Our guest this evening (8th April) was Pete Robinson. Pete is a North East based professional photographer who after learning and honing his photographic skills in the RAF has on leaving the armed forces become a successful award winning wedding and commercial photographer.
His presentation to the members first took us back to March 2000 when Pete enlisted into the RAF with the intention to become an RAF photographer. Like all new recruits Pete had to ‘suffer’ 7 weeks of basic military training before moving on to the Defence School of Photography based at RAF Cosford.
Six months of intensive training on his chosen profession followed covering all aspects of photography including dark room work. During this time Pete was able to photograph the Edinburgh Tattoo and a visit to the base by Lord Lichfield with a group of professional photographers certainly put the pressure on Pete to get the ‘shot right’.
Pete told how three days after 9/11, now a qualified RAF photographer, he was sent to the Gulf to photograph the military build up there. The temperature and dust proving a challenge for both Pete and his equipment. A fantastic shot of a flaming Rapier ground to air Missile leaving its mobile launcher at mach 3 made the front page of the Daily Express and is an image Pete is rightly proud of.
On leaving the RAF Pete decided to continue his profession in ‘civvy street’. In 2012 Pete embarked on a 6 month project called ‘Ghosts of Tyneside Past’, combining old pictures of Tyneside morphed with modern images taken at the same locations. These images of iconic buildings and locations around Tyneside, such as the quayside, the Tyne Bridge, Paramount Cinema and Central Station culminated in a successful exhibition at the Castle Keep lasting some 3 months.
The majority of work Pete now undertakes is wedding photography and he showed some of his award winning images. Pete likes to think a little ‘outside the box’ when it comes to wedding photoshoots persuading in some cases both bride and groom to jump, in full wedding attire, into freezing pools at the bottom of waterfalls, wade in streams or jump into the cold waters of the North Sea from a pier at 5am.
Getting a bit of a reputation Pete now gets requests from clients wishing for their wedding images to be a little more ‘challenging’, including a couple from London who who after a 10am wedding invited all their guests to a photoshoot on the top of The Old Man of Coniston. Pete was happy to oblige returning absolutely shattered at 5.30pm to photograph the reception.
Other locations used to great effect were Sycamore Gap, Blast Beach and Jesmond Dene, again with bride & groom paddling in the stream with a background of smoke grenades.
A thoroughly interesting and entertaining evening which was much appreciated by the members and for which we offer our thanks to Pete Robinson.
Bob Finlay (President)