PERCEPTIONS, PATRICK LICHFIELD (1939-2005)

Lichfield started taking photographs from the age of eight. He never stopped. With the pressure of a difficult home life, and the weight of family responsibility on his shoulders, photography promised an exciting escape. It was at Harrow School that his photographic and entrepreneurial flare first shone through, when he undercut the school's hired portrait photographer and took the leaver portraits of his friends and fellow classmates.

After school, Lichfield enrolled at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. However, photography was his real passion, and he left the army to pursue a career as full-time photographer. His family was not encouraging, one member in particular declaring that a photographer was worse than being an interior decorator, only marginally better than a hairdresser.' However, typically, he did not listen and went on to fulfil an immensely successful forty-year career.

Lichfield had an ability to capture people at ease. Often portraying a variety of moments and natural poses, he revealed the true character of his subjects. He was equally happy photographing the social scene of the Swinging Sixties and the Royal Family, as he was documenting London and its social issues. He was often found on the streets of East London snapping away at the stall holders and market sellers, or in Hyde Park photographing the characters found at Speakers' Corner.

Lichfield's ability to get along with people from all parts of society was crucial to his career, and is widely evident in the legacy he has left behind. A loyal friend to many, he had few airs and graces. His diverse interests brought him into contact with people from every walk of life.

Perceptions was created to show the lesser-known aspects of Lichfield's rich archive. Whilst fans of his portraiture will find much to enjoy, they will also delight in a wealth of images that they might have not associated with the photographer. Our exhibition will be a mixture of new and unseen work, vintage prints and iconic pictures taken from all periods of his career. It is a testament to his love of photography, whether he was in the studio, on the streets, in far flung locations or at his beloved home in the country, and it just might change perceptions of Lichfield's work.