As soon as he was demobilised after WW2, Gregory created a travel agency called Alfred Gregory Holidays, personally leading clients each year on treks through Nepal and other challenging mountain-climbing sites. Always Blackpool-based, it was only later that Alfred Gregory became a professional photographer.
Alfred Gregory, Photography from Everest to Africa, Penguin, 2007
Gregory assembled a fine collection of photographs used to illustrate the many books that would eventually be published about the Everest expedition. They appeared in a commemorative volume of their own, Alfred Gregory's Everest, 40 years later.
In Blackpool in the early 1960s, Gregory used his photographic talents and sharp eye to create hundreds of images of the resort – beehive hairdos on the girls and brylcreemed hair on the boys. “The printing was impeccable, the composition classically balanced, and the observation as sharp and kindly as that of any of the great photographic masters”. But what matters most to me personally is that this was MY ERA! Fortunately his pictures eventually appeared in book form as Alfred Gregory's Blackpool 1993, a companion volume to Alfred Gregory's Everest.
Gregory took photographs in many countries of the world but his publications and his exhibitions seem to focus on Mt Everest and Blackpool. For Mr Everest his selection as team photographer was a last-minute surprise. But for Blackpool, Gregory did all the selecting himself. So I wonder if he focused on these two places as the opposite extremes of human endeavour: the eternally pristine wilderness and romantic danger of impossibly high mountains Vs the sweaty crowds of a 1960s beach resort.
Alf Gregory and his Australian (second) wife emigrated to Australia in 1996 and settled in Melbourne. Gregory must have understood that time was running out for him because in 2007 a stunning book containing more than one hundred remarkable images from his career was published. It was called Alfred Gregory: Photography From Everest to Africa. Although to some extent the images explain themselves, I would prefer more than brief captions - I want wads of explanatory text.
Gregory died in February 2010. “From Everest to Blackpool”, which is running throughout October 2010, is “an exhibition that captures those short-lived moments when ordinary people, objects and places become extraordinary”. Source Photographica Brighton is hosting the exhibition in Melbourne.