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'She loved people and it showed in her work' - Tributes paid to Norfolk photographer who died in crash

PUBLISHED: 17:12 24 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:03 25 March 2018

Charles and Elizabeth Handy at the Acorns photographic exhibition in the Corn Hall, Diss. Photograph Simon Parker

Charles and Elizabeth Handy at the Acorns photographic exhibition in the Corn Hall, Diss. Photograph Simon Parker

Archant

Friends and family will gather next week to remember a talented and creative portrait photographer who died in a road crash near her South Norfolk home.

Portrait photographer Elizabeth Handy. Picture: ELIZABETH HANDY.Portrait photographer Elizabeth Handy. Picture: ELIZABETH HANDY.

Grandmother-of-four Elizabeth Handy “loved people” and over a quarter of a century of work she adapted David Hockney’s jigsaw images into what she called her ‘joiners’ - composite portraits that combined at least three images of an individual in one picture.

The approach was born of her desire to show that no one is just one person.

She then took the 17th century Dutch still life portraits as the model for a personal still life, inviting her subjects to choose five objects, and a flower, things that say something about their lives and values and arrange them on a table for her to photograph.

The result was a personal artwork to hang on the wall, a constant reminder of who they wanted to be.

"The New Alchemists"

Her counselling training with Relate led her to use her photography as a form of photo-therapy.

Her husband Charles, 85, said: “With her camera she found qualities in her sitters that they did not know they had.

“She loved people, all people, and it showed in her work. She was prolific, with exhibitions in four continents, five books of portraits and lovely images hanging on the walls of most of her friends and acquaintances.”

But the 77-year-old was not just a photographer.

Born in Farnham, Surrey, Mrs Handy grew up around the world as an Army daughter.

She was also the adored mother of Kate and Scott and grandmother-of-four and still found time to act as the agent, manager, counsellor and passionate advocate for her husband, a social philosopher and management author to whom she had been married for 55 years.

During the years that they toured the world lecturing and speaking, they were known collectively as “LizandCharles”. Mr Handy said: “It was well understood that if Charles was invited Elizabeth was also on the ticket.

“She was there to make sure that everything was done properly. She tolerated no fools.

“Throughout her life she constantly challenged convention, respected no hierarchies, allowed no excuses.

“Her formal education was minimal but, she said, that meant that her curiosity was left untouched.

“To her any event was another experience to learn from. Everything could be done better, organisations were stupid places, devoid of common sense.

“People, on the other hand, were wonderfully interesting, particularly when viewed through the lens of a Hasselblad camera.”

Mrs Handy died on March 5 in a four-vehicle road accident on the A1066 in Garboldisham, three miles from the home she loved in Low Road, Bressingham.

Mr Handy said: “She had always said that she wanted to die happy, looking forward, not sad and looking back and would like death to come suddenly and painlessly.

“She had her wish although it came too early for those who loved her.”

Mrs Handy’s funeral will be at 3pm on Thursday, March 29, at St John the Baptist Church, Bressingham. No flowers please.

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