On Monday 20th February 2017, members and visitors were entertained by a talk given by Bob Cramp, who was formerly an advertising photographer. Bob has recently joined our camera club.
He learnt his trade at photography college making his way in the commercial world of photography. In those days, students were taught intensively for 40 hours a week. Bob used large format cameras to achieve the great number of images that were published. We were shown some of his original 4 x 5 and 10 x 8 transparencies. Most of the large prints which he had brought were over 40 years old and were taken between 1964 and 1982.
Many of us remembered the iconic adverts which he had produced during the evening and included products such as Hovis bread, Guinness, Hamlet cigars. Ford cars and Smirnoff vodka, to name a few. In those days of film photography there could often be no second chance to obtain these images. Days and even weeks of planning preceded a shoot and the 'props' could sometimes be very unpredictable. He recalled the placid bull called 'William' which found the cow in the next field far more interesting! Eventually, the amorous bull appeared in the iconic 'Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet'!
His photograph of the unemployment queue for the "Labour isn't working" poster, which could be said to be responsible for putting Margaret Thatcher into No. Ten in 1979! He had asked for 500 people to form a 'dole queue, but was only provided with 75 individuals. The end result was achieved with five exposures and many changes of clothes, It has since been voted the best poster of the 20th century.
Health and safety considerations were not so important all those decades ago. Bob described a scary story about a 'shoot' he had planned at the Needles Lighthouse. He and his crew had to brave a battle with drunken yacht sailors and sea swells. Most of us would have given up, but he returned to the lighthouse with his models, a lampshade, a step ladder, props and various bits of garden furniture. The advert for Smirnoff vodka was a great success.