QE2 Story Forum

The QE2's Story (in-service) => The QE2 herself => Officers & Crew Areas => Topic started by: Alan Snelson on May 30, 2013, 12:09 PM

Title: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on May 30, 2013, 12:09 PM
I am interested to know more about the evolution of shipboard photography and how it has developed over the years (no pun intended).  To start things off, here is an account of how things were during my time on board the QE2, working as a photographer between August 1978 and April 1982.

Almost unbelievably I don't have any photos of the darkroom in my collection. I am in the process of trying to find out who took ownership of all the negatives when the company we worked for was sold as I am sure there must be some pictures somewhere, so if anyone can shed any light on the new owners I would be most grateful. Perhaps if anyone is travelling on any of the new Queens soon could you please find out the name of the photography concession holders and let me know.

The photography team consisted of four people for transatlantics and short cruises, but for the world cruise that went up to five. The 1982 world cruise saw the introduction of video as a commercial enterprise, so one of the team of five concentrated full-time on the development of this new side of the business which  effectively put us back to a team of four photographers; despite this, we went on to set a new record in takings (but that’s another story). In the forums’ gallery I have noticed a picture of the 1983 photography team and it comprised six people, so I am not sure if the video crew had increased to two or the photographers had reverted to five.

The main team generally worked for six or seven months at a time, though there were no employment contracts. If you weren’t up to the job, there would be someone on the Southampton dockside to take your place, and it did happen a few times whilst I was on board. Leave was usually covered by a couple of reserves, who were happy to work aboard for short periods as a break from their usual shoreside businesses. The company we worked for was called Ocean Pictures (Cruising) Ltd and as they had the photography concessions on QE2 and four other ships, there were plenty of opportunities to transfer between ships.

We each had our own single cabin on five deck and had full deck privileges with only a few exceptions, namely the Casino bar and some First Class bars, although it was only the Casino that was really off limits to all except the Chief Photographer. As a result, we were able to mix freely with the passengers when we were not working. We had our own table in the passenger section of the ’Tables of The World’ restaurant and were very well looked after (we were quite good tippers though). In addition to this we had access to all crew areas too. There was occasional resentment from some crew members in some bars but we were made welcome in most of them.

My first cabin 5014

The darkroom was situated on six deck at the bottom of ‘F’ Stairway:  It consisted of two compartments, the dry side and wet side. The dry side was where we did the photo printing, kept all the cameras, flashes, film, spare parts for the printing and processing equipment and a variety of other consumables. The wet side was where all the photographic chemical processing took place. In the dry side we had two Durst HS75 colour printers, one loaded with 5” paper for our 7”x5”photos of passengers, the other loaded with 4” paper for printing 6”x4” for our on-board film processing service which was available to passengers and crew.

The printer we used for the develop & print service was replaced in the 1981 refit with a smaller Pro-Pak printer which took up less floor space and was mounted through the wall between the dry and wet sides for easier loading on to the processor. The photographic paper was kept in one of the fruit & vegetable stores as it needed to be kept cool; we did have to remember to get enough out of the store in advance though, so that it could warm up before we needed to use it.  Film was kept in a fridge in the darkroom along with a few beers (in case of emergency).  All fluorescent lighting was from daylight corrected tubes so there was no difference in colour when the photographs went on sale in our shop, which, when we moved to Upper deck, was mainly illuminated by daylight.

For our passenger photographs we used Agfacolor 80 s negative film. When I first started, this was supplied in 50m lengths from which we loaded our own 36 exposure rolls using a ‘daylight loader’. A downside to this was that it meant the loss of the last frame on each roll of film, so some passengers were left disappointed when they were unable to find the pictures they knew had been taken, but by about 1980 we were using ready-loaded film which overcame this problem. The empty plastic canisters went to the hospital to be used as pill bottles for seasickness tablets.

Another difficulty was that Agfacolor film had different process chemistry than Kodak. This meant that in order to offer a processing service to passengers and crew we needed two different sets of film processing tanks. I forget the numbers of the Agfa process, but the Kodak one was C41 which was quite common and most commercially available film was compatible with it.

After the films had been developed, dried and numbered, we exposed the negatives onto rolls of Agfacolor photographic paper using the Durst printer; at about the one hundred exposure mark we would turn all the lights off, cut out the part roll of exposed prints from the printer, re-thread the remaining paper, carry the exposed roll through to the wet room, attach a special clip to the paper and attach it to a continuous belt which led the paper through the various chemicals, through the dryer and onto a roller at the other end; then close the lightproof door at the back of the machine and turn the lights back on. The paper processor was a Wainco CPA, which had been made specifically to fit the QE2 darkroom.

The above sequence of loading was such a frequent event that I could literally do it with my eyes closed and so, even though the lights were off, I actually did find it easier to close my eyes whilst doing it!  On one occasion, well into the 1982 world cruise and not long after having visited Japan, the photography team was all very tired; one night it came time to load the machine, so I closed my eyes and went through the usual routine only to find when I opened my eyes that I had forgotten to turn the lights out! To make matters worse, there were two other team members in the darkroom and neither of them said a word. Thankfully there was only a little bit of edge fogging on that batch and we managed to get away without too much loss.

Once the rolls of photographs were all printed and processed they had to be cut and then given a unique reference number which matched with the number of the negative. The numbering system we used consisted of a letter and number combination. The letters denoted the voyage and the number related to the negative number on that voyage.  This was all done manually, so we would check the first and last image on each roll of film as we were numbering the prints to make sure everything matched together. On a typical transatlantic we would shoot around three thousand pictures on each leg.  Considering we only effectively had a couple of days and nights to work in this meant we were kept quite busy.

We were not provided with any kind of uniform but we did have a dress code to follow which mirrored that of the officers. Daytime in cool waters we wore grey trousers, white shirt and blue tie with a dark blue blazer, but at sea we could drop the tie.  We were also allowed to wear a ribbed woolen navy sweater instead of the blazer. In warmer waters, on cruises for example, when the officers switched in to whites, we wore white trousers, white shoes and red polo shirts, though we switched to blue polo shirts in about 1980. Evening wear followed the orders for the day and was either; formal, Black tie and tuxedo, or smart casual, jacket and tie, whatever the weather.

The cameras we used were Nikkormat’s made by Nikon. These were a simple, reliable and robust 35mm SLR. My sister (also a former QE2 photographer) still uses one which she bought from the ship when they were replaced by Nikon FM cameras in about 1980. We mainly used 50mm Nikkor lenses, but for some table shots in the restaurants we had to use a 35mm wide angle lens. We tried to keep the use of wide angle lenses to a minimum as they had a distorting effect towards the edges and could make people appear a little wider than they might have been. The flash guns were Metz 402 with a separate battery pack, housing a 6-volt lead acid (wet cell) battery.  Although reliable, the battery pack made them a bit cumbersome to use as the packs were worn over the shoulder like a bag and tended to swing about. The good thing about these was that you could easily see what state of charge the batteries were in as they had little plastic balls that floated or sank according to the charge.

Don't know what we were doing but left to right, shows Robert Knowles, my sister Christine and myself using the Metz 402 flashes and Nikkormats

These flashes were replaced in about 1981 with Metz 45CT1 units which were of a single unit design. They had a Ni-Cad battery housed in the handle of the flash, so no more battery packs to lug around on our shoulders; the downside was that you could not tell how charged they were until they stopped working, so we had to always carry spares in our pockets. Ni-Cad battery technology was still relatively new then and people did not really understand much about memory effect in this type of battery. Because of this, charging problems and battery life did give us a few headaches at times.

Up until about October 1978 all the photographs we took were displayed in locked, glass fronted cabinets on Boat deck, forward of the double room gallery and shops. They had their identification number stuck on the front, passengers had to make a note of the number and then place an order at our little kiosk which was located on the port side of Boat deck, forward of ‘E’ staircase. Late that night we would go and remove the sold pictures and replace them with the ones we had taken that night. Next morning we would put the sold photos in a wallet and an envelope, then go and deliver them to the relevant cabin number given by the passenger. As you can imagine, the location of the photo display and shop was not very popular with the passengers in the suites, as the corridors were frequently blocked with people looking for their pictures and it could get rather noisy.

So the photo gallery was relocated to Upper deck, still on the port side, just aft of the Casino and between ‘E’ stairway and the lower level of the double room. Not only did the location change but the method of selling also changed.  All photos were now on open display and passengers could pick them off the display racks, take them to the kiosk, pay for them and take them away there and then. Unfortunately, this meant that running the shop had now changed from being a one person operation to a two or three person operation as there were always some who ‘forgot to pay’ so we had to place observers at each end of the gallery at busy times whilst a third was in the shop kiosk dealing with sales. All on-board transactions were still cash or credit card then, so there was always small change to be dealt with. Pictures were priced at US$3.75 so we went through huge amounts of quarters. The upside was that this open selling method boosted sales by a good margin as people were more likely to impulse buy. The most we ever sold in a single day was on the ’82 world cruise alluded to earlier in this text, when we were around Japan. The Japanese people are unbelievably enthusiastic about photographs, especially those taken on board QE2. Following a Captains cocktail party attended by a large number of Japanese passengers, we sold over two thousand pictures in a single day!!

The photo gallery on Upper deck port side between Casino and double room

Our fairly standard range of photographs taken on a transatlantic crossing consisted of, Coming aboard, Meeting the Captain, At the Captain’s party, and at dinner. Sometimes we would wander around the bars and take casual photos on request and depending on things like weather and time of day, we would sometimes fit in shots on deck or lifeboat drill but, as already mentioned, we were time limited on the transatlantic runs.

As far as financial rewards were concerned we did really quite well. All our accommodation, food and tips to our stewards were covered as part of the package, so apart from buying our clothes and paying our laundry and bar bills we had no on board expenses to find. We were allowed to draw an advance against our wages of up to $200 per week from the ‘Bureau’ later known as the Pursers office. Wages were all commission based and were on a sliding scale as a percentage of our gross takings, the higher the takings the larger the percentage, this could be up to a maximum of 10% for the chief photographer and 7% each for the rest of the team. Transatlantics and short cruises I think we were generally in the range of 9% and 6% respectively. The QE2 of course was almost entirely run in US$ but the company we worked for was British and our bank accounts were in £ Sterling so conversions had to be made to calculate our pay. This worked very well for us when the dollar to pound rate started dropping below $2/£ and at $1.50/£, was even better still. On top of all this, under UK tax law at the time, we were only taxed on 25% of our earnings since we earned virtually all our money outside the UK.  And as if that wasn’t enough, we got to travel the world on the world’s greatest ship.

Yes, we did do very well, but we worked hard for it. Seven days a week,  ten to fourteen hours a day, sometimes more, sometimes less, for up to seven months at a time. The world cruises did tend to be a bit less intense though and we even got the occasional free day, however, by mid January, when the world cruises started, we had usually done two or three back to back transatlantics followed by three Caribbean cruises, so it was good to be able to take a slightly more leisurely approach to our work. Even so, we would still take in excess of twenty thousand photographs during the eighty-odd days.  I still remember my shore leave after my first world cruise in 1979; I slept for fourteen hours straight. 

Well, that’s about it for my account of a photographer’s work-life aboard QE2; as for a photographer’s social life, well that’s a whole different chapter!  What a fantastic time we had and I must say it was very hard to adjust to a life ashore after that kind of a lifestyle!

So what happened next? Can anyone take it on from here? I would be really interested to know how things moved on from here in the ships photography department.
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: CAP on May 30, 2013, 02:41 PM
Alan, an excellent and informative insight, thanks for taking the time to document and post.
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: cunardqueen on May 30, 2013, 05:00 PM
Thanks so much for the insight into this department. It was always a department that interested me not that lm into photos (well l didnt think l was) but aside from souvenirs this was another department l had no qualms about paying the prices for.

After one crossing l remember writing to Ocean pictures to buy a few extra copies of some photos and an extra video and l told them how much l had bought onboard from the photography dept and back came a very nice letter from Stewart Hunter Cox from Ocean Pictures with a compliments slip asking me to show this to the photographers next time l cruised. All it said was "Please make sure Mr Devin is 'looked after' " being a late teenager l had no unearthly idea what this would mean so l took this on my next cruise and as usual purchased photos and went to pay for them, showed the photographer the slip, he took it handed me the photos and as l went to give my cabin no l was told there is no charge... and for the whole cruise there was indeed no charge for any photos. l like to think over the years that l repaid the kind gesture  for those free photos. l have bought every blessed one and heaps of the various show photos and videos and latterly dvds.

On one of the later trips they had the option to have the photo put onto a plate.

My one regret is that on the last set of Farewell trips the only embarkation photo l have is at the start of the UK trip, l misssed the set up as we left for New York and when we left NY for the UK the photo set up was all cleared away.

The various back drops used over the years for the formal photos l loved as they all showed QE2 in her glory, some trips they even had a set of railings up. But why oh why did they insist on using the Titanic back drop, either the stairs or the bow view l could never see the point of them.

On a crossing in either 1989 or was it 91 with Captain Bennell they trialed a video and using a promotional video they would film a few seconds of the meet n greet with the Captain and then insert that into the video. A marvelous idea but at the time l thought very expensive,but l still bought the video, on that trip various people l met knew of the idea but didnt buy a copy on the basis of the price.Looking at the VHS tape it says it was distrubted by Ocean Services, subsidiary of Deland Productions of Indiana USA.

In later years the photo concession went to www.image.com prices again soared but as l always said what price can you put on a photo taken on a formal night by a professional photographer onboard the greatest ship in the world. What was funny looking back they would have you all posed up, flash, photo taken and then they would say Oh just one more, put you in a totally different pose and flash up racks another sale l guess.   

In later years as we know they started selling the lovely QE2 portrait albums or photo albums and then the wooden frames with Queen Elizabeth 2 on them :-X   
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Isabelle Prondzynski on May 30, 2013, 10:48 PM
Thank you so much, Alan! That is a wonderful write-up and tells a great story of what the photographer's life on board QE2 was like at the time. I too would love to hear how it developed in later years.

Like Cunardqueen, I bought almost all the photos ever taken of us by the QE2 photographers, and never worried about the cost. The photos were of high quality, and so professional. Mind you, some of the photographers had that extra gift of making their subjects feel at ease and making the whole experience fun -- and their photos were even better for that.

The other important thing of course was that they caught us dressed up in our finery and looking our best -- and it was enjoyable to have that moment captured!

I even bought the occasional photo of people I did not know at all (a Japanese lady and a Japanese gentleman come to mind) because they were just so splendid looking on those pictures. I hope they never looked for those pictures that had already been snapped up by me...

Alan, did you use any backdrops for the photos? I agree with Myles that all the QE2 related ones we knew in her latter years were beautiful, while the Titanic ones were given a miss. We kept trying to get the Mauretania model as a backdrop -- but apparently the glass case was not suitable, as it reflected the flash.

In those days of film, how quickly did you manage to get the pictures out for the passengers to see and buy? I imagine that many a working night must have been consecrated to doing this as fast as possible.

Thank you again, Alan -- you and your colleagues have given us many moments of pleasure, both at the time and for years afterwards!
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Rod on May 30, 2013, 11:37 PM
Really interesting Alan. Thank you.
When did the darkroom move up to 1 deck....I helped convert it and I can't remember!
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on May 31, 2013, 12:49 PM
Thanks for your responses to my posting, I am glad you have enjoyed reading it.

It was a real pleasure to write, as it transported me back across the years and has, along with much of this Forum, reminded me what a significant impact QE2 had on me and many other people. The only tinge of regret is that I didn't fully appreciate it back then, but there is one of lifes' lessons.

Thanks Myles for that info about the new concession holders, I will be contacting them to see if I can trace the Ocean Pictures archive. It was good to hear that Stuart looked after you so well, he was equally generous as an employer and was a great person to work for, we all had nothing but the greatest respect for him. His father Leslie had started the company back in the time of the Queen Mary and I believe that Stuart had worked as a photographer on the Queen Elizabeth and on QE2 in her early years.

During my time aboard we didn't use any type of backdrops at all. All the photos we took were with the various rooms of the ship as the background. We tried to capture pictures where the background was as interesting as possible but this wasn't always practical.

As far as processing times were concerned (I knew there would be something I forgot in my first post) the film processing took about 45 minutes from starting, to the films hanging in the dryer. We would (in total darkness) pop open the film canisters and load them by hand in to stainless steel holders called 'spirals', these would then be placed in to a rack, known as a basket, which could hold up to thirtysix 35mm spirals. Once each roll of film was loaded in to its own spiral we would carry the basket over to the tanks and put it through the chemical process, first the Developer for five or six minutes (can't remember the actual times now) then, on the agfa process, there was a stop bath, then Bleach, then wash, (I think, at about this point we could turn the lights back on) then fixer, then wash again followed by a final bath with an anti-streaking agent in and then peel them out of the spirals and in to the hanging dryer. We had to be careful not to hang the films too close together especially if the sea was a bit rough as they could get stuck together. The whole process of developing the films was refered to as 'doing the dip'.

The Wainco paper processor was about fourteen minutes from dry to dry, so a roll of about one hundred prints would run through in less than an hour, we could run two 5" rolls side by side, so really quite quick. We would generally have all the photographs that had been taken that night processed, printed, numbered and ready to go to the shop by around midnight. The latest I can ever remember finishing was two in the morning.

I don't know when the darkroom moved up to one deck and had wondered if it was during the refit following the Falklands. I remember there was talk in 1982 of the Spa expanding and needing the area which housed our darkroom so I had asumed it might have been then. I had also read somewhere that it had been moved in to the old passenger launderette which I believe didn't go untill well after '82 so I'm afraid I can't shed any more light on that.
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: cunardqueen on Jun 01, 2013, 12:07 AM
The Photographers Darkroom...
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Jun 01, 2013, 11:22 AM
Thanks for that Cunardqueen. So now we know that the darkroom moved to one deck forward, in to the former first class passenger launderette, the question now is when did that happen?
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Rod on Jun 01, 2013, 07:59 PM
I know for a fact it was between 1971 and 1988
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Jun 01, 2013, 10:27 PM
Thanks for narrowing it down with such uncanny accuracy Rod. I don't know how you do it!
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Jun 02, 2013, 07:37 PM

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up for us!  Very much appreciated indeed and I really enjoyed reading it.

- Rob
Title: Re: Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Sep 15, 2013, 03:21 AM
It was moved during the '77 refit in Germany.

Thanks for that Cunardqueen. So now we know that the darkroom moved to one deck forward, in to the former first class passenger launderette, the question now is when did that happen?
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Sep 15, 2013, 03:33 AM
oops, I mean 87.
I worked in both darkrooms. The lower one was next to an indoor pool, so it was handy to take a break and have a quick swim. The upper one was when the change was made to a mini lab. Out went the old c-22 tanks and now everything was automated for film processing. I have a great picture in that darkroom when Dave Armor and myself were working late. We had missed dinner so Dave disappeared to get a "takeaway".
Came back with lobster and a bottle of bubbly.

I also worked on the Countess as well. That was for 6 weeks while one of the regulars took leave. It was only meant to be for two weeks but I had such a great time I refused to come off. The first morning on there at breakfast on deck the captain comes up to me and introduces himself by his first name. Tells me that this will be a different experience for me than the QE and that all that matters is the passengers get to have a great time. I got the impression that it did not really matter how they enjoyed it, as long as they did.
We used to have great Toga party's in the wardroom, and then come down to the bars dressed in sheets. Pax thought it was great
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Sep 15, 2013, 01:13 PM
Hi Tony

Thanks for that info and welcome back to the forum. I see from your message posting time that you are either a major insomniac or not UK resident.

When were you on board? I seem to remember you saying on another post that you were on in the late 70's and again in the mid to late 80's. My sister Christine also worked as a photographer on board from late '76 (I think) until 1980 in her early years on board she worked with Mike Atkelsky and Mike Soames amongst others, do any of those names ring a bell with you? Both those guys had left by the time I joined in August '78.

The six deck darkroom was taken over by the Spa I believe when they expanded the facility. The swimming pool was also a handy weather forecasting aid, you could tell how rough the next couple of days were expected to be by seeing how much water had been drained from the pool, the shallower the pool the rougher the trip.

I too worked on the Countess and did a few stints on her over the years. When were you there, and do you remember the names of any of the other photographers you worked with? The names I remember are Martin Turner-Cook, Andy Lammas and Dave Margolis. You are right about the atmosphere on the Countess it was much more laid back out there.

Back to the QE2, do you know if the photography department ever went over to digital whilst Ocean Pictures were running the concession? or did it only happen after Image took over.

It would be interesting to see the photo you mentioned of the One Deck darkroom if you can post it sometime.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Sep 15, 2013, 02:55 PM
I went on for the first time in Summer of 77. It only went digital after Ocean Pictures left. I also remember Martin and Mike. Both were ok guys, maybe a bit remote at times but then again I was pretty much out of control most of the time after work,,,
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Sep 15, 2013, 03:40 PM
Sounds like we would have got on very well !!
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Louis Betti on Oct 19, 2013, 05:45 PM
Hi Alan,

Very late to the party here, but thanks for the informative information. It was done exactly as I expected back then.

I've been in photography, as a hobby, for 38 years, and used to operate my own color darkroom. Jobo drum processor, Besler 23C enlarger with color head, color analyzer, etc. Also did a ton of B&W in the "trays" when I was chief photographer for my high school year book in the mid-70s.

I found it amusing that you mentioned that when loading film reals in total darkness that you closed your eyes; I did the same! It actually can improve your tactile feel, as your experience and imagination takes over, as opposed to your eyes trying to see something they cannot!

Nice camera kits too. At first I expected to see a Nikon FTn or F2, but it really is overkill. The Nikkormat was a perfectly suitable, rugged camera, though I would still like the motor drive I had on my F2.  ;) The Metz flash was just perfect, and I can understand the move to the 45CT and internal batteries. I had a Metz 60CT1 with the shoulder pack and, yes, it is a bit of a chore to take around with you, but with a guide number of 198, I called it my "portable Sun"!

Well, that was then, this is now. I moved on to digital in 1999 when Nikon came out with the D1, and never looked back. Photoshop took the place of the darkroom, and you can't complain about "reusable" film. Advanced zoom lenses, great autofocus, advanced light metering with incredible flash coordination; much as changed.

However, what has not changed is the photographer. You still need the "eye" and the reflexes to capture the shot, the personality to get the subjects to respond (unless a candid); the camera and gear still remains just a tool, perhaps a better tool today, but still just a tool of the trade.  :)

Thank you so much again for your memories and, who takes photos in a darkroom anyway? I never took a photo of mine!

Best wishes, Lou
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: SaraSteiner on Nov 09, 2013, 02:33 PM

Wow Alan Snelson
You may not remember me but I was a really good friend with Christine and very occasionally keep in touch with her these days. Think the last time was about 2-3 years ago I spoke to her on the telephone when I was over in the UK.
I was the manageress of Steiner from 1979-until April 1980. Think Christine left just before me. I was known sometimes as Sara in the salon(as there were two Sally's)
I have a photo of you leaning on a cabin door looking enviously at us all having a croc pot party (crew only of course)
I saw Chris a few times in Norfolk and then just once at Hazel Grove when I was working up there and stayed at the farm.
I am now retired and moved out to South Africa nearly 7 years ago and mainly love my life here. I still have a house in Nottinghamshire which I rent out just in case things go 'belly up' over here.
Strangely I took up photography earlier this year. I was in Singapore in transit from NZ and just wandered about Duty Free and ended up buying a Nikon D3200. Didn't even know how to put a lens on the body! Hence I was put in touch with a guy here in Durban called Emil von Maltitz who owns a company LimePhoto and have been on various workshops and courses and have fallen in love with this expensive hobby. However I am in the right country to (try) to take some amazing photos.
I will dig out that photo I have of you and scan it. Need your email address. Mine is sallie.anthony@hotmail.co.uk
Would love to hear from you.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Nov 09, 2013, 04:41 PM
Hi Sallie/Sara

Yes of course I remember you, they were pretty unforgettable times for many reasons. Chris has mentioned that you had been in touch a few times over the years, she is still in Hazel Grove.

My own interest in photography had waned a bit over the years, however I was honoured recently to be invited by Rob and the team to put the 2014 QE2story calendar together and it has reawakened my enthusiasm again.

I know that good digital cameras seem expensive but then good quality cameras and lenses always were, as with most things, you get what you pay for. The good thing now is that there is no extra expense for film and processing and no anxious wait to see how the pictures turned out.

Talking of pictures, I had a rummage round in my collection and found a few of you and some of the Steinerettes, when a group of us took over a little seafood restaurant in Piraeus, also one of me and the other Sallie (I think) on a bus in Montevideo. Enjoy the memories.

Good to see you visiting the forum again.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Rod on Nov 09, 2013, 07:17 PM
Does anyone remember a Steiners beautician named Lorraine Harris?
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Adam Hodson on Mar 26, 2014, 06:29 PM
Thanks for writing this up! It was very informative and a fantastic insight of the Ship Photographer's job and time aboard the QE2.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: rgreen on Jul 27, 2014, 04:02 PM
Hi Alan, just wondering if you knew my father & Uncle?. They may have left just before you started, not sure exactly what year they left but I know he was on there from 1969 until the  late 70s.

 My father also went back in mid 80s after I was born. He was Chief photographer, Philip Green and my uncle Andy Green was part of the photography team as-well. 
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Jul 27, 2014, 08:18 PM
Hi Richard and welcome to the forum.

I certainly know the name Philip Green. I think he left in 1978 just before my first trip, in fact I think I came on as his replacement. My sister Christine would have worked with him and I am sure I remember her speaking of him.

I have a vague recollection of your dad being on board as a relief one time when I was aboard but it was only for one or two transatlantics possibly around 80 or 81.  If your uncle Andy joined in 83 I would have left QE2 by then as I finished in about May 82.

It would be good to hear more from you and maybe see some of the old photos.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: rgreen on Jul 27, 2014, 11:30 PM
yes I think it could have been 78 when he left. I know he also went back on  a few times i think in the 80s so you may well have seen him.

I am still in contact with another one of the camera crew, my fathers best friend Tim Thorn who was on through 1970/80s, some people on here may remember him.

I will collect some of my fathers photos from my mothers house later this week and upload them to the galleries. Think there are quite a few of the Photography crew.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Isabelle Prondzynski on Mar 12, 2015, 10:43 AM
Robert Knowles, another ex-QE2 photographer, has written to us as follows :

Alan. Great article. Wonderful foto of me next to your sister . We were shooting first frame to identify rolls of film. Went on to the Cunard Countess and then moved to the US in 1980. Been here since . Now I'm still in film/ video, still filming events, social and corporate . Great memories on a great ship .

Thank you, Robert!
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Jul 13, 2015, 01:54 AM
Just revisited this post.
When you talk of pay Alan, you fail to mention the last night "sale"

As my predecessor told me-"sell them off the board"
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Jul 13, 2015, 01:56 AM
Does anyone remember a Steiners beautician named Lorraine Harris?

Err, maybe..
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Jul 13, 2015, 05:44 PM
Just revisited this post.
When you talk of pay Alan, you fail to mention the last night "sale"

As my predecessor told me-"sell them off the board"

When I was there it was before the days of on board accounts. We dealt exclusively in cash or credit card and so we "sold off the board" all trip. There were ample opportunities for creative accounting, but in my experience they were rarely taken advantage of as conditions for concessionaires were still very favourable at that stage. There were a couple of people I knew who followed on from me that might well have let their greed get the better of them, but Stuart had been in the game long enough to know when any significant 'off the books' activity was going on. Stuart was on quite good terms with some of the Customs & Excise officers and I know of a couple of occasions when 'rummage crews' were pointed in a certain direction if he felt that he was being taken advantage of.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Jul 13, 2015, 06:22 PM
we used to bag and weigh all the waste paper at the end of every trip. Great way to spend a day in New York.

Actually, cash was a pain to handle as it took so long to do. Every day adding all the receipts, counting the money etc.
In those days I was not used to a husband using his wifes credit card so upset a few people.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Alan Snelson on Jul 13, 2015, 07:55 PM
We never had to bag the waste. All left overs went 'Deep Six' in mid Atlantic.

Dealing with cash was a lot of work. We used to hand write receipts for all sales, we had one of those little devices which held a triplicate fan-fold block of receipts so you would write one out then poke your pen in a hole and the one you had just written would pop forward so you could pull it forward to engage the next receipt, then we would tear off the top copy to give to the customer.

At the end of the day we would go through the receipts and total up the sales, separate out orders for additional copies and then match up the cash to go with the receipts, then package it all up ready to hand over to George in the Bureau. George was a real stickler for detail and order and woe betide anyone who used a receipt block out of sequence.

We had to use a hand powered adding machine/calculator, so you would punch in the value and pull a lever at the side and it would print that value on to a till roll, at the end you could hit the total button, pull the lever again and it would print the total amount. That print out would also go to George. It was surprising how quickly one picked up the skill of using that machine so although it sounds long winded it really wasn't too time consuming.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: cunardqueen on Jul 14, 2015, 01:28 AM
I remember on my very early trips in 86 and 87/88 as a passenger l had occasion to write to Ocean Pictures in Southampton to order some extra photos and a video l think and l mentioned l would be sailing again the following year. Back came the photos and the video and lovely leter from Stuart Hunter-Cox with an attached compliments slip to hand over on my next crossing. l duely kept the letter and slip all is said was "Please make sure Mr Devin is "looked after ""
I had no idea at the time what that could mean, l was a teenager, so on my next trip l was buying some photos and handed over the slip to the kiosk, and the photos were durely placed in the folders and handed over to me, and the words "No charge for these son" l thanked the guy very much and just assumed it was a one off, the next photo session bought some more and some ship views, and the same thing happened again ! l sailed over to New York and home again and never once paid for any photos .

 Then again over the years, l bought every single photo that was taken along with a great many albums, key rings, photo frames. It was l found always amazing just how many folks had forked out money for a QE2 cruise and skimped on buying a proper professional portrait photo.
It was always funny standing getting a photo taken, they would tell you how to stand, quick photo flash, and then the phrase Oh and one more with a different pose...
I remember that little grey devices that you signed, then they would pop the pen in the hole and out came the receipt.
Its ironic in that for all the photos l have over the years, l missed the embarkation photos for the final westbound crossing and the Eastbound from New York.   

Anyone remember the time they took a video at the Captains meet n greet and inserted that into a promotional vhs tape. I dont think that lasted very long? or the other times when you could get your photo mounted onto a plate ?
Then there was the time my shipboard account was wiped clean, it was only after mentioning this to a friend in the know several months afterwards that l mentioned my credit card hadnt been charged and his reply was "No and it wont be"

Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Glenn Copus on Feb 06, 2021, 11:53 AM
Hi Alan, I worked with your sister Christine during my time. From the pics you can see it was very hard work  :)
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Feb 06, 2021, 12:30 PM
Hi Alan, I worked with your sister Christine during my time. From the pics you can see it was very hard work  :)

That looks exhausting work!  :D
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Isabelle Prondzynski on Feb 09, 2021, 08:30 PM
I always appreciated the photographers on board. They had excellent equipment and were pleasant characters who knew how to make us feel relaxed.

We went to the trouble of dressing up, we queued to shake hands with the Captain, and we tasted the drinks at the receptions. It was a real prize to have our photographs taken, pictures that showed us in our finery, and also demonstrated that we were enjoying ourselves. A real bonus!

Cunardqueen, I entirely agree with you that all these pictures were well worth paying for, and that they are treasures and reminders to keep.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Feb 13, 2021, 12:58 AM
The Darkroom, at least one side of it.
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: cunardqueen on Feb 13, 2021, 08:59 PM
  The Darkroom, at least one side of it. 
As the night progressed, how did things develop  ::)
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Tony on Feb 13, 2021, 11:38 PM
As the night progressed, how did things develop  ::)

My brain had even more trouble processing thoughts
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Vincent Scriven on Feb 23, 2021, 01:50 PM
Are there any Pics on the website link from the Last 1986/7 World Cruise or Voyage? that would be nice to see more so if there are any off the Merchant Navy Crew before the Crew Change in Germany? 1986
Thank you :)
Title: Re: QE2's Photography Department
Post by: Isabelle Prondzynski on Feb 23, 2021, 01:59 PM
Are there any Pics on the website link from the Last 1986/7 World Cruise or Voyage? that would be nice to see more so if there are any off the Merchant Navy Crew before the Crew Change in Germany? 1986
Thank you :)

Have a look here, Vincent.


More here :


I hope you will find some pictures that bring back memories, hopefully happy!