TRAVELS ON A BSA BANTAM
Exploring France, Spain & Portugal in the 1950's with a Purma camera
de Photography & text by George E. Todd DGPh
Folks used to laugh when they heard that so-and-so had just retired and was busy writing his memoirs. The so-called ‘Vanity Press’ made personal stories, like war-time experiences by famous Generals and other public figures, into a lucrative business, though this has probably faded since the advent of self-published books such as Blurb in the world of electronic media.
These recollections are not a recent exercise of 'memory-jogging' following my retirement in 1990, but a revamping of magazine articles published in the popular motorcycling press in the year of the journeys described in 1957 and 1959.
The journey in 1953 was reconstructed with the help of these old photographs and Pat’s better memory of things that had escaped me in the passage of time…
Born in 1925 in Grimsby, England I soon showed artistic aptitude and won a scholarship to study graphic design – studies disrupted by the war, and service in Royal Air Force. After the war I worked on missiles and the Skylark research rocket. In 1972 I was offered a job in the German Aerospace Research Organization, the NASA of Germany. The change of life-style in Bavaria triggered me to take photography seriously, making close-ups of Alpine flowers for my wife. This developed into a fascination for detail and still life, as well as landscapes, making images featured in my exhibitions and several books. We made many journeys around the Greek islands, France, Italy, Spain & Portugal, shooting literally acres of film. I have often said that if a motif presents itself suddenly ‘out of the blue’, I see it intuitively as a graphic image or some abstract design – a reaction difficult to describe and almost impossible to teach others. I photograph anything that stands or moves, or moves me.
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