Carlo Chinca – It all started when I was about 10yrs old. With a schoolfriend and the aid of a Kodak Brownie we bought from Woolworths we took some photographs then developed and contact printed the film in my friend’s coal cellar! In the years that followed I studied part-time at an art school where finally I took up photography and, being self-taught, launched myself into the streets with my Nikon F while working in the hospital mortuary and pathology lab.
I was lucky enough to land myself a full-time job at the age of 19yrs at the Bristol Evening Post commercial darkroom (passport photos, news photo orders etc..). On Saturdays I freelanced for a wedding photo company with a supplied Rolleiflex shooting 12 or 24 B/W pictures which I never saw! I handed in the film and camera and received payment of £9 or £12 cash. This led to me freelancing for the Bath Evening Chronicle and, as I couldn’t drive, any out of town jobs I covered on my Mini Moulton bike with basket on the handlebars for my camera bag! I certainly learnt a lot working for a daily paper and after a while I took the plunge and moved to London in 1976 where I worked commercially for jewellery companies shooting adverts and catalogues. I freelanced for BBC Radio Times, Chrysalis Records and the Telegraph Magazine where my project about the Royal Household Cavalry was published. My travels abroad to New York in particular were taken on by the Telegraph Colour Library along with Moscow, Paris, Florence and Rome made me a steady monthly income for several years. I had a part-time job in the darkrooms of BBC Open University at Alexandra Palace plus a day a week in the darkrooms of The Royal Commission for Historical Monuments in Savile Row. I also assisted the great theatre photographer Zoe Dominic where I learnt a lot working with people such as Rudolf Nureyev, Claire Bloom and Dad’s Army Arthur Low!
After 12yrs in London I sold my Kentish Town flat and moved to southern Spain. I was lucky to get regular work from the English language Lookout Magazine photographing people such as gangster Ronnie Knight and various events. Work came in from the BBC and I was still getting a regular small income from the picture library sales. I became more and more interested in my own work about the people working on the land, religious festivals etc., and managed to sell some of my self inspired picture stories to this magazine. After 5yrs in this country work began to tail off so I chose to move back to the UK.
Back in Bath in 1992 I was lucky enough to pick up work with the Bath Chronicle again. I was also doing stills for films and BBCTV and had access to the Theatre Royal Bath doing a weekly portrait shoot of the prevailing stars of the shows. Many of these pictures went to Camera Press and were syndicated worldwide. I worked for a while with a publisher producing food shots for several books. I spent a month during 1996 in Uganda producing a photo story about AIDS orphans and primary school children. The resulting photos were used as teaching aids in some primary schools in Bath and also as an exhibition in the Royal Commonwealth Club in central London, 1999. When the 9/11 attack shocked the world I got one of the first flights to New York to cover the aftermath. I also returned 6 months later to cover the ‘Tribute of Light’ memorial.
Prior to the Covid outbreak, I would travel regularly to Spain to photograph festivals and note the big changes in village life. I also made many trips to Marrakech which still continues to fascinate me. I look forward to being able to travel freely again and pick up where I left off.