Press photographer’s new collections of snapshots bring Swindon’s history to life – Swindon Advertiser

HE spent more than four decades capturing up-close ups of Swindons history and had photos published in newspapers and magazines around the world.

Now press photographer Richard Wintle has delved into an archive of more than four million images and collected some of his favourites along with the stories behind them for two new books which tie together the towns history through pictures of the past.

Richard and a team of eight other snappers at the Calyx Picture Agency have had a front row seat at historic moments like royal visits, the closure of the railway works, the Royal International Air Tattoo, the early days of Swindon-born celebrities, the Honda closure protest march, the 2019 election, and more.

They have seen the progression from black-and-white to colour and witnessed revolutionary technological changes which turned photograph processing from a time-consuming talent to something anyone can try their hand at with the press of a button.

Richard said: Ive wanted to do something like this for a long time but never quite known how. My publisher liked the idea and called it a quirky little book.

It all links together, sometimes in ways that I didnt realise at the time, its fascinating.

The quality of a picture is what counts, not what its of, and a press photographer can make a good photo out of nothing, theyre a jack of all trades and master of none.

You have times where the photos work and times where they dont, thats life, you just get on with it, but these are all favourites.

A picture of a Princess Diana fan who met her when she opened the Taurus Industries unit in Cheney Manor in 1985 was used in the National Enquirer, that felt like a real achievement.

How a photo is arranged is the real skill, not taking it. Now my profession is almost gone because everyone can take photos - but not very well - and put them online.

Richard had his first pictures published in the Dursley Gazette at 13 and was paid a guinea (1.05) for his troubles. Bitten by the photography bug, he went on to work for the Gloucestershire Echo, Western Daily Press, Raychem, and the Swindon Advertiser.

He started work on this first collection of photos last year and released it during the spring lockdown, with the second following shortly after, and is already working on a third about the towns sporting history.

He added: There were so many more stories to tell, it seemed only natural to keep going.

To order the first two volumes, A picture is only the start of the story and Another picture, another story, visit

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Press photographer's new collections of snapshots bring Swindon's history to life - Swindon Advertiser

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