Monday, September 15, 2008

September 19 - And The Guest Author Is . . .


Shades is so pleased to have Brett Payne of the Photo-Sleuth Blog as the Guest Author for Friday From The Collectors 19 September. His blog is fan-tastic and a must see for all Shades readers. Personally I could spend, have spent, hours reading his articles. You know what they say, "Ask a busy person," so Shades asked and Brett answered. His intriguing biography follows:

I was born and grew up in the Eastern Districts of Zimbabwe, where my father worked on a horticultural research station, and where my parents had emigrated from England and the Netherlands. I trained as a geologist and worked in the field of mineral exploration for 15 years in Zimbabwe. After emigrating to New Zealand with my wife Gill and four daughters almost ten years ago, she drew the short straw and went out to work, while I became a full time, stay-at-home dad.

Although it's been quite a different life for me, I've grown to enjoy it, and to relish the opportunity it gives me to pursue my family historical interests. However, as the girls get older, I'm preparing to enter back into the formal work force by enrolling in a year-long post-graduate diploma in GIS (geographic information systems) next year. We have settled very comfortably on a small country or lifestyle block on the north-east coast of the North Island, overlooking the city of Tauranga and the beautiful Bay of Plenty.

Although I’ve been actively researching my family history for the last fifteen years, it’s only since about 2000 that I’ve had a web presence. My initial efforts were devoted to South Derbyshire, in the English Midlands, where many of my father’s ancestors originated, and where my Payne family farmed as far back as the late 1600s. Using microfilms at my local Family History Centre, I published my own transcripts of census records and parish registers, as well as donated material, on my Rootsweb-based South Derbyshire Genealogy Pages.

Research into the life of my paternal grandfather, and his experiences in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War, led to one of many diversions, and a new series of Rootsweb pages devoted to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps. My first experiment in blogging resulted in the sadly incomplete Grandpa’s War, which I hope to return to when I find some more spare time! I have also previously participated in several collaborative transcription and indexing projects, including FreeCEN and AutomatedGenealogy, and am currently a moderator on and some time contributer to the CEF Study Group.

My adventures in PhotoHistory on the web started with my publication of an index to studio photographers in the county of Derbyshire, England in 2002. I compiled it initially as an aid to family historians for dating their old photograph collections, and that has remained the primary purpose. Due to an extraordinary response from readers all over the world, with contributions of images and information, it subsequently grew into a still growing database of Derbyshire Photographers, containing biographical and professional profiles, portfolios of each studio’s work, as well more general articles about the development of photography in Derbyshire.

As far as I am aware, mine and the web sites Brighton Photographers & Sussex PhotoHistory of David Simkin (to whom I owe an enormous debt of gratitude for his help and inspiration in the early days) are the most detailed studies of photographers from a particular area that have been published on the net to date. However, I very much look forward to seeing more in the future.

My latest blog, Photo-Sleuth, has developed more as a self-indulgence than a planned project. It comprises an irregular series of articles with the more general subject of old photographs, photographers, and their subjects, and I hope that it is both educational and entertaining.

Join Shades 19 September for Friday From The Collectors when we are treated to the collecting passion and outstanding work of Brett Payne.

See You Then!


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