Ralph Wallis: Is This Seat Taken?
By Bianca Wallis-Salmon
I will be exhibiting the photography work of my Great Uncle, Ralph Wallis at the Walk of Art, as I am a local resident and would love to show his images to a wider audience. Ralph is a lesser-known but prolific photographer, who took up the camera in the 1950’s. He began his career working as a press photographer for the Yorkshire Evening News, alongside childhood friend Peter O’Toole. During the early 60’s he was employed as a technician at Leeds College Of Art, and subsequently became Lecturer In Charge of Photography. I graduated from the College with a Photography degree in 2013, and recently curated an exhibition of his work, as part of their 170th Birthday programme. After his time at the College he decided to immigrate to Canada, where he worked as a photographer for Vancouver Life and Guide Magazine. Ralph has remained in Vancouver and still wields the camera to this day. The work includes grainy cityscapes of Leeds in the 50’s, portraits of its people and more intimate photographs from his personal life.
The title, ‘Is This Seat Taken’ refers to the first thing his wife June said to him aboard an empty bus. Sadly June now suffers from Alzheimer’s and will never remember these moments captured on film. I noticed that she has been the most prominent focus of Ralph’s work, the subject and the observer, the unassuming muse. Taking this into consideration, I have used his images of June as the framework for the project, the vein running throughout the heart of this story.
If you would like to learn more about Ralph and his story, I have produced a biographical photo-book of his work, first edition copies will be available to buy.
Here is a link to my website, which has a bit more information, images and press coverage: