News reaches me of the passing of press photographer John Shelley, aged 81. John was one of the first ‘modern’ UK Royal Family press pack photographers having received a phone call from Buckingham Palace in the summer of 1978 asking if he would like to accompany Price Charles on one of his first official oversees tours. John accepted and the royal press pack stories started! …..
I had the pleasure of spending a few months with John in 2008 when he approached me to sell his photographic library – his life’s work. He always spoke of us having our meetings over lunch at the Dorchester Hotel but we always ended up in a nearby coffee shop. John conducted the sale of the library with great clarity, he knew exactly the figure he wanted for it and that figure was sensible. I had sold the library within four weeks and for a little more than the asking price.
We stayed in touch via long phone calls and shared an occasional bottle of good red at his home in Brondesbury Park, London. He loved his time as a press photographer and photo agency owner, Prince Charles always gave him a nod at a press occasion and his stories of the apres-shoot activity on a foreign tours were wonderful.
Mary, John’s wife, predeceased him by a year. Mary ran the photo commissioning and booking side of the JS Library International photo agency she would liaise with Buckingham Palace press office booking Royal shoots.
John’s library of Royal Tours was sold to photo agency LFI and now resides with and is represented by London photo agency Photoshot.
Debrett’s has John’s recreations listed as : ‘cooking, fine wines and food, gardening, travelling the world, collecting books and films, photography’. Spot on!
John died just before Christmas 2013 he was born in 1932 – R.I.P. John.