Street photos show how Bolton has changed over last 50 years

The Bolton News: Photo by Geoff Davies Photo by Geoff Davies

STREET photographer Geoff Davies has captured the changing face of Bolton for nearly 50 years and now his work is being exhibited at the town’s neo:gallery.

Mr Davies, aged 77, took his first photo at the age of 13, using his family box camera, and was instantly hooked.

He bought his first 35mm camera while he was doing National Service when he was 21, and in 1960 he joined his first camera club in Horwich.

Since then, Mr Davies, from Lostock, has taken more than 40,000 social photos around Bolton, Manchester, Merseyside and London.

However, over the past seven years, Parkinson’s disease has slowly robbed him of his passion.

Mr Davies said: “I have always found people more interesting to capture than anything else. It’s about catching moments.

“I would describe my style as hit-and-run photography — I prefer that the subject doesn’t know that they’re being captured.

“I think Bolton is as good a place as anywhere in the world to take pictures — in fact, it’s probably better than most.

“Photography has been my life, but after getting Parkinson’s I just couldn’t do it anymore. I can’t take photos very much now, which is rather sad because it’s been my life and obsession.”

The grandfather-of-three recalled how he started out in photography. He said: “I always liked drawing and painting, but soon realised that I was never going to be as good as I hoped to be, so photography seemed to be the obvious answer.

“I started work, an engineering apprenticeship, at the Lostock De Havilland, which is now British Aerospace, and went to art school one night a week.

“I would use a family box camera and had the film developed at the local chemist. That went on until I finished my apprenticeship at aged 21, when I was called up for National Service.

“When I was posted in Cyprus there were two lads in my village who were both into photography, and when one of them bought a new camera and sold his old one, I bought it off him. It was my first 35mm camera.”

Mr Davies, who lives with wife Betty, aged 66, has accumulated more than 40,000 negatives.

His Moments exhibition will at the neo:gallery in the Market Place from Thursday, January 16, until Sunday, February 9. His book, Geoff Davies Photographs, can be ordered online from Blurb.co.uk.

Comments (3)

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6:17pm Fri 3 Jan 14

boltonnut says...

Great photos,the first three look like a cross between L.S. Lowry and Brian Barlow's style of paintings.Thanks for the memories Geoff.
Great photos,the first three look like a cross between L.S. Lowry and Brian Barlow's style of paintings.Thanks for the memories Geoff. boltonnut
  • Score: 6

9:50am Sat 4 Jan 14

oftbewildered2 says...

I shall make a point of going to see this collection - it is a good thing there are social photographers around or else all would be lost in the mists of time.
I shall make a point of going to see this collection - it is a good thing there are social photographers around or else all would be lost in the mists of time. oftbewildered2
  • Score: 3

4:54pm Sat 4 Jan 14

MalcM59 says...

Love these old photographs. Unfortunately nowadays if you walk round carrying a camera you run the risk of getting mugged of threatened for infringing somebody's human rights if you point it anywhere near them
Love these old photographs. Unfortunately nowadays if you walk round carrying a camera you run the risk of getting mugged of threatened for infringing somebody's human rights if you point it anywhere near them MalcM59
  • Score: 0

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