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News: 16 December 2017


Volunteer Profile - Alan Polaine
Alan Polaine is one of the Images of England volunteer photographers out and about in East Anglia. Here, he tells us about his interest in photography and work on the Images of England project.

Castle Acre Castle, Norfolk - IoE number: 221880 © Mr Alan Francis Polaine My interest in photography began as a 12 year-old when I was given a Brownie box camera. This sufficed until my late teens when I wanted something more 'up market' and purchased a Voightlander VITO BL 35mm camera for the princely sum of �40 - a lot of money in 1957!

Over the early years before marriage and a family I took up cycling, touring many areas of Britain and increasing my interest in photography. I enjoyed recording places, people and buildings to have a memory of the places visited. My trusty Voigtlander has never let me down and is still in use today!
As I learnt to understand the problems of photography, my career as a detail/design engineering draftsman helped to discipline my approach to the photographs especially positioning and alignment. Some inherited artistic ability added to my skills of perception and composition. I believe that every photographer should look at the Great Masters to see how they composed their scenes.

With increasing awareness of exposure, shutter speeds and focal lengths I began to build up accurate pictures of the family, landscapes and, of course, buildings. But I was not achieving quality pictures so I joined a camera club. This allowed me to achieve more professional pictures as well as the photographic skills to create success.
Wheelwrights Oven, East Walton, Norfolk - IoE number: 221941 © Mr Alan Francis Polaine
12th Century Parish Church, Gayton, Norfolk - IoE number: 221951 © Mr Alan Francis Polaine Working for Images of England as a volunteer has both its frustrations and humour. On one occasion I had to photograph a temple at the end of a vista from a stately home. At that time of year the nettles were at their peak, shoulder high and full of vigour. I approached the temple, brushing the offending plants to one side and getting badly stung in the process. After progressing so far I gave up and took a shot at arms stretch above the plants. On receiving feedback from the Images of England Image Selection team I found this one was listed as "not enough detail". 'Nettled' by this I went back when the plants had died down and achieved the perfect shot. Oh the joys of picture-taking!

Photography for Images of England is of prime importance if we value our heritage. Taking photographs over fifty-two years I have seen vast changes to our buildings and landscapes. Sadly many changes have not been for the better. I would encourage the reader to volunteer to conserve what is left for future generations.
To view more of Alan's photographs click here.


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
Bailey Gate, astle Acre, Norfolk - IoE number: 221868 © Mr Alan Francis Polaine


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