Loughborough Alumni


23 May 2019

Former University Head of Photography’s life remembered in daughter’s book

The life and work of a former University lecturer, photographer and wildlife artist is being revisited in a book written by his daughter. 

Ken Padley worked at Loughborough College of Art from 1970-83, progressing from a Lecturer to Senior Lecturer before becoming Head of Photography.

His daughter, Clare, is now working on a book about her father’s work, aiming to preserve around 150 images taken by Ken whilst showcasing his work to a wider audience.

A progressive teacher, Ken worked closely with Loughborough’s Fine Art department and established a course encompassing history of art, composition and colour theory as well as photographic studio, screen printing and darkroom techniques. He was an important figure in that area of education at the time, unusually bridging the worlds of fine art and photography.

Clare welcomes the opportunity to hear from Ken’s former students and colleagues about their experiences with him. Speaking about her father’s time at the University, she said:

“Ken was very happy at Loughborough. He had a good relationship with the Principal, Edward Sharp and particularly valued being able to work alongside like-minded members of staff including Eric Tranter and the sculptor Ernest Bottomley.

“Above all though, he loved the students. Nothing gave him more pleasure than to oversee their development and their high appreciation of his tuition was clear.

“He particularly valued some gifts from his students of their work, including sculptures of a pair of hands and a pair of owls cast in metal.”

Ken’s interest in art and photography stemmed from a strong love for wildlife, which he explained before his death in 2006:

“It has to be that way. Without a real fascination for and an understanding of your subject your chances of taking a good photograph are slender.

“There are times when the subject in the camera frame is so absorbing, I forget to press the shutter.”

Commenting further on the detail of Ken’s work, Clare said:

“In Ken’s paintings his minute attention to detail and a desire for absolute accuracy ensured that every hair or feather was exactly as it should be, down to the counting the exact number of feathers on a bird, for instance.

“This extended to every detail of the habitat in which his subject is placed. To assume though, that this was merely a desire to reproduce faithfully would be to completely misunderstand.

“The purpose would seem to be to enhance the experience for the observer and to present the essence of the subject in a way that even the highest quality photograph at the time could not.”

If you would like to contact Clare to share your memories of Ken, please contact her.

Photo Copyright - "Fox with Campion": K. W. Padley 

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