A PHOTOGRAPHER who captured York’s changing landscape on camera over the past half century has died, aged 75.
Dennis Owen Kay, who also worked as a witness to many of the city’s key royal and political visits, was one of its leading professional photographers.
Born in Poplar Street, Holgate, in 1939, he attended Poppleton Road Primary School and throughout his life was lucky to have his close-knit family living in the streets around him.
He trained as a photographer at Kitson College, Leeds and with RB & EB Richards Photographers in Bootham and then, after completing his National Service, returned to the area to continue training and set up his business, KL Photographers, with his wife Delia, and sleeping partner, Tom Lealman, in Boroughbridge Road, in 1966.
The former York Carriageworks in Holgate became one of the firm’s main clients, with Dennis regularly photographing the workforce which helped to provide a valuable record of the lost industry following the factory’s closure in the 1990s. He also photographed the changing face of many of York’s other industries, including confectioners Rowntree’s, Terry’s and Craven.
He helped Delia bring up their three girls, Heather, Rachel and Vanessa, who sadly died in 1977 from a brain tumour, and for some 16 years also ran a fish and chip shop, which had originally been a short-term commitment to help fund his dreams of becoming a photographer.
The couple’s business provided a full photographic laboratory and offered a professional printing service to fellow photographers from across Yorkshire.
The lab printed hundreds of black and white Yorkshire Evening Press photographs ordered by readers and also printed for the Sutcliffe Gallery in Whitby, from old glass plate negatives, offering the traditional sepia-toning process.
Dennis was diagnosed last summer with myeloma butmanaged to find time to indulge in his passions for sailing, and he and Delia fulfilled a long-held dream by moving from the family home of 40 years to live aboard their 57ft barge on the River Ouse.
His funeral takes place at 1pm tomorrow at York Crematorium.