Dowling, Brian. (1 of 4). Oral History of British Photography.

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  • Recording date

    2015-01-06, 2015-01-07, 2015-01-14

  • Recording locations

    The British Library

  • Interviewees

    Dowling, Brian, 1948- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Cotton, Charlotte (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Interview starts on January 6th, 2015 at BD Images [BDI] at 171 Old Street. Brian Dowling was born 54 Radnor Street, in 1948, 12 June. In a row of houses where his aunts, uncles and cousins also lived. BD talks about living with his parents and grandparents at 54 Radnor Street and how his parents met during the Second World War. BD talks about his father’s work after the war in the warehouse of Nicholson’s gin factory in East London, followed by a thirty five-year career as a maintenance man at the Daily Mail. [9:55] BD talks about his father’s interest in taking photographs and processing film and BD’s early interest in printing photographs. BD’s father helped to get him a starter job as a messenger at the Press Association on Fleet Street. [12:04] BD became a ‘glazing boy’, responsible for drying photographic prints to a shiny finish on large copper drums. [13.37] BD talks about his memories of living on Radnor Street as a child and the landscape of the post-War East End. [16:40] BD talks about his Italian grandmother and her family. [19:48] BD recalls that his parents moved to Mandeville House near Chapel Street when he was two and then 5 Cotswold Court on Gee Street and then to a new flat back on Radnor Street when BD was sixteen. BD attended Moorefield School [now St Luke’s School] and talks about school life including the carpentry and electrical lessons and his school friend Chris Barrel. BD talks about his first car [Ford Prefect] and Chris Barrel’s Corvette Stingray. [26:45] BD talks about leaving school at fifteen and his first phase of working life and earning money. [32:45] BD talks about being a teenager and hanging out at Whitecross Street, meeting his wife and cycling into the West End to collect matchboxes and books. [41:45] BD talks about playing in the bomb damage of East London as a boy and the building of the BP building. [47:45] BD talks about working at Fleet Street and a colleague loaning him a Rolleiflex camera and cable release and taking night photographs of the East End cityscape and the construction of the BP building. BD remembers buying his first cameras [Yashika 35, and Yashika Mat 2 ¼] [50:50] BD talks about the working process at the Press Association, including working on the 1966 World Cup and the 1968 Grosvenor Square demonstrations.

  • Description

    Life story interview with photographer Brian Dowling (1948-)

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