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LEO RICH ARPS, EFIAP/b, DPAGB, APAGB

I never realised that a boyhood interest in photography would turn into a lifelong hobby which has introduced me to people and taken me to places I could not have imagined. I am self taught, (friends say this is still evident in my work) and became “serious” when I joined my first camera club in the late 1970’s I still remain a dedicated amateur taking what I want to take, not what someone will pay me to photograph. (Translated this means I was never going to be good enough to become a professional and anyhow I enjoyed my own career so much I did not contemplate changing) However I did not realise until later how stressful the job I had was and that I owed a debt of gratitude to photography as my release valve.

Inevitably I became involved in the Admin sideresulting in my being President of the Southern Photographic Federation twice a few years ago, and their representative on the PAGB where I am currently the Vice President and Secretary of the Awards for Photographic Merit – a job I really love and enjoy as I have a great belief in the Awards and the way they can encourage club photographers to raise their own standards.

Photographically I will have a go at any subject which takes my fancy. However, in recent years, encouraged by the opportunity to travel, I have developed an interest in “people” pictures and get as much enjoyment from the interaction with my intended subjects as I do actually taking their portraits. It is for this reason that I love India which I find truly inspiring. I am planning to visit there again next February, along with a small group of photographic friends. We plan our own itinerary and go “off the beaten track” which produces far more satisfying pictures so if you want a challenge….

I also try a few natural history subjects – if only to challenge my daughter who travelled the World photographing rare and exotic animals in remote locations for a living. I spend more time trying to identify what I have taken than actually getting the photographs.

I have been lucky in achieving a few Awards and a couple of Distinctions with my photographs and my current project is to obtain the EFIAP/Silver My only gripe about this marvellous hobby is that some photographers take themselves far too seriously and it is my mission in life to put “Fun back into Photography” - though you might not believe it if you saw some of my images.

(This article originally appeared in the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain eNewsletter and is reproduced with their kind permission)