A short while ago I had the pleasure of photographing World War 2 Veteran, Major Edwin ‘Ted’ Hunt MVO, for inclusion in my World War 2 / 1940s Project and upcoming Exhibition…
I thought for this post I would not just give you a look at the final portrait, but also share with you some information about Major Hunt and then at the end an overview of the kit used.
So to start things off, here’s an extract taken from Wikipedia…
Major Hunt was born on 23 March 1920 and was bound apprentice to his father as a Waterman (Lighterman) in 1935 on the River Thames where he learned to tow Thames barges with a rowing-boat. At the time, Hunt recalled in 1993, there were 7000 barges on the river and hundreds of tugs.
Following outbreak of the Second World War Hunt volunteered as a sapper waterman in the Royal Engineers, and served in the Battles of Narvik – part of the Norwegian campaign) – in April–May 1940. By 1944 he was commissioned, and as a captain commanded fifteen of the Rhino ferries on Gold Beach on D-Day. In four months, all sixty-four of these landing craft put ashore 93,000 units (tanks, guns and vehicles) and 440,000 tons of military stores.
During the last six months of the war in Europe, together with the Dutch hydraulics engineer Lt. C. L. M. Lambrechtsen van Ritthem, he advised the Chief Engineer Second Army, Brigadier “Ginger” Campbell, on the “opposed crossing of water obstacles”, so that the longest floating Bailey bridge of the Second World War could be constructed at Gennep in the Netherlands. This bridge over the river Maas (Meuse) was 4008 feet [1221 metres] long and was opened on 19 February 1945.
Demobilised as a Major he returned to civilian life as a college lecturer in navigation and watermanship at the City & East London College in London, from 1948 until 1985.
As a Royal Waterman, he was appointed Queen’s Bargemaster in 1978 and retired from royal service as a Member of the Royal Victoria Order in 1990.
Spending time with Major Hunt (98) and also his Sister Em’ (aged 103) was an absolute pleasure. If I’m honest I didn’t quite know how to address him when I first arrived at his home but immediately he told me to just call him Ted. Of course I was there to take his portrait but this almost seemed secondary as we sat and chatted about Ted’s military career, memories of certain events in World War 2, and something I’m always fascinated with, how it feels to talk about such events.
Ted has presence but with it, is incredibly humble. We talked about the use of the word ‘hero’ that we hear so often these days, to which his response, was “If you want to meet a real hero, then you need to meet Jeff Haward”
Proud to say I have met and spent time with Jeff who was awarded the MM and very much look forward to meeting him again when over in Normandy this coming June for the 7th Anniversary of D-Day…
Anyway, we did of course get round to taking Ted’s portrait but no sooner had we finished we got chatting again.
We spoke about the time he was interviewed by ITN’s Senior Foreign Correspondent, Journalist Michael Nicholson OBE; the aired section of which you can watch below…
I’ll definitely be getting in touch with Ted again, to see about re-visiting but this time armed with my recording equipment to record a chat; his memoirs, outlook and career is completely fascinating and moving.
A complete surprise before leaving was when Ted signed and gave me a copy of Sapper Lightermen, Rhino Ferries and Landing Ships; memoirs written by himself. This I’ll treasure forever!
My Exhibition (where Ted’s portrait and others will be on display) is being held at The Soldiers Of Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, UK and will be running for just under 3 months and starts around the 3rd quarter of 2019. At the time of writing, the Museum have asked that I don’t announce the actual launch date until after another meeting we have on 12th April, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted with all the details.
In the mean time, make sure to check out Major Hunt’s Website: LINK
The Photo Shoot
So, with regards to photographing Ted’s portrait, as this was done in his home, it’s important to have as small a footprint as possible and to leave with no trace of having been there, so this is what I used…
- Westcott-X Drop
- Westcott Vintage Grey Canvas by Glyn Dewis (I use the Art Canvas version)
- Westcott Rapid Box Switch Octa (Large) 48″
- Sony Alpha A7 RII Mirrorless Camera
- Sony SEL55F18Z.AE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens
- Capture One (for Tethering)
- Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Manfrotto MHXPRO-BHQ2 XPRO Ball Head with 200PL Quick-Release System
- Manfrotto Q2 L Bracket
The set up I kept to the as other portraits in this project to ensure consistency and because it takes up a small amount of space; perfect for when photographing in peoples’ homes…
You can see from the set up and listed above that I was using the Westcott Rapid Box Switch Large Octa. This you’ll have seen me use before along with the Elinchrom ELB1200, but recently have opted to use the modifier with a Speedlight; this is possible as it’s the Switch System and the reason I’m opting for this is because of convenience in keeping the kit to a minimum…and lightweight.
The next portrait I take in this series I’ll make a point of getting a Behind the Scenes photo so that you can see everything in situ, and will also cover in a post, how I set my camera up along with the focusing method.
In the mean time though, if you have any questions / comments, then please feel free to make use of the comments section below.