Monday, 15 November 2010

Always check and double check...

T'was way back in the eighties. I was stringing in London and providing images for some twelve different newspapers and magazines.

One particular day found me at a function for the Restricted Growth Asociation (RGA) . It was a standard job. Just get some pics of The Duchess of Gloucester with the children. I was also told that the children were not to be identified.

Bang on time, the Duchess arrived with the normal entourage including the Mayor of London and associated members of the RGA board.

I shot away with my Canon A1 and a Vivitar 283 flash (which incidentally I still have).

The duchess was being shown around by a gentleman who was also affected with restricted growth.

I took my pictures and made sure the include the aforementioned gentleman.

Afterwards, I went to take my notebook out of my bag but discovered that I had left it in my motorbike locker. Still. I knew the Lord mayor's details as I'd photographed him several times previously. Same for the Duchess of Gloucester. All I had to do was memorise the short gentleman's name and I could leave.

I approached one of the Duchess' ladies in waiting and enquired as to the name of the gentleman. She told me.

"Really?" I asked.
"Yes" she replied. "Easy to remember eh?"
"Yes" I answered and left to do another couple of jobs.

I finally got around to developing the film later that night but blame it on the fumes of the D76 developing fluid because I had a mental blank as to the correct name of the man in the photos when suddenly it came back! It certainly was an easy enough to remember name.

I left the pictures on the desk of my picture editor with the names and captioning details of everyone involved and went home to bed. right and early the next morning, I went into the newspaper offices and got talking to
the picture editor.

"Tom. Are you sure about the names on this picture?"
"Yes. Why do you ask? Is there a problem?"
"Well I think that you may have made a mistake on this gentleman's name"
"Which one?" I asked
"The chap standing by the Duchess. The short gentleman"
"Oh." I replied. "I asked his name and of of the entourage told me he is called "Winston
Churchill" that's easy enough to remember"
"You absolutely sure?" he again asked
"Like I said, it's easy enough to remember. Check it out if you want"

 Not Winston Churchill

It's a good thing that he did because when it finally appeared in print, he was given the correct name of " William Shakespeare! "