Book Signing at the Centre
Born in Llanelli, and brought up in London, John Downing worked most of his life for the Daily Express as a professional photographer, ending up as chief photographer. As well being sent to many of the World’s troubled areas to provide photographic records of the situation, He also photographed royalty, politicians and celebrities at home and abroad. He was honoured with an MBE for ‘Services to Journalism’ in 1992, awarded the United Nations Gold Medal in 1990, was the International Photographer of the Year in 1994 and was British Press Photographer of the Year an unprecedented seven times during his career – after that he was a member of the panel of judges! He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK Picture Editors Guild in 2001 and received an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society in 2011. A glorious collection of awards for doing what he enjoyed doing.
On Thursday 31st October, at the London Welsh Centre, a new book was launched, created by Peter Dench and published by Bluecoat Press, called “Legacy”. The hardback book celebrates the photojournalism of John Downing and has over 150 photographs, with each captioned by John.
Most of the photographs on the London Welsh Male Voice Choir’s website, and indeed most of the Choir’s official photographs for the last twenty years or so, were taken by John. The Choir was proud to be asked to sing at the book launch, which featured Can You Tell Me? being sung with a background film showing photographs from John’s Legacy. The Choir was conducted by Edward-Rhys Harry, who wrote Can You Hear Me, and accompanied by Anita D’Attellis, John’s wife.
The successful evening was attended by John’s family and friends – so successful that he ran out of books to sign.
All 3 Photos by Ian Hunter