Review: Leigh Preston 16 Sept 2022

Things we’re going to lose. Photographer Leigh Preston looks back at photos capturing the changing times.

On Friday September 16, photographer Leigh Preston gave a well received talk to Ilkley Camera Club. Leigh holds two Royal Photographic Society Fellowships, one for pictorial images taken of the mill towns in Lancashire and Yorkshire and the other for darkroom printing. He also belongs to the ARENA group of photographers.

Leigh has been taking pictures for over forty years. He says a lot of his personal work has been of places that have changed or no longer exist.

It was a wide ranging tour of his work beginning in his early  years in Reading, a landscape dominated by industrialisation and looming gasometers. 

I like to take photos of things we are going to lose”, says Leigh.  Chimneys and rooftops featured heavily in his work, and also some impressive dockland  images including HMS Queen Mary and SS Canberra on its return from the Falklands. 

Lee says we are lucky to have some of the best landscapes in the country on our doorstep – he knows because he recently spent 56 days running from Land’s End to John O’Groats.  

“I like harsh weather when it’s a blizzard”, he says.

While many of his images were made in the UK, Leigh’s talk also included pictures from around the world including India, California and Iceland . “I took some pictures of Monument Valley and was almost in tears. Growing up in an industrial town I didn’t have many chances to travel. My view back then was limited to watching cowboy films set in those amazing landscapes”

I take pictures for myself and many won’t win competitions or be put up on the wall. I like pictures that tell a story like the coal mines and cooling towers, and docklands before they were taken over and developed.  We are losing so much, gasometers and red phone boxes are mostly gone, things are disappearing, this is what’s happening in our country”.

Ilkley Camera Club is currently meeting on Friday evenings at 7.30pm. Some meetings are held at St Peter’s Church Hall in Addingham and others on Zoom. For more information visit the Club website at or their Facebook page,

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