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Wednesday, 03 November 2010


I'm sorry I can't provide a personal anecdote about Geoffrey Crawley, but he will be sorely missed by this amateur. He was one of those people who you could rely upon for good thinking and understanding and it makes me think how fragile knowledge is once such a fine keeper of it departs.
(I count my greatest fortune -outside my family- to know or have known some very special people in other fields with the sort of depth of knowledge and understanding and experience that seems to have been distilled into them from other generations which I believe we, as an almost transient information society are going to miss out on).
Take no notice, it's just the crumbling foundations of my age.
Apart from the enjoyment and satisfaction of reading an article by Geoffrey Crawley, I must give thanks for his creation of Paterson Aculux film developer which I have used for many years, now in its 3rd and possibly final formulation.

Next time I'm down in the basement hacking on b&w film, I'll raise a measuring cylinder of Aculux 3 in his honour.

Sad news indeed ... and not just for British photographers. I remember reading his columns in AP for a while in the 2000s when I used to frequently buy that magazine in Australia.

A couple of times I would gasp, "wow..." when he would suddenly turn into a technical subject head on and start tackling it. And on the flip side, I think he also contributed to a monthly column of terminology which was handled clearly and very concisely.


I met him once. A lovely, lovely man who never allowed his passion for photography to become boorish or discourteous. This web site is one of the very few venues that maintains Geoffrey Crawley's legacy of charming good humour to all things photographic.

Anytime he wrote something in Amateur Photographer I would without hesitation buy it. He stood alone I think as a bridge between the Amateur Photographer of old and the newer more advertising focussed model that seems to be in place currently. He made the technically difficult sound interesting and at the same time allowed me to understand, surely that is the mark of a great teacher and also the mark of someone who undoubtably knew his stuff!

Crawley Films here in Canada may or may not have been a namesake. However his Acutol chemistry was the developer I used for years and years. None of this Kodak stuff for me. One small orange(?) labeled can. Pop the top and mix the chemicals. Wonderful stuff. And to think it all went down the drain.

Why do all the best leave with nary a whimper?

"Crawley Films here in Canada may or may not have been a namesake."

Nope, that was F. R. "Budge" Crawley, the man who made The Man Who Skied Down Everest.

Mike (I ain't so smart--I only Googled it.)

Like, I am sure many others, he will be greatly missed. His ability to dissect an obtuse complex technical issue, so that we mere mortals could grasp it, was unparalleled. Along with others I looked out for his articles. They were always a joy to read. You knew that if he assessed a lens or camera then you could trust that his comments and analysis was exceptionally accurate. His articles were required reading for many of my students. Farewell friend, though we never met, I will miss your wise counsel, farewell.

I am sad to hear of his death - though I used to read his column and wonder that he was still alive and writing with such acuity.

He had a style of English that was all his own. Sometimes I would read one of his sentences two or three times, studying the way he would compact a sentence down to a few words.

The way he wrote about technical matters was inspirational.

I had a Super Silette and felt like a veil had been lifted from my eyes with his description of the way various lenses with different numbers and combinations of elements would mould or draw the shape of a person's head differently.

AP: "You always knew you were in the company of a hugely intelligent man, but one with humility and generosity of spirit. Photographic journalism was enriched by his presence and I doubt that we will see his like again."

It is sad to see the loss of this gifted gentleman.

The obituaries provide some fascinating glimpses into Geoffrey Crawley's personal life, such as fathering a son at the age of 72!

AP is a unique photo magazine in that it's published weekly- a kind of "low tech" webzine. Geoffrey, to my opinion, provided the technical nuance that today I associate with the web. Regrettably, in recent years his obvious talents were squandered on reviewing low grade kit zooms. Esoteric, but interesting, comparisons between unique and discontinued lenses, were apparently not what was wanted. A sad end…....

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