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News: 11 December 2017


Volunteer Profile � Heather A Coulson ARPS, ABIPP
Heather Coulson has been an Images of England volunteer since 2000, photographing the listed buildings of West Sussex. Here she talks about her photographic experience and what being a volunteer on the project means to her.

18th � 19th Century Village Well-head and Pump, East Marden, West Sussex - IoE number: 300992 © Mrs Heather A Coulson ARPS, ABIPP I have been an industrial photographer for 30 years, gaining most of my experience in the Far East and returning to UK in 1988. Before leaving Hong Kong, where I was living with my family, I gained my Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society and the British Institute of Professional Photography.

'Industrial' covers a wide field � working with contractors, consulting engineers and architects for corporate brochures, annual reports etc. My first major contract in Hong Kong was photographing the Cross Harbour Tunnel just prior to the opening for the UK press releases. A bit daunting, but it went well and I got good feedback. From then on I was hooked!
At that time, in Hong Kong, money was being poured into major projects including the Mass Transit Railway which was probably my most exciting single project. I covered every underground section, usually between 1 and 3 a.m., together with station concourses.

In 1991 I went to Kuwait, within weeks of the end of the Gulf War, to record disruption to major civil engineering works. I was commissioned by National Power to photograph the extensive damage to the Doha Power Station, the major supplier of electricity for Kuwait. I can never forget the sight, smell and roaring of the burning oil fires, or my visits to Mutlah Ridge and the Iraqi border.
Church of St Peter The Great, Chichester, West Sussex - IoE number: 300276 © Mrs Heather A Coulson ARPS,ABIPP
Village Stocks and Whipping-post, Harting, West Sussex - IoE number: 301866 © Mrs Heather A Coulson ARPS, ABIPP
During my years in Hong Kong I became very aware of how much of the colony's history was being destroyed. Beautiful old buildings being bulldozed, sites cleared and a gradual transformation to a high rise city, and with this the loss of so much of the character of the island and its people. When I came back to the UK in 1988 I was naturally interested in how things were here. I bought "Buildings at Risk" (by English Heritage, of course) "Mind Over Matter" a study of threatened Mental Asylums, and "Deserted Bastions" in the hope that at some time I might find many of these threatened establishments and photograph them for myself.

Then I read of the Images of England project and it seemed like a great opportunity to ensure that England's heritage was recorded for future generations. I was taken on as a volunteer photographer in June 2000 much to my delight.

It has been a wonderful project to be involved in and I have learned much about listed buildings. Most of the people I have approached have been very interested in the project and co-operative � lots of cups of coffee, chat and quite a bit of family history as well. It's great and I enjoy it.

If you are a volunteer photographer and would like to share some of your experiences while working on the Images of England project please send them to Alexandra Saxon: Alexandra.saxon@english-heritage.org.uk


To view more of Heather's photographs click here.


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