Exhibition celebrates life and work of popular Brighton photographer

Posted On 31 Mar 2023 at 1:00 am

An exhibition opens to celebrate the life and work of the popular Brighton photographer Roger Bamber at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery tomorrow (Saturday 1 April).

Mr Bamber had been working on the exhibition – Roger Bamber: Out of the Ordinary – and the accompanying book when he died last September at the age of 78.

Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust chief executive Hedley Swain urged people to come to the show and to buy the book of the same name from the gift shop.

Mr Swain said: “Roger Bamber is an important national figure in news photography but he is also very much a Brighton figure so I am so pleased that it is Brighton and Hove Museums holding this exhibition.

“We are incredibly grateful to Roger’s wife Shan Lancaster for all her support since Roger’s untimely death last year. We hope the exhibition will be a fitting memorial to his achievements.”

The exhibition organisers said: “Bamber’s distinctive eye created engaging and striking images that capture an ordinary moment in an extraordinary way.

“In a career that included work as a press photographer for the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Observer and The Guardian, Roger captured a rapidly changing world with insight, humour and an unerring eye for a good image.

“He lived in Brighton and the city and its people feature in many photographs including iconic images of the seafront, the Royal Pavilion and the dramatic Victorian sewers.”

At a preview last night, the former Brighton and Hove council leader Steve Bassam said: “Roger had the ability to make you think and smile – what a wonderful combination – and with a twist of anarchy.”

Lord Bassam of Brighton was leader of the old Brighton Borough Council and working on plans to revive the area between the piers when he first met the prizewinning photographer.

Lord Bassam said: “Roger did more to promote our city by sea than anyone else I know. He helped us relaunch our seafront as our shopfront.

“Roger was a master craftsman. He was technically brilliant. And his legacy to our brilliant city will last a long time. He’s created a lot of joy and happiness – and a great deal of laughter.”

Also at the preview, Mr Bamber’s former Guardian colleague, Alan Sparrow, the chairman of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild, said: “We stand here surrounded by the work of Roger Bamber – and a fine body of work it is.

“His creativity and style was like a firecracker being thrown into a library. Everyone sat up and took notice.

Roger Bamber with Banksy graffiti

“I can’t remember in what order the pictures started to arrive at The Guardian but I do remember that they were dominated by events in Brighton.

“The picture editor thought Roger was working for the Brighton tourist board.

“As lovely as Brighton scenes were, we needed Roger to do stories from a different location.

“Despite our urgings to travel further, we had fantastic photos such as the reflection of the Pavilion, the Toy Museum model railway station, photographs from the underground sewer pipes in Brighton, birds around the tumbling pier and the Punch and Judy professor on the beach.

“And, of course, a C5 trike being overtaken by a bus – part of the catalogue of work that Roger did for the local bus company who have since, in his honour, named a bus after him.

“There was no doubt that my life and career were lifted by knowing Roger and I looked forward to the days that he might come into the office.

“He was fun. His work was fun. It was a pleasure to know him.”

While plenty of Mr Bamber’s photographs will be familiar to many people in Brighton and Hove, the latest chance to see the world through his eyes runs from tomorrow until Sunday 3 September.

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Tickets cost £7.50 for an adult, £3.60 for children over five, with free entry for under-fives and Brighton and Hove residents with proof of address.

Out of the Ordinary is due to be published in hardback by Unicorn tomorrow (Saturday 1 April). It has 208 pages and costs £40.

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