Tysall's Photography

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Christian Fish


Tysall's Photography in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, draws on decades of family experience. Photographer Rob Tysall's studio in Croft Road ran from 2007 to 2016 when we decided to concentrate more on our Words & Images UK work which takes us all over the UK and abroad at times, writing and taking photos for a host of different magazines.
The name Tysall will be familiar with many in the world of photography as Rob's father Doug Tysall ran Tysall & Garratt Photography and Photo Finisher Shop at 75 Victoria Street, Rugby from the 1950s until his retirement in the late 1980s.
Doug Tysall learned his trade during the second world war whilst serving with the RAF. Based in Ceylon his work was with the reconnaissance aeroplanes, developing the film they brought back from behind enemy lines.
After the war he teamed up with an RAF friend - Mr Garratt and they formed a partnership in Doug's home town of Rugby. Tysall & Garratt Photography and Finisher Shop became well known all over Warwickshire.
They worked in all fields of photography from weddings to portraits as well as developing and processing films for the whole of the Warwickshire region.

At its height in the 1960s, his shop was the only photo finishers in the area. Its laboratory stretched from one end of the building to the other, with all the appropriate chemicals and equipment for coping with large orders of film processing.
In those days people used to take their films into their local chemist for developing which was all black and white Ilford and Kodak in those days. The films were picked up from as far away as Warwick, Coventry, Nuneaton and Bedworth, and Doug would drive around to all of the local chemists collecting the films for developing.
He had three girls working for him at the time, with the red light on they would crack open all the cases of films, pull all the film out, hang them on special hooks, after which they'd be dipped in the appropriate chemicals and go through the different processes which included passing along a conveyor belt onto a 5ft heated cylindrical drum with a highly polished surface to dry. Afterwards they'd be sorted out into their relevant packets as prints for the customers and sent back to the chemists for collection. All very state-of-the-art stuff at the time.
The Tysall & Garratt partnership lasted for some years before Doug went it alone and opened up Tysall's Photography in Campbell Street, Rugby.

Others in the photography business remember Doug as being a natural. Mainly he used a Mamiya C330 professional camera, as seen in the photo. People recall that when taking photographs, he'd simply raise his hand and click - he'd got the picture he wanted.
As a father of three children, both his sons, Roy and Robert became interested in photography and studied at college doing their City & Guilds at East Warwickshire College of Education in Rugby.
As time marched on and colour photography began to come in, Doug found that to bring in all the necessary equipment and changes to his business premises and routine would be too difficult for him at that stage in his life especially as he then had developed diabetes which had an affect on his eyesight. In the late 1980s Doug retired from the business.
Meanwhile, budding photographer Rob who had often assisted and accompanied his dad on photo shoots was treating his interest in photography purely as a hobby as music was then the main focal point of his life.
As a drummer/percussionist and singer he played - and still does play, in many different bands including top tribute band AB/CD, which took him all over the world performing. He also worked as a session drummer in studios playing a myriad of different styles of music, as well as writing and recording his own music and performing on TV and radio.
These days, while his musical career is still a major part of his life - so too is his photography, which started to come to the fore in the 1990s when he discovered his photographs were eagerly bought by a variety of magazines and journals on all kinds of subjects, especially when teaming up with feature writer and author, Ann Evans (www.annevansbooks.co.uk).
Having moved to Nuneaton in the early 1990s, for some time, Rob had his eye on a particular building in the town, and thought that if it ever came available, he would like to open a photographic studio there. Then, lo and behold, it did become available and it seemed the time was right to open the shop.
After some revamping and a lot of redecorating, Tysall's Photography opened to the public in March 2007 with Rob Tysall providing a very competitive, fair and friendly photographic service to the public for ten years that hopefully his father, Doug would be proud of. And while it's goodbye to the studio, the photography, writing and music goes on.
Rob said, "I'm sure my father is looking down from heaven, keeping an eye on things!"

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