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Author Topic: John Jochimsen Cunard Official Photographer from QE2 Build to Maiden Voyage  (Read 3576 times)

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Online Lynda Bradford

We received a lovely email from John Jochimsen who was the photographer Cunard contracted to do all the QE2 PR photography, for six years from the time the first part was put down at John Browns until he sailed to New York and back twice on the ship.
 
Unfortunately Cunards sold all negatives and transparences to another Company that he had shot over those years, leaving him with just a few shots in prints he had made.

John Jochimsen has written books and he has brought our attention to these two that he thought may be of interest to QE2 fans. 

Quote
I am writing this to tell you that I published my memoirs a year or two ago called '80 Years Gone in a Flash' and there is a lot about the QE2 in that book.  It is available from Amazon at about £10 and also the picture book that followed it called 'Through the Lens of a Photojournalist'.  There are two edititions of this book costing £12 and £24, the printing being a lot better in the more expensive one.

I was thinking about the QE2 and the amount of interest that the ship has made.  It is quite fantastic that out of all the passenger ships around at that time, the QE2 is the only one that gets most of the publicity.  I was speaking to the PR side of Cunard not long ago and they have hardly any pics in their archives of her.  Anyhow, I have attached a pic for you of her on her speed trials off the Isle of Arran.

Thank-you to John for allowing us to share this beautiful picture that shows the young QE2 looking good during her speed trials
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
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Online cunardqueen

What a stunning photo, showing a smart, crisp and very clean QE2, something she always was until her final days in service....
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Alan Snelson

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So great to see her all shiny and new, what a great image from John.

I have made quite a few enquiries trying to track down some of Johns photos but have made no progress in discovering what happened to them. I know that Michael Gallagher has also been looking for them with no success. It seems that Cunard, under the ownership of Trafalgar Holdings handed originals out to anyone and everyone without realising that they were irreplaceable.

It is possible that there are some images in the Glasgow University Archive as I have seen one reference to some original images being there. Perhaps the QE2Story gathering planned for next year could make some enquiries. https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,6358.0.html
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Offline June Ingram

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I just came across (again) this lovely photo of our beloved QE2 on her speed trials.  Scroll up to the first post to see a really beautiful ship !!   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online Lynda Bradford

I have recently finished reading John Jochimsen's book 80 years gone in a flash so I have written a little review which I will post over the next couple of days.  John was Cunard's Official Photographer for the QE2 from build to maiden voyage and early days of service.  The book cover 50 years of John's 50 year career and one chapter on QE2.



I have enjoyed reading this book, which is an interesting insight into John Jochimsen’s life and his fifty years career as a photographer. 

The first couple of chapters of the book give background information on his family and where he lived from birth to leaving school. As John was born in 1929 these chapters give an insight in life in the 1930’s plus the hardship endured during the war years.  But life went on and John remembers that even bombing raids was not an excuse for not doing your homework. 

After leaving school John had initially considered a career as a journalist, following in the footsteps of his father, who worked for the London Times.  However he decided he would like to go into the film industry.  The older generation will relate to the situation where job opportunities were available if you had someone to “speak for you” and when John’s father knew of his career choice he said he would make enquiries with people he knew in the industry. 

Although John went into London with his father, to make enquiries, it was his own initiative to ask the Colonial Film Unit, if there had any vacancies that resulted in a job, which gave him his first step into the world of film and photography.  This was a “learn on the job” experience and John has a good way of telling his story so that you can picture the scene of him learning the intricacies of working a projector, before being allowed out on set with the film crew and he tells the tales in such a way so as to give you a picture of some of the challenges/opportunities this job presented to a young man.  He soon knew that film/photography was what he wanted to do and took every opportunity to learn from the cameramen. 

John joined the RAF in 1947 as part of the National Service scheme, but after medical examination it was deemed there were limitations on the training and activities because of his flat feet.  When his Sergeant at RAF Innsworth learned that square bashing was not in order for this recruit, John was put on boiler duty to ensure plenty of hot water for the billet.  However after four weeks when John went on home leave and his father asked what training he had been given, he was not too pleased to hear about the boiler duties assigned to his son.  His father, who now worked for Hansard at the House of Commons, had a “chance“ conversation with the Secretary for State for Air, at the Press Bar that resulted in John’s CO being contacted and John was give a posting to Benson, to start photographic training, which gave him a good grounding for his future career.   

The book is amusing and easy to read and whether you have done National Service or not you would laugh at some of the stories John tells.

I will write more tomorrow......... 
« Last Edit: Dec 19, 2015, 01:02 PM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Lynda Bradford

I hope you continue to enjoy my little review of 80 years gone in a flash....

Photographs provide a record at a particularly point in time but it takes a dedicated and skilled photographed to capture that moment.  Today we live in a digital world where mobile phones are used to capture images, but the photographic equipment John was working with was very different, and anyone with knowledge of photography will enjoy and understand the resourcefulness required to get the right results. But if, like me you do not have this knowledge you will still appreciate the initiative that was used at that time with the equipment available. 

One part of the book that I really enjoyed were the stories he tells of the assignments he was given when he joined the Central Office of Information (COI).  In particular I like his story about his first overseas assignment in 1952. He was a young man, in his early twenties when he was sent with a writer to East Africa and Sudan to work for the Colonial and Foreign Offices. 

In Uganda the assignments were varied from taking pictures to show the new prisons or for a story on tsetse fly or the veterinary side of farming.  I liked his story of when camping under canvas, near the Congo border a servant had awoke him with tea and two tea biscuits. As he was sipping his tea he saw his biscuit move and quickly realized that an army of ants was marching off with it.  There is a second part to that story that I will let you read yourself.

But it was in Kenya that the biggest story was to unfold.  It was while Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were staying at Sagana Lodge, Tree Tops Hotel that the Princess learned the King had died and she would become Queen.  When the news broke John, Stan Devon, and a chap from South Africa  rushed down to the Royal Lodge.  An official informed the waiting press that Her Majesty had requested that no photos should be taken, which they respected.  However, John has a living memory that he was there at that point in history, as the new Queen left for the airport, and remembers the Queen raising her hand to wave to the waiting journalists, who had respected her wishes for privacy. 

This section of John’s book gives you an insight into Africa at a time when there was colonial rule along with the tribal culture and the stories he tells keeps you interested and wanting to learn more. 

I will post the next section of my review tomorrow.
« Last Edit: Jan 22, 2016, 05:03 PM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Lynda Bradford

I hope you are enjoying reading the review of John Jochimsen's book as much as I enjoyed reading it.  Although this is a only snippets of the stories in the book, hopefully it gives a flavour of the career of this famous photographer.....

When he returned to London John, had a year or so of what he calls more commonplace assignments.  Although most of us would not call taking aerial photos of fighter jets, whilst fighting the effects of G force, as commonplace.  As you read the book you realise that a good photographer needs to be prepared for every eventuality to get the best picture and John did not seem phased by the challenge of going up in a helicopter or plane to get a photo, especially where the aerial view tells the story. 

As a photo-journalist trains and boats and planes were the modes of transport, mainly to get from one place to another but sometimes they added to the adventure. 

In the prologue of the book John tells how when working for the MOD he joined a flotilla of wooden minesweepers for a trip to Liverpool sailing from Rosyth on the River Forth around the North of Scotland onboard HMS Crofton. When they rounded Cape Wrath  the ship and her crew were feeling the effects of a force nine gale and in the middle of the night John had made his way to the bridge just in time to see the ship climbing over waves sixteen feet high.  But the best was yet to come when the cox’n collapsed to the floor and as there was no one else in the wheelhouse, the Captain asked John to steer the ship.  He had never steered a ship before and these were probably the worst conditions to learn.  But when the ship was safely docked in Liverpool and he related the story to the Admiral, he told him in no uncertain terms that he didn’t intend to repeat the experience.

When in Singapore, taking photos from an Auster, a high winged mono-plane  the engines failed and the pilot glided the plane back to the airport and a safe landing, which must have been pretty scary.

 On another occasion, when a RAF flight was arranged to take John from Malta to an assignment in Cyprus, there was a misunderstanding. The crew thought John was a member of MI6 and could fly a plane.  It was when John found he was the only person on the flight deck and seeing the pilot and crew playing cards asked “who is flying the plane” that the crew realized their mistake and the pilot made a beeline for the controls. 

John’s story continues with many interesting and amusing stories of his COI assignments the far East, his work with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and his freelance work.   John was so successful with his freelance work that new premises and support staff were required to meet the demand and this led to the contract to be the official photographer for the build through to the maiden voyage of QE2.

Look out for last section to be posted soon.....

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Lynda, thank you! I am really enjoying reading this review.

Online Lynda Bradford

Thanks Isabelle, the book is enjoyable to read and my review is only giving little snippets that I hope everyone enjoys.  Here is the last part of my review:

In 1965, he received a phone call from Colin Norton Smith, Cunard’s PR Manager asking if John would be interested in doing the PR and advertising photography for their new liner being built at John Brown’s in Clydebank, which John accepted.   As he knew that thousands of prints of the photos, would be required by Cunard, he expanded his business and took on the Photo Process company and moved premises to amalgamate the two companies. 

John assigned a lot of the QE2 build photography work to his assistants, only accompanying them every few weeks to check on progress.  It was during one of these visits that he decided to go up one of the shipyard cranes, to get a picture of the ship forward of the hull.  Describing the picture he wanted, the crane driver lowered the jib level and in true shipyard style walked onto the two foot wide steel girder. John thought, “if he can do it so can I” However once he sat down to get the photo he found his bottle had gone and he could not stand up.  The crane driver came to the rescue, grabbed him under the armpits and bounced him back toward the crane cab, much to John’s relief.   

When QE2 did her speed trials off the Isle of Arran, John took both colour and black and white photos from a helicopter and in order to get the best picture he had the door removed and he was tied in with a rope.  He says;  “at one point the aircraft was just above the water when the ship came round in a fast starboard turn towards us.  It made a great shot as the pilot brought the helicopter up with the vessel coming at us at top speed.”  He compliments the pilot who was expert at  manoeuvring the  helicopter to get the best photos.   What a fantastic opportunity this must have been and I am sure the opportunity to photograph this beautiful ship will have a special place in his memory. 

In 1969 John and his colleague Roger was onboard QE2 taking picture of passengers enjoying the luxury surroundings on a transatlantic trip to New York. How good does it get being a photographer onboard QE2 to capture the luxury of Cunard’s new ship. I am sure it was hard work taking photos both day and night but concentrating more on the entertainment and the passengers in the bars.   

John told us that Trafalgar Holdings wanted all the negatives and transparencies returned to them and it is not known if any of these have survived.  He asks if anyone has got any prints of the ship with a green stamp on the back with his name and the address in Bolsover Street, London.  If you do have any of these prints please let us know. 

He also said that has said he will give us some photos, from his personal collection, to post on the forum.  Looking forward to seeing these.

John told us “It was six years out of my life and I enjoyed every minute of it as Cunard would not allow any other professional to take pictures of the ship. I travelled the world working for different companies, governments and newspapers but the QE2 was always my favourite. There is a complete chapter given over to the QE2 in my memoirs with some pictures.“

In conclusion I enjoyed reading this book it is lighthearted and easy to read but at the same time it is informative and amusing.  John mentions at the end of the book that he wrote the book for his wife, Chris (now deceased) and especially for his children to show something of what their father did all those days and months he was away from home.  80 years gone in a flash certainly gives a good account of John Jochimsen’s amazing career. 

If you have any questions for John please post them and we will ask him if he would answer your questions. 


I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Alan Snelson

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Your review is interesting and informative. I read John's book a little while ago and enjoyed reading about his life and career.

I did some research on John's behalf to try to track down any of his missing photos that he had given over to Trafalgar but sadly with no joy. According to the information I was given they seem to have been given out by the Trafalgar PR department somewhat recklessly.

I have recently been looking through the book 'QE2 a ship for all seasons' by David J Hutchins, in it are quite a few photos which look as though they could be John's work. The photo credits are to The University of Liverpool, Cunard Archive so if John hasn't already made contact with them it might be worth him giving it a try.
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Offline Alan Snelson

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I meant to comment in my last post about the planking attached to the port bow in John's photo above. It seems to be roughly in the area where the name would be and I was wondering whether it was a painting platform.

It looks a rather precarious perch and somewhat reminiscent of Hong Kong. I wonder what modern health and safety people would make of it  ???
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Online Peter Mugridge

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I did some research on John's behalf to try to track down any of his missing photos that he had given over to Trafalgar but sadly with no joy. According to the information I was given they seem to have been given out by the Trafalgar PR department somewhat recklessly.

I would imagine that lots of them are out there somewhere and they will turn up in time.  It's a matter of looking; if all of us keep our eyes open then collectively we should get some good results.  It could be worth looking at stalls at collectors fairs for example - there are often some at railway open days / galas on preserved railways which include transport subjects other than trains.  We just need to be aware that they could turn up anywhere.
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Online Peter Mugridge

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I meant to comment in my last post about the planking attached to the port bow in John's photo above. It seems to be roughly in the area where the name would be and I was wondering whether it was a painting platform.

It looks a rather precarious perch and somewhat reminiscent of Hong Kong. I wonder what modern health and safety people would make of it  ???

This is clearly not long after launch day, so rather than painting as such I would suggest it may be for the application of the lettering for the name?
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Offline June Ingram

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Thank you very much, Lynda, for your review of John Jochimsen's book.  It sounds like a wonderful read and I look forward to finding a copy myself.  Hopefully, John's photos will surface. 
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !