Bernard Mills Interview
Bernard Mills is a well known railway photographer here in South Devon for his excellent old and modern railway photographs. He has been a railway employee for an amazing fifty five years. He had kindly agreed to do the Bernard Mills interview for me.
1. What year did you start your railway photography and how old were you then?
Railway photography started in the summer of 1961 with a Brownie Box camera age 14.
2. The first camera you ever had? What do you have now?
The first proper camera I had was when colour started in May 1965. It was a Praktica 4F single lens reflex. Interestingly, that camera was one of the first to be seen in the West Country.
3. How did you develop an interest in railway photography?
My interest certainly evolved over the years as a desire to record the passing scene.
4. Do you have a favourite steam loco and diesel train that you like to photograph?
My favourite steam loco a GWR 45XX 55XX Prairie Tank, Diesel Class 52 Western.
5. If you could travel back in time, where would you go to take railway photographs and why?
Princetown Branch. For that incredible moorland railway and steam in such a superb number of settings.
6. Which do you prefer, colour or black and white photos and why?
Colour because it portrays the actual scene and liveries etc.
7. Is there any other photographer that you considers as a kind of idol?
Peter Gray because he was a great personal friend.
8. Which software do you use when editing images and are you happy with it?
Photo shop Elements 11, very happy with it.
9. Can you tell us about the most memorable photo that you ever shot and what made it so special?
Yes, I remember it’s the only steam engine to be seen here, since 1965. It was a combination of superb morning light and still waters of the incoming tide and it was local. Just down the road.
10. A great many steam tours and heritage railways have been cancelled or closed during the Covid lockdown. Did this annoy you, as it did me?
11. You have had quite a few railway photo books of yours published. Which is your favourite and why?
My favourite is Western Class Locomotives A Tribute. It contains so many memories to share and proud to have captured all 74 on film.
12. Finally, what advice would you give to young or new railway photographers?
In short, remember that today’s picture is tomorrow’s history.
This photograph shows Bernard’s favourite photograph he has taken close to where he lives. The steam loco is a Black 5 No. 45407 ‘The Lancashire Fusilier’ and is seen crossing the Tamerton Lake Viaduct working the 1Z22 0905 Bere Alston to Plymouth on the 27th March 2007 © Bernard Mills