Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
This awful year has taken another toll: I am mourning the loss of a friend and mentor whom I never actually met face to face. Alan Elliott passed away on Oct. 30, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia, surrounded by family. He was a remarkable 99 years old and still active in the photographic community until the Covid lockdown confined him to the Napier Street Aged Care Home. He had participated in the Analogue Photography Group for the Melbourne Camera Club in 2019 and he missed interacting with family and friends.
Alan was a member of the Order of Australia, a Lifetime Member of the ARPS, a holder of the Fenton Medal from the UK RPS and a retired industrial chemist. But to me, Alan was a knowledgeable mentor and friend as I researched the life, works and family of Walter Bentley Woodbury (1834-1885). Woodbury happens to be my Great Great Grandfather. Alan answered my emails, sent me the transcripts of the “Woodbury Letters and Documents” in the keeping of the RPS which I didn’t know existed, and a copy of “Walter Woodbury: a Victorian Study” which he had written with other members of Victorian Chapter of the ARPS. He answered my questions, directed me to sources, obtained permission for me to quote material, and in January, when he had to leave his home on Dorcas Street and move into the Aged Care Facility, he sent me his research notes on Woodbury.
I dedicated my recently completed book on Woodbury’s life and family, “Not White Enough” which deals as much with the prejudice Woodbury and his family faced as with his inventions to Alan. (Woodbury had married Marie Olmeijer, a Javanese Eurasian woman, who was visibly biracial, and brought her to England when he needed to patent his Woodburytype process.) I wish I could have placed a copy of the book in Alan’s hands, because without him, it wouldn’t exist.
It is rare in life to meet such a kind and generous person as Alan. I will miss him.
Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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