WHEN Brian White was five he saw the film “Zulu” at the old ABC Cinema in Bolton and it changed his life.

“I knew that I wanted to go there,” recalled Brian, now 59. “I loved everything about it – the land, the people. I knew I had to visit Africa.”

So, when Brian was in his early 20s, he travelled extensively in Africa, kick-starting a life-long love of the country, of travel and of photography.

Today, his images are not only well-known in Bolton but everywhere that people appreciates riveting pictures.

Brian was born in Bolton; he went to Brandwood Street Primary School and the old Deane Base School. He left at 16 to take up an engineering apprenticeship but his heart had long ago been set a course in life: he wanted to be an explorer.

After “Zulu” had opened his young eyes to the wonders of the world out there, books told him about the men who opened up new continents. People like David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley captured Brian’s imagination. “Thoe Victorian explorers were truly amazing people,” he enthused. “They went with little equipment and no real knowledge of the areas and there were many deaths.”

He developed an interest in photography after travelling around Spain in a converted Seddon transit van at 19. Back home, he took evening classes for his City & Guilds in the subject.

At 21, he resumed his travels. This time, Brian and some friends travelled in a modified double-decker bus further afield but the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war changed their plans. Brian carried on his world travels alone, his small Pentax K100 camera never far from his side.

This trip was the first of many. During his travels he has traced the source of the Mekong River through South-east Asia and the source of the Nile through Egypt. Everywhere he has gone, Brian has photographed people, places and wildlife.

He has taken photos of gorillas in Rwanda. In Nepal and India, he photographed lions – and narrowly missed being “snapped” himself by a giant crocodile.

Brian has followed Livingstone’s footsteps in Africa, from Cape Town to the Kalahari Desert and to the sand dunes of Namibia. His gentle lens has captured the images of the nomadic Himba tribe and Masai warriors.

He has crossed continents by van, bus, train, river steamer, by camel and donkey. On the final day of an 8,000 mile journey across Africa, he fell off the roof of his Land Rover and shattered a bone in his arm – returning home with a metal plate embedded there.

Wherever he has gone, Brian’s trademark eye for a picture and his patience have brought him fabulous pictures to adorn exhibitions or take prizes in Bolton Camera Club competitions.

“There are really only three things important in photography,” he explained. “Subject, composition and light. You get those right and you’ll be fine.”

Brian, of course, also has that special magic that real photographers have which allow them to capture a single moment that encapsulates an animal, a person or a view. It is revealed in the steely gaze of a magnificent leopard, in the predatory blinkered look of a crocodile or of a photo of an unblinking gorilla.

Some of Brian’s many images are currently on view in an exhibition in Waterstone’s bookshop in Bolton town centre until October 20. Brian also gives talks to organisations, tracing not only his travels and photos but also the military history of far-flung battlefields. “I’d actually like to do more lecturing now as I really enjoy it,” he stated.

These days, Brian has also curtailed his travels to take in places closer to home. “I’ve just been up to the Orkneys to photograph the hen harriers, for example,” he added.

But wherever Brian and his camera go next, one thing is certain: his memories will always be picture-perfect.