Sutton snapper marks 30 years of iconic pictures

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A FORMER Chad photographer, who has captured iconic images of royal visits, the miners’ strikes and our first ever Baby of the Year competition in 1982, is celebrating his 30th year working in Sutton.

Award-winning Neil Lancashire has been photographer in residence at Quicksnap photographic store in the town’s Idlewells Centre since 2006 - but he opened his first studio at the Welcome Institute on Brook Street in 1982.

Since he began working in the industry, Neil has seen many changes, most notably the shift from film photography to digital.

“It is more creative now,” he says.

“But it’s not cheaper as most people think. When you did a job in the past, you shot it and charged a client for the film and paper.

“Now you put it on to the computer and you spend a lot of time working on the pictures.”

Neil joined the Chad as an apprentice photographer in 1968 where he perfected his craft capturing people and events on film.

He was named National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Press Photographer of the Year in 1972 and the following year, he created a new photographic department at the Notts Free Press.

It was here that he produced the first colour photographs for the newspaper, including the Queen’s Silver Jubilee visit to Mansfield.

By 1979, Neil was running the magazine photography studio at the T. Bailey Forman group of newspapers, where he produced pictures for the Nottingham Evening Post’s lifestyle and business magazines.

In 1982, Neil set up his first studio on Brook Street in Sutton and he has occupied various premises in the town, including a shop on King Street and a home studio on Kirkby Road.

He was the first photographer in the area to become fully digital 12 years ago and he is now well-known in the community for creating portraits of newborn babies, weddings, families and pets.

He says: “It’s about what the client wants and working with them rather than foisting something on them.”

Over the years, Neil has photographed a host of well-known names, including Princess Diana, Jason Manford, Ainsley Harriott and Margaret Thatcher. He also boasts an impressive portfolio of commercial clients including Asda, Marks & Spencer, Pretty Polly and Greene King Brewery.

Throughout his career, Neil has always been keen to pass on his skills to budding photographers and has taught students at several places including West Notts College and Sutton Centre Community College.

For more details on Neil’s work or to book a portrait session, click here or call 07831 691326.