It was through my friend and colleague Sheila Watson that learned about the closure of the Van Werninck Photography Studio in Montrose. Sheila had noticed the closing down sale, mentioned me to the proprietor then messaged me to get through as soon as I could as he had a number of analogue cameras for sale.
The summer holidays have not yet begun at the college so the first opportunity I had to pay a visit was this morning on the studios last day of business. I arrived early for I was anxious to see if there was any treasure left. Just after 9.30am I met for the first time the proprietor Mr Neil Van Werninck. It was a poignant shared moment when I helped Neil
take down the window shutters for the last time.........I cannot imagine how he was feeling himself.
After introductions and declaring an interest in cameras and all things photography Neil gave me a private tour of the shop, studio and darkrooms. It reminded me very much of Chambre Hardman's house and studio in Liverpool.
Neil gave me over an hour of his time.......though it didn't feel like it. We talked about the history of the studio, his family history, what he will be doing after the closure of the shop and of course cameras. He also gave me a couple of lessons that I transcribed eagerly into my notebook.
When I left it was after purchasing his fathers J.Lancaster and Son plate camera: Neil took over the studio from his father. I learned of the photographs that his father had taken with the camera and how his job had led to him meeting his future wife, Neil's mum. All cameras are beautiful to me but this one will be extra special because it comes with a history.
We exchanged contact details and parted company knowing we would be in touch again. It goes without saying that the new shoes have been put on hold and I will be eating beans on toast till the end of the month...............happy days.