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Shutter to come down on photo firm

PUBLISHED: 18:39 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 July 2010

CLOSING DOWN: Robert Wedon, left, and Stephen Bellward of Brian Ollington Photographers

CLOSING DOWN: Robert Wedon, left, and Stephen Bellward of Brian Ollington Photographers

Miles Jermy

AFTER capturing countless blushing brides and bouncing babies on camera the shutter is set to click for the final time at a photography studio.

Successive generations have chosen to have their wedding snaps and family portraits taken by Gorleston's Brian Ollington photographers.

AFTER capturing countless blushing brides and bouncing babies on camera the shutter is set to click for the final time at a photography studio.

Successive generations have chosen to have their wedding snaps and family portraits taken by Gorleston's Brian Ollington photographers. Many great and, in some cases forgotten, occasions from the town's recent history have also been part of life behind the lens at the studio on the town's High Street.

Now the business is set to close next month after 45 years, a victim of the credit crunch and the digital age.

Founded by Brian Ollington in 1963, the business has been run by Robert Wedon and Stephen Bellward for the last five years.

Stephen said: “I will be desperately sad when the business shuts, it will feel strange not having to drive into work any more. We have made a lot of friends over the years attending so many weddings and got to know a lot of the vicars very well.

“At the height of the business in the 1970s and 1980s we used to do eight or nine weddings each Saturday and had to hire photographers for the weekend. Family portraits were always popular too, especially as Christmas presents.

“There were some funny moments as well. I was at a wedding when the vicar forgot to arrive, it turned out he was at home watching the football results.

“More recently we have just done 25 or 30 weddings a year. People don't use professional photographers as much these days, even when they get married. Photos were more special in the past, now they are being taken all the time on mobile phones.”

Closing the business will be the end of an era for Stephen, who joined in 1977 and Robert who started work there straight from school in 1965.

The shelves of the studio are groaning with negatives dating back to the 60s as well as a fascinating photographic collection of events from the last few decades.

Royal visits, grand building and demolition projects and ship launches have been amongst the moments captured in time.

Robert said: “Royal events like the Queen's visit in 1985 stand out in my memory and the demolition of the power station on South Denes. And I have never seen crowds like those at the tall ships race in 1978 when the Lydia Eva led them out.”

The job could have its dangerous moments too, with Stephen having to be lifted on a tyre by a crane to an 80ft high offshore platform. He then had to endure a descent down a concrete column to the sea bed where pipes were being laid.

Photography has been revolutionised in recent years by digital technology, but Stephen still has affection for the old days of film.

“Digital is more convenient and easier to use, but I still think portrait on film is better quality,” he said.

Anyone interested in obtaining negatives of there wedding photos can call the studio on 01493 661860.

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