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Photo gallery: Paston Sixth Form College student uses grandfather’s camera for photography project

08:00 25 March 2014

Paston Sixth Form College student Alex Kearns, 16, with his grandfather

Paston Sixth Form College student Alex Kearns, 16, with his grandfather's old plate camera. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

A photography student has completed a school project by using his grandfather’s century-old camera.

Alex Kearns, 16, from Terence Avenue, Sprowston, has been using a plate camera which dates back to around 1913.

The wood and brass object, made by Butcher and Sons of London, was rescued from his grandparents’ loft in Roughton, near Cromer, after a pipe burst a few years ago.

It was used by Michael Kearns, who died aged 77 in 2007. He took up photography as a hobby when he was a teenager and spent his career in the technical side of the industry.

Mr Kearns, who is a student at Paston Sixth Form College in North Walsham, said: “I had been doing photography for a while and thought it would be good to have a change.

“One of the most challenging parts of the camera is it doesn’t have a shutter. You have to use a bit of cardboard to cover the lens up. It was interesting to use because it was so different compared to a normal camera, but it was worth it.”

He took pictures of St Benet’s Abbey near Ludham, Norwich Cathedral, Castle Acre Priory and Binham Priory as part of an AS-level project looking at buildings affected by Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. The camera was adapted by his grandfather to use film and paper, instead of glass plates, and the teenager used paper.

His grandfather, a former group Scout leader of the 1st Rural Roughton Scout Group, was born in Tottenham and colour transparency photographs he took of London were transferred onto glass and used in London’s BT Tower restaurant.

Are you doing an interesting school project? Email


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