Many of the striking pictures used to illustrate the written word of Guild members in farming publications have been produced by photographer Peter Adams, who recently retired from a long career behind the lens.
“I was given the chance in 1960, at the age of only 18, to work as a trainee photographer with the two senior photographers on Farmers Weekly,” he recalls. Sometime later (and it really did not seem very long at all), the photographers’ diary got very busy and I started to go out alone on the smaller jobs. One of these ‘smaller’ jobs turned out to be Harold Wilson opening a new research centre – despite shaking like a leaf, the job went well and my career started from there!”
Spending the next 20 years on Farmers Weekly brought a wealth of different jobs and experiences, as well as recognition for Peter’s skills when he won the IPC Business Press Photo of the Year Award in 1978 and was voted runner-up a year later. There was more recognition in the 1980s when Peter won the Guild’s photography competition.
“I left Farmers Weekly in 1980 to join a group of local papers near to home but as my first love was agriculture, I kept my hand in by freelancing with Big Farm Weekly,” Peter adds. “After two years on the local press, I was made redundant and decided to go freelance full time.
“My first job was to photograph the Royal Show (an assignment I kept for many years to come) and things went well as I was kept very busy by Big Farm Weekly, Farmers Weekly, the NFU, Meat & Livestock Commission and many others.”
At this time, publisher Morgan Grampian was preparing the launch of a new weekly, Farming News. Peter was head-hunted to work on the pilot issue, with a proposed launch date of January 1983.
“The crunch came as the competition between the farming papers grew and the launch date for Farming News came ever nearer,” Peter remembers. “I had to make a choice between freelancing for the other papers or committing to Farming News.
“After weeks of shall-I-shouldn’t-I ? I went for the new publication and am pleased to say I spent 10 full years on a great and very different, innovative paper and worked with lots of new ideas,” he says.
After leaving Farming News to return to freelancing, Peter continued to work for a number of farming papers and organisations, and is among the Guild member photographers who have donated pictures for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution’s calendar.
“I am now retired, and since my wife and I moved to Suffolk some five years ago, we simply enjoy living near to the sea,” says Peter. “I’m kept very busy playing bowls and doing a spot of my own agriculture – keeping up the gardening and growing our own vegetables!”