Review: Veteran press photographer Richard Wintle at the Swindon Festival of Literature

By Barrie Hudson - 6 May 2022

Arts and Culture

If a picture paints a thousand words, Richard Wintle has painted nearly as many words as there are people on the planet.

An enraptured Swindon Festival of Literature audience at the Central Library Reading Room heard him talk about the six million or so images in an archive assembled over a 40-year career.

With a huge emphasis on Swindon life but also covering locations throughout the world, those images range from old-style negatives to digital data occupying terabytes of server space.

As far as the photographs from in and around Swindon are concerned, the cream of the crop can be found in Richard's three books - A Picture is Only the Start of the Story, Another Picture, Another Story, and Give us a Neg.

Richard, who runs Calyx Picture Agency, summed up his whole professional ethos in a handful of words: "I like to take photographs of people."

When his most recent book was released, he told Swindon Link: "Books on Swindon usually have buildings, have history. This is photographing the life of Swindon for 40 years. It's behind the scenes, almost - things they will identify with, that will trigger memories."

Richard has been taking pictures since receiving his first camera when he was nine years old, and made his first picture sale to a local newspaper when he was 13. He has seen his work published in countless national and local newspapers, and video shot by him, often of members of the Royal Family, has been seen by television audiences as far afield as the United States and Japan.

At the Central Library the photographer accompanied a fascinating talk about his career with a slideshow of some of his most striking images.

Over the decades he has looked through a succession of lenses at everything from the decline of Swindon's Railway Works to visits by Diana, Princess of Wales to the town, and from sporting highs and lows to generations of local events.

Richard's books are available from the Central Library and via his website, calyxpix.com

A pound for each copy sold will be donated to Neuroendocrine Cancer UK, a charity devoted to helping people with a rare form of cancer - which Richard himself was diagnosed with in 2018.

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