Trevor Griffiths

 

 

 

Biography

 

My friends tell me I have led an interesting life and that the stories I tell to audiences are inspirational. I am humbled by the compliments but feel somewhat distant from the descriptions, as this life I have led is the only one I know. There was little choice involved in the development of my stories, they just happened around me and to me and so to be asked to recount them to interested audiences never ceases to surprise me.

In my autobiography “The Long Road Home” I reflect on my life over the past sixty-years and  why I lack the skills necessary to write and often wonder how someone like me has been able to produce a book, stay employed and sustain relationships. None of these have come easy and I do rant at the computer, the wall and myself with frequency and more so at my inability to string a coherent sentence together at times.

On paper, my CV looks fairly impressive for a Bradford boy who ran away from home and school at 14. A self-taught photographer, my work over the past thirty years has been celebrated in publications and exhibitions around the world and I still work as a freelance photographer producing imagery for a diverse range of subjects. Back in the 80’s I was instrumental in reproducing a new collection of imagery for the world’s oldest postcard company Bamforth and Co in Holmfirth in the UK, which served as an introduction to professional practice. This work led on to commissions for magazines, covering the English aristocracy, the world’s greatest photographers and hundreds of stories that depicted the diverse lifestyle of UK cultures. In 1998 I travelled to Thailand to cover the story of paedophiles that were actively operating in Bangkok and whilst covering the story met and documented the work of Krau Prateep ‘The Rescuers’ shot in the illegal slum area in the docklands of the city.

Despite failing to secure anything much in the way of a traditional education, I started teaching in 1999 initially as a visiting lecturer and was encouraged to head the development of the recently established photography area.

Years of working trades taught me the entrepreneurial skills, which were called upon in 2009 whilst visiting South Korea. I identified opportunities for collaboration at key leading South Korean Universities, Travelling frequently and delivering lectures in new digital capture technology prepared me for the future challenges in preparing students to fully understand the opportunities of working in a global arena.

In 2008 I took my first trip to India as part of a team exploring opportunities to collaborate with Indian Institutions through the United Kingdom India educational research initiative (UKIERI). Meeting with Whistling Woods International in Mumbai led on to producing an award winning Animation Titled Music of Life, which was the result of a collaboration of Indian and Bradford students, to developing and opening the Bradford –WWI Film School.

This was an ambitious initiative and in its first year I witnessed the most extraordinary response from both the Industry and academic Institutions

After my retirement from education I am continuing to follow my passion as a photographer  and whilst I am the first to admit that my role as Director of the Film School and as an educator was an incredibly important chapter in my professional life, I still find most satisfaction in inspiring people young and old.

In my latest  work “Disappearing Places” I have visited many of the World War II  sites in the UK, which were often hastily constructed to service an essential need at the time, exploring and documenting the remains of these UK installations, from top secret operations such as the Chemical Weapons Factory and storage area in the Alyn Valley close to Rhydymwyn in Flintshire, to the lesser-known or forgotten airfields, whose runways have long since been torn up and used as aggregates for building and repairing the ever expanding motorway networks that criss-cross this green and pleasant land.

A coast line that was once littered with concrete bunkers and pillboxes are now rapidly being taken by coastal erosion and what remains have become canvases for local graffiti artists, leaving their own signature on these iconic concrete structures. Small communities from an ageing population continue to remember and honour the past as they welcome visitors to quiet villages that once bustled with activity as they became the central hub for operations to defend the Artic Convoys that had continued to suffer the most devastating loss of life.

The work aims to help better appreciate and understand the extent of the sacrifices that were made by a country and its people; exploring  the diversity of roles that both men and women played in ensuring the successful outcome of this war.

Some of the places and sites featured in this body of work may be familiar, others unknown, kept secret for many years only recently to be discovered or made accessible, with many more now lost, recycled or completely disappeared and replaced by alternative uses.

Disappearing Places has been produced in support of the Royal British Legions LIVE ON campaign and all profits from the sale of this work will be donated to them.

 

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