Martin Grigg (Australia-Brisbane) Class of 66

Martin Grigg

Ealing School of Photography 1966-69

It’s good that someone has had the idea of getting everyone together after 50 years and an admirable idea, if a little hard to get around! After all 50 years is a heck of a long time and I guess sadly there are some who are no longer with us. I have so many happy memories of my time at ESP, and so many clear memories too, it’s amazing how they stick in one’s mind. Anyway more on this later…

I guess I was lucky after leaving ESP I was able to secure employment quite quickly at a little studio in Euston called Qanta Studios. Just me , the rather ageing boss and a sexy little receptionist! A chance to put some of my ESP skills to work photographing endless tin trays and ornamental tea trolleys and of course the receptionist..

From there I moved to Dennis Bros Guildford as an industrial photographer. I also had to do litho plate making for their printing section. I never could get my hands around it but it made a change from photo work.

I eventually got made redundant and got a job with Link House Publications in Croydon as a staff photographer. It was quite interesting work taking shots for their range of hobby and motor magazines. Eventually they decided they had too many photographers (7) and couldn’t afford to pay them all so after a rip roaring argument with their studio manager one day I was out of work again.

By then I had made a decision with a flatmate of mine whilst standing in a local pub one miserable November night, to see the other side of the world and before we knew it we had booked our passage to New Zealand (paying our way) with the intention of just having a look around and coming back after a couple of years….

We arrived in Auckland in June 1974 and I managed to get into an advertising studio Vahry Photography as a junior photographer. It was a family business and they were nice people, but unfortunately just not enough work to really keep me on full-time so I was forced to move on. My mate and I were sharing a house with about 5 others in a posh suburb called Remuera.  It was good fun, dinner parties and weekend trips all the time. In those days commercial photography jobs were few and far between and I finally found a job with a schools photography mob called Milestone Photos. I found myself shooting portraits (mainly screaming babies) in shopping centres which eventually drove me mad (Johnny smile for the man or I’ll belt you) The only saving grace was a nice little runabout van they gave me.

Things weren’t really working out job wise in NZ so I decided to take the plunge and head across the Tasman to Australia where I had a few relatives. It was some while before I landed a job and I was almost down to my last dollar when I scored a job with an advertising studio in Brisbane. Their main client was David Jones (retail store) so most of the time I was taking studio shots of pots and pans, shoes, food and cosmetics for their numerous newspaper ads.

I decided to check out a social club as i was looking for friends and quickly met my wife to be, an Aussie lady called Anita. We lived together for 5 years before we finally married. After a stint with a wedding studio (swinging those bloody great RB67s around!) I left in exasperation as the place was just so disorganised and started my career in photo printing.

I joined Brisbane’s top professional colour lab Spectrum and became arguably one of the best Cibachrome printers in Australia. After 6 years here I seized an opportunity to get in at the start of a new Ciba lab called Lightwaves and was here for 13 years until technology caught up and no one could afford Ciba’s any more. At the same time other labs were closing or going digitalised. It was unbelievable the boss just sat and read the paper half the day, never marketed and swore inkjet printing would never achieve the quality and longevity of Ciba. I should have seen it coming and retrained in a different area but there were just no openings.

From there my long career in Photography came to an abrupt halt! As did my marriage, after 18 years we decided things just weren’t working out for us. But I had 2 lovely children at senior school age to be thankful for.

I started working in the cleaning industry doing commercial cleaning on building sites and new apartments as a sub contractor and have kept in that field ever since. I don’t do so much nowadays as I’m getting ready to enjoy retirement! I still have all my photography equipment my Elinchrom studio flash etc and it gets dusted out now and again. I used to do quite a lot of wedding work but won’t touch it now, too mentally exhausting!

My main preoccupation these days is with music. I play keys in a couple of bands, one called Afrodisa, an African reggae outfit, the other called Sexy Soul, a new soul and blues band and we are gathering momentum this year and may even be touring USA later. If you find me on Facebook you will see many many photos there!

About 6 years ago I  married my beautiful wife of today Kenya born Judy, and we now have a beautiful 18 month old daughter called Kayla, who is a delightful mix of ebony and ivory (although I think my genes are stronger!) As they say You’re never too old, and I am enjoying every minute of fatherhood second time round!

We live in a family 4 bedroom home on the south side of Brisbane in sunny Queensland. We are officially in winter now but our daytime temps are still 26C and sunny. When its at its coldest our daytime temps hover around 16C and it can drop to 4C at night . Brrr, time to light our log fire! In the peak of summer it can soar to 35C which is a bit sticky but we do have a nice swimming pool in our garden!

Thats about it really, a potted history of Martin Grigg. I have sent a few photos to make you all envious…

I still remember many things about Ealing, particularly Sid Matthews wandering down the corridor cracking amiable jokes, Frank Owen expertly laying down the law in his printing room, Mrs Knowles and her ‘dirty spit’ is all you need to spot, Dave the store man handing out cameras like they were the last ones in existence on this planet, those lunchtime races down to the riverside pub (can’t remember the name) to have a ploughmans lunch and that crazy Pat always getting there first in his souped up VW after running all the red lights, weekend photo jaunts (which always took in a pub or two) with Ray, John Boston (where the hell is he?) Riri and Denys. All good fun. Would love to see some photos from everybody and see what you’ve all been up to for the last 50 damn years!!


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