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Working at a photographic studio and the first job in the film


Learning on the job
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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My first job after leaving school was at a process engraver's called Leonardson's. And, as the war was still on, they... that firm... a lot of the people that used to work there had gone into the army, so that firm was being operated by the owner and two boys, two teenage boys, like me. They were great practical jokers, these two boys. Not only did they used to put ink on the... printer's ink on all the handles of the machinery that the other people had to use, but they also did things like, if you went to the loo, which was a very improvised kind of affair, with a door that didn't reach to the top or to the bottom of the frame. So, when you were sitting there on the loo, they used to come along and pour ammonia under the door. Lovely, lovely chaps.

But it was all good experience. Process engraving is quite an interesting art. It doesn't exist anymore really, in that form. Don't need it now, it's all computerised, but it was quite an interesting art. I find that any job that I did had interesting parts of it, which could teach me things that were useful later on.

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Tags: job, process engraving, jokes, teenagers, printer's ink

Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008