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End of an era – top photographer bows out of Peak District

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 24 October 2007

24 October 2007

End of an era – top photographer bows out of Peak District

Ray Manley, one of the best landscape photographers in the country, has retired from the Peak District National Park Authority after 29 years.

Ray’s images have symbolised the National Park in all its moods and seasons during those years, with their striking compositions, turbulent skies and dramatic vistas.

His photographs have appeared in numerous books about the National Park, and his images have graced every National Park document, display, exhibition and poster for nearly three decades. They have also appeared in the national, regional and local press, tourism publications and national park videos.

Nowhere were his skills more evident than at September’s UK Association of National Park Authorities Conference in Buxton, when a constantly changing sequence of Ray’s photographs on a giant screen provided the backdrop to a gala dinner.

He remembers, when he first came to the Peak District from the South coast in 1978, enduring a winter, with snow and ice, of a kind we rarely get any more, and struggling to find remote places he now knows by heart.

“I was so impressed by the dramatic scenery,” he said. “I remember walking all over Edale and the Hope Valley taking pictures for the then new Edale Information Centre, and coming out on my days off to do it all over again – I was so taken with it.”

His favourite landscapes are still in the Dark Peak, above Edale and on Stanage Edge. Ray trained at Manchester College of Art, and in those days he was photographing in black-and-white – which he still prefers. But now Ray is moving back to Southampton to help care for his elderly mother and just take photographs for sheer enjoyment.

National Park chief executive Jim Dixon paid tribute to his skills: “Ray has left a remarkable legacy of landscape pictures that will stand the test of time. His photography sets a standard for how all of us view and represent the Peak District. The sheer quality of his work has made our working lives at the Authority easier - we can impress because of his painstaking images.

“He is a professional who is passionate about the National Park, and he is also modest and loyal, with a circle of friends too many to count. Everyone at the Authority wishes him the very best for a happy retirement.”

Ray’s National Park colleagues bought him a black Labrador pup to accompany him in his retirement. Ray also takes an active interest in sport, playing tennis, football, golf and cricket.

This is an archived press release

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