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ABOUT

Derry's career as a world-renowned landscape photographer wasn't planned, but certainly seems to have been fated.

His love of photography evolved at Leicester College of Art in the mid 60's and was honed working for the TV Times in Manchester, shooting stills of their TV programs and stars. In the early 70's he transferred to their London office, before returning North a few years later to work for Yorkshire TV.

In 1974 he went freelance, shooting adverts and commercial stills from a studio in Leeds before making his foray into landscape photography.

Publisher Michael Joseph was on the hunt for a Northern-based photographer to illustrate James Herriot's Yorkshire, and thanks to his surname Derry was near the top of the contacts list that they were working through alphabetically.

After years of commercial shoots in studios, his portfolio didn't have much in the way of landscape shots, so Derry made a dash to the Yorkshire Moors to fill the gap.

Even then his heart sank when, with a mostly trendy studio portfolio in hand, Derry sat down for lunch with Alf Wight whose first words to him were, "I can't stand arty pictures."

Thankfully his Moors shots were enough to land him the job and the rest, as they say, is history.


James Herriot's Yorkshire (1980) went on to be a global success, and Derry soon found himself in demand thanks to his eye for capturing evocative natural scenes and his unwavering dedication to his craft.
 

Armed with his trusty tripod, his Olympus OM4ti camera and rolls of Fuji Velvia slide film, he covered extensive ground across the UK to illustrate a series of seven collaborations with Alf Wainwright, starting with Fellwalking with Wainwright (1987).

Long before the days of digital, Derry stubbornly refused to enhance his images with artificial filters, opting to rely on his skill and infinite patience to find the right spot, at the right time, for the perfect natural lighting.

His efforts were rewarded, and Derry became known as one of Britain's best-known and respected landscape photographers.

In the 80's he took to his keyboard and began writing the text for his own illustrated heritage books, starting with English Country Churches (1985) and spanning topics from the river Thames to the Camino de Santiago.

 

He is now the author and illustrator of 13 self-penned and illustrated titles, including his trilogy of pilgrimage books - the final of which is to be published in October 2020 - and his name is on the cover of over 30 books in total.

Whilst he now wields a digital camera and his projects have taken him further afield, Derry's extensive slide archives are one man's testament to the rich heritage and wild beauty of Britain.

 

As more of the UK's green spaces are claimed by housing and shopping centres, they will long stand as a reminder of nature's untouched magnificence, and a call to all of us to protect that which - once covered in concrete - can never be enjoyed again.

© 2020 Derry Brabbs, all rights reserved    /   Website by Cordelia F Brabbs   /    Images of Derry  © Olivia Brabbs

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