TOM Clare’s interest in photography started with a pocket camera when he was a boy of 12 and now he is encouraging an interest in the hobby among other youngsters.
Tom runs a lunch-time Photography Club for Year 6 pupils at Deeping St James Community Primary School which is in such high demand it now runs across four days.
“The sessions are so popular it got to the stage the children were coming to the studio we created in the science room at break time as well,” said Tom, who was site manager at the school for several years.
He now works part-time as caretaker at a primary school in Market Deeping, and combines this with what he calls his “semi-professional” photography, doing odd jobs at his old school and running the photography club.
Tom (55) has been seriously involved in photography for about 30 years and admits: “I live my life around photography.” He has gathered all the equipment he needs over the years and so was able to lend Nikon digital SLR cameras to the ten and 11-year-old pupils who joined the club when it started last year.
Tom says: “I just gave them a camera and let them play with it and they are very quick learners. If it’s got buttons on it they love it. It took them some time to get used to shooting straight and to the composition of the picture, but now they are good. They have surprised themselves.”
The budding photographers take photographs of each other in the studio and, at Christmas time, after seeking parental permission, took images of pre-school children with appropriate props which were then printed on to Christmas cards and sold to parents. The cards, along with calendars the pupils produced, were sold to raise funds to buy equipment for the photography club.
The club is run entirely voluntarily and Tom says his biggest problem is having sufficient equipment for the young photographers to use. If anyone has received a new camera for Christmas and has an old digital camera they are happy to part with, the school would be pleased to hear from them.
Tom says there are a couple of children who are really showing potential, so it could be the start of a future career.
Contact the school on 01778 342314.