Tributes paid to an inspirational Norfolk photographer

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 January 2016

Photographer Richard Denyer. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Photographer Richard Denyer. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


Tributes have been paid to a master photographer who was passionate about capturing images of Norfolk and beyond and was a great inspiration to others pursuing a career in his craft.

Richard Denyer, who has died aged 65, was also one of the founders of Norwich Arts Centre and established the MA in photographic studies at Norwich University of the Arts.

His most recent exhibition, called Affinity and Kindred, closed only yesterday at Norwich Cathedral and was a collection of photographs from East Anglia and the Outer Hebrides.

His wife Caroline said Mr Denyer, who lived near Lyng, had been especially proud of the exhibition because he felt it was some of his best work.

“He was interested in people and places and he took the most honest photographs that he could,” she said. “He would say, ‘all I have done is take a very careful picture’. He was someone who looked at his subject with an open mind and who wanted to take the best photographs he could.”

Special award to be created in memory of Richard Denyer

A special award is to be created in memory of photographer Richard Denyer.

Nicky Stainton, who was a friend of Mr Denyer and a fellow founder of Norwich Arts Centre, said that plans were being put in place to set up the Richard Denyer Award for an Emerging Photographer.

She said: “Richard supported many photographers at all stages of their career through his teaching at Norwich University of the Arts (where he set up the MA course, as well as teaching the BA honours), his involvement in the exhibition programme at Norwich Arts Centre and through projects, publications and exhibitions.

“It is hoped to raise enough money to give an annual award to photographers at an early stage in their career to help them undertake a special project, mount an exhibition or create a publication.”

She said that further details of the criteria of the Richard Denyer Award for an Emerging Photographer and the application process for the award would be publicised at a later date.

Peter Doll, Norwich Cathedral’s Canon Librarian, said it had been a privilege to host Mr Denyer’s exhibition.

“His penetrating eye has captured not only the contrasting beauties of the land and seascapes of Norfolk and the Western Isles but also the enduring faith and spirituality of their peoples with rare insight and sympathy. We are fortunate that Richard’s own spirit lives on so indelibly in his photographs,” he said.

A beautiful book of Mr Denyer’s photographs accompanied the exhibition, and was one of a number of books in which Mr Denyer’s photographs were published over the years.

In 2012 he also created a book to accompany his Neither Land Nor Water exhibition which compared East Anglia with the Low Countries and was held at Norwich Arts 

Mr Denyer, who was born in Gloucester, came to Norfolk in the 1970s. He worked at Hellesdon Hospital before studying art at Norwich School of Design (now Norwich University of the Arts (NUA)) from 1976 to 1978 when he also became a founder and later chairman of Norwich Arts Centre.

After art school he worked as a freelance photographer for publications including the Sunday Times and the Guardian. He became a lecturer at what is now NUA, founded the MA in photographic studies there and also worked as the university’s business development manager.

Professor Richard Sawdon Smith, NUA’s dean of arts and media, said: “Richard was an exceptional photographer with a great eye and sense of place and landscape. Having been a very generous and friendly colleague for many years at NUA he will be greatly missed.”

Steve Forster, chairman of the board of Norwich Arts Centre, said Mr Denyer was “a very kind man who always had encouraging words to give to up-and -coming photographers and was a great enthusiast for the broad spectrum of the arts.”

Mr Denyer is survived by his wife, Caroline, their children, Madeleine and Oscar, and by his brother, Paul.

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