography at the South Liverpool Photographic Society a club that is recognised across the North West.