Interview with Reg Coleman

Terminus - Reg Coleman

Terminus – Reg Coleman

Reg ColemanDate: Tuesday 28th Feburary 2006
Location: Reg Coleman’s house, Neston, Wirral
Written by Tony Myers FRPS

When talking to other SLPS members at the club, it had often been suggested that we include Reg Coleman FRPS in one of our Chat Lines interviews. As a life member of the South Liverpool Photographic Society, Reg is a highly respected photographer and an excellent candidate to join our list of members in the Chat Line Interviews. It brought back to me memories of some of the truly legendary members that we have had in the SLPS over the past 50 years, and Reg is certainly high on that list.

When I arrived slightly late for lunch with Reg and his wife, Lillian, he was out on the front drive of his home eagerly awaiting my arrival and he greeted with a very hearty welcome. Although now 85 years old, he is still just as passionate about his photography as ever and we soon got into photography mode.

He was very keen to know how the club was progressing and how many of the old members were still regularly attending.

Scrubbing the Steps - Reg Coleman

Scrubbing the steps – Reg Coleman

Since I contacted him the week before, he had been sorting through his hundreds, probably thousands, of prints to find his own personal favourites. We set about looking through as much of his work as possible, an oeuvre spanning over 55 years, and he was happy for me to photograph a selection and put them onto a CD so that SLPS members could all get the pleasure of seeing his work at a later date.

Keep to Path - Reg Coleman

Keep to the path – Reg Coleman

Apart from taking pictures he has been a very active judge both at regional and national level and was always willing to critique any members’ work. He particularly enjoyed judging and had a great eye for detail, especially the subtle use of red in an image. He has used very many types of cameras over the years including the Leica, Linhhof, and Hasselblad, but one of his real favourites has been the Agfa Super Isalette, which was a superb camera for Contra Jour imaging.

Returning - Reg Coleman

Returning  – Reg Coleman

Winter Gale - Reg Coleman

Winter Gale – Reg Coleman

Reg has also had many photographic successes over the years at both national and international level, including a competition organised by Hasselblad. The prize included a visit to Sweden and the factory where the cameras are built.

Reg gained his Fellowship with the Royal Photographic Society in 1955, and participated in many RPS workshops where he was able to apply his skills for putting panels of prints together. He was always willing to assist any members with panelling their images.

He now has a digital darkroom and has moved over to digital printing, however, I think he was probably much happier working with wet printing and the analogue system he had perfected for many years to produce his excellent quality prints.

Reg was never happier than when he was critiquing and much preferred to judge work on the hoof. He was often called to judge at international level where he would gain great insight and experience through looking at the many images taken at the international competitions and he was able to pass on that experience at club level.

Peeping Tom - Reg Coleman

Peeping tom – Reg Coleman

When I asked him who his favourite photographers were he said that there was never really one photographer–he just enjoyed looking at any good quality images. He did mention, however, that he had met Patrick Lichfield and the great Ansel Adams, and it is easy to see in some of Reg’s photographs that he has obviously been influenced by Adams’ landscape work.

Sadly, our meeting came to an end after a very interesting three hours. I felt so privileged to be given the opportunity to look briefly inside the world of this extraordinary photographer, judge and lecturer.

Vanity - Reg Coleman

Vanity – Reg Coleman