JOE GRABHAM EFIAP/s
One of Durham Photographic Society’s most talented and widely respected photographers, Joe Grabham EFIAP/s, has died after a long illness borne with great courage and dignity. Joe, 66, was one of the most successful of the society’s members at international salon level. He was also universally liked and respected for his sound common sense, friendly and helpful nature and dry sense of humour.Incredibly just days before he was taken into hospital as his illness finally overwhelmed him he and his partner Alex Elwood had made the tiring trip from Durham to London on December 7 to be awarded his latest photographic recognition, a Silver Medal of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain for his print ‘Last One Out’ which was one of the top ten colour prints selected by judges for an award in the national Inter Federation Competition. Durham PS was one of two camera clubs in the competition representing the Northern Counties Photographic Federation.
Joe was a school teacher until he retired early a few years ago because of ill health. He joined DPS in 1979, and served two terms as president (1996/97 and 2014/15) and held other positions on the committee. His most recent important role was external competitions secretary, co-ordinating the society’s entries in regional and national inter-club competitions and exhibitions and chairing the club’s selection process. He was also an Hon Life Member of the society
Always a highly competent and original photographer Joe’s inspiration blossomed after retirement as he progressed his interest in digital art, creating eye catching and cleverly conceived images, often with more than a hint of humour.
He entered international salons and soon earned major awards. These included “Artist-FIAP” from the Federation Internationale de l’Art (FIAP), following this up with the “Excellence FIAP/silver” distinction.
Close friend at DPS and fellow international successful photographer Neil MaughanARPS EFIAP/s MPAGB. said: ‘To reach these levels of success, Joe had to meet specified criteria over a number of years and he did so with aplomb, by securing numerous Gold Medals in several international salons. Other notable achievements were print acceptances into the Edinburgh International, one of the most prestigious print exhibitions on the international circuit and in the inaugural “Masters of Print” competition organised by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain in 2017 and also in 2018 Joe was a great motivator to me. He was always over the moon when I won awards and so encouraging. He will be such a huge miss in more ways than one.’
John Cogan ARPS, the man behind Durham Photographic Society’s Portraits for the North East series of exhibitions, had Joe working with him on several major photo shoots. He said:: ‘For those of us fortunate to have known Joe Grabham for any length of time, now that he is no longer there for us to call upon for his advice and wise council we can appreciate how much we are missing. Personally, I am very fortunate to have a handful of photographs, some that are his, that I treasure. Each one reveals something both of the man and of his subject.’
He added: ”On a day’s shoot where several of us were photographing the musician Kathryn Tickell on the Northumberland moors and in her home, Joe’s images are the ones that say most about her.”
Throughout Joe’s long and painful illness he was determined to keep going. Just last August he and Alex were in a group of around 20 DPS members who made the trip to the Edinburgh International Festival’s ‘Fringe – a long and tiring day demanding more than a little stamina.
Alex told me: ‘He never complained about his illness or appeared to feel sorry for himself.’ And she added: ‘He was determined to continue.’
Joe’s photographic skills earned him a world-wide audience. and enormous respect from leading photographers and club photographers alike. He was photographically successful right until the end. During 2018 he won three major competitions at Durham Photographic Society – The Sterling Award and the Digital Trophy, both for projected images and the Valente Cup for the best set of three prints. He was due to receive these trophies at the club’s annual dinner and presentation night in March.
Joe Grabham had a unique photographic talent but above all he was a wonderful human being, universally admired and a good friend to many of us at Durham Photographic Society.
His funeral is in St Cuthbert’s RC Church, Old Elvet, Durham City at 11.30am on Wednesday January 23.
David Trout LRPS