A TOTTINGTON photographer has been awarded one of his industry's highest honours after almost 50 years in the business.

Steve Gill, who operates a photographic restoration business, Photo Consult, from his Cann Street home, has recently become a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and also an Accredited Senior in Imaging in the Creative Industries.

Photo restoration has not been recognised by photographic organisations as a specialist subject before and Steve believes his award is the first of its type in the country.

Steve, who has been a professional photographer for almost 50 years and a restorer for 20, retired from mainstream photography two years ago to concentrate on restoring old photographs.

He has also become known around the North West as an entertaining speaker at various local history societies and is a registered speaker for the Federation of Family History Societies.

"I was introduced to photography when I was about seven and thankfully had parents and grandparents who valued family photography," said Steve. "As time has passed I have inherited thousands of images."

Steve has used lockdown to write a book on the history of family photography called The Family Detective and has also developed new ways of capturing the detail from old photographs and analysing the stories they tell which he highlights in his book.

He said: “During lockdown I haven’t been able to travel to all the societies I usually do so used the time to put down on paper the tricks of the trade I have learned over the years.”

Steve has also been undertaking lectures further afield than normal by doing Zoom talks with many more booked for 2021.

“Local history societies have taken on board the difficulties of getting people together and managed to bring much of what they do online," he said.

"It’s great to be able to talk to groups all over the country without leaving home.”