A snap shot of life from Peter Bolton

Work by Peter Bolton

Work by Peter Bolton - Credit: Archant

As the season of festive fairs and craft shows across the county begins, Shoeburyness photographer Peter Bolton tells Caroline Foster about his travel plans

For nigh on 30 years, Peter Bolton has been taking professional photographs, but this line of work was not the career path he had planned on. Peter started out as a graphic designer but found it increasingly difficult to source good quality images or library stock images to meet his creative needs, so he started taking photographs.

Today Peter’s photographic library is vast and not only does he sell his images to stock libraries, but photography has become his full-time occupation.

It’s quite evident that Peter is a perfectionist. From the quality of his images to the subject matter contained within and right through to the printing, which he does himself. Peter explains: ‘The printing is very important. I do my own printing because I want the finish of the photograph to look as I intended.’

Peter’s subject matter is not restricted to one style or theme. Commercial photography plays an important part of his daily work. ‘I’ll take everything from dog food to crash helmets,’ he comments. ‘But as a weekend release I like to take photographs of things people want to put on their walls, which tends to be more landscapes.’

Before photography became Peter’s passion and livelihood, he used to paint, but time constraints meant he couldn’t give both pursuits the attention they needed so he gave up painting to concentrate on photography. However, Peter has managed to combine his love of both as his portfolio includes fine art photography too.

Although Peter wasn’t born in Essex, he has lived in the county for time enough to call it home. He enjoys living near the estuary and takes advantage of everything associated with the seaside. One project Peter dedicated a whole year to was photographs of the beach huts at Thorpe Bay, from which he produced a coffee table book illustrating the wonderful array of beach huts – the exterior, the interior and shots of the people who own them. ‘When you walk down the beach, some of the huts look like people’s homes. It’s fascinating to see how they’ve been transformed and how they are used,’ Peter says. The book, Beach Hut Life was published about three years ago and is still available to buy online.

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Peter’s personal passion is street photography and he takes many shots of people going about their daily lives. His second coffee table book, Meetings with Strangers (Volume One), is also available online. Peter also takes portrait photographs for those needing headshots for commercial work or for others who just want a good photograph of themselves.

Commercially, Peter has worked for a number of high street property agents, some high profile brands, and is often commissioned to photograph PR and street events. He is also keen to share his knowledge and helps budding photographers, both novice and those looking to improve their skills, as he runs workshops, on demand, on a one-to-one basis or in small groups of three people at a time.

A mixed array of Peter’s work, including limited edition prints, will be on sale as he travels the breadth of the county for the festive season attending craft and gift fairs including The Made in Essex event at RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Rettendon and the Hornchurch Festive Craft and Gift Show. While the temptation will be to pick up one of Peter’s beautiful photo prints for yourself, don’t forget to gift one to a loved one too. w