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Tom Samson FRPS (1921-2013)
- Published 17th April 2013
Life member Tom Samson FRPS died on Saturday 13 April at the age of 91. Tom was a respected commercial and aerial photographer. He was an active supporter and trustee of the Disabled Photographers’ Society and the BIPP’s Benevolent Society. He served as the BIPP’s president in 1969-70.
Tom lived all his life in the Croydon area. As a child in Wallington during the war he ran errands for the ARP. When he was old enough he joined the RAF and was sent off to Canada to undertake his training on the Empire Air Training Scheme. In Canada he also met his wife.
Tom’s father had worked for Kodak and it was perhaps inevitable that he would graduate towards photography for his own career. He worked for the long-established firm of architectural and commercial photographers Bedford Lemere from 1937 and he eventially deposited some of its daybooks with English Heritage. He served in the RAF between 1941 and 1945 as a navigator and photographer and tested many of its reconnaissance cameras.
After the war he retuirned to Bedford Lemere and joined Archie Handford Ltd which took over the busines. During this period amongst other work he photographed early nuclear power stations for the construction company McAlpine. Tom was an accomplished aerial photographer and his experience and knowledge enabled Handfords to offer an aerial photography service which at one point accounted for a quarter of its turnover. Much of his work is now with Skyscan. He retired from Archie Handford in 1996 when the firm became Chorley & Handford Ltd in 1996.
Tom had an appreciation of commercial photography and its history and, along with others, was a driving force behind the establishment around 2000 of an archive of professional photography which is now housed at Birmingham Central Library.
Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS
with thanks to Ian Leith and Ron Callender