Irene Froy

Irene started photography as a schoolgirl working for the local photographer during school holidays and using the family Box Brownie. On leaving school and moving to Dundee she joined the Dundee PS at the same time as buying her first 35mm camera. In 1965 Irene went on holiday to Dubrovnik where she met Gerry a professional rose grower from Hitchin, Herts and they married exactly a year later. Working mainly in colour slides with the occasional black and white film her interest continued through membership of Shillington and DCC. Hitchin was near enough to London to allow Irene to visit the RPS in South Audley Street and also to see the London Salon exhibitions each year, eventually entering and winning a medal. Irene was elected to the Salon in 1996 on the strength of her darkroom colour prints. She began printing digitally in 1998 from scanned slides and in 2000 was persuaded to accept sponsorship from PermaJet. With Gerry as her driver Irene lectured throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland with her prints on PermaJet papers. She bought her first digital camera in 2003.

Irene was awarded APAGB in 1985 whilst President of the East Anglian Federation. This was superceded by the JS Lancaster medal {HonPAGB} in 2004 for exceptional service to photography. Meanwhile Irene had achieved FRPS and EFIAP and continued her love of pastel images. There were many trips to France, especially the midi Pyrenees where Irene ran her popular photo holidays for a number of years until health issues meant she could no longer stand in the landscape to pass on her knowledge. But her own photography continued. Once Gerry retired they were able to accept the many invitations to show her images in Ireland and they very much enjoyed the opportunities to do this and made many friends there.

Sadly Gerry was diagnosed with dementia in January 2018 and Irene had to take over the driving for the visits to Scotland and Ireland which were already booked. They were still happy times as we had been advised to continue with as many holidays as possible to challenge Gerry. But then Lockdown came and Gerry went downhill very fast which completely stopped photography as he wanted me by his side all the time. By the time lockdown eased Gerry was no longer able to leave the house. Even when he had to go into care in December 2021 Irene had no heart for getting out with her camera. Gerry caught a chest infection in August 2022 and simply didn’t fight it dying in hospital a few days later. This was a release for him as he had hated being in care away from me. So now photography was my saving and I was able to drive up to Scotland for two weeks of autumn photography which I am now happily processing. I am planning several photo holidays this year as I want to fit in as much as I can while I can still cope with the driving and can find ground floor cottages so I can manage on my own. I prefer to be alone when I’m taking pictures and it seems to be working!

All images (c) their respective authors

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