AN NEW exhibition launches at Ryedale Folk Museum to coincide with the start of the new season telling the story of the life of T. Geoffrey Willey, Yorkshire photographer and man of many talents.

Living to the ripe old age of 103, it is fair to say that Geoffrey, as he was known to friends, experienced – and photographed – his fair share of change.

“With a career spanning many decades and encompassing weirdly wonderful jobs, such as his role as resident photographer and frogman for the government-sponsored Institute of Seaweed Research, his life certainly makes for interesting reading,” said Museum Project Officer, Holly Smith. “However, it is his contribution to photography, especially to the documentation of our local area, that is very significant, providing a valuable addition to our collections.”

Opening to visitors on Saturday T. Geoffrey Willey / A Life Through the Lens tells the stories of this local figure through his legacy of images of Yorkshire and beyond, which were bequeathed to the Museum upon his death in 2015.

“For the Museum, Geoffrey’s life and photography have a deeply personal resonance,” said Holly. “Already an established photographer, Geoffrey was involved from the very start, camera in hand, when Museum founders Raymond Hayes and Bertram Frank were setting in motion plans to create a Museum in Hutton-le-Hole. Their vision was to capture the flavour of the lives of the ordinary people of the North York Moors. Geoffrey was able to document those early days, ready for the Museum’s opening in 1964, offering curious glimpses into what went on.”

Holly’s role was made possible thanks to the funds accompanying Geoffrey’s generous bequest. As well as his photography, the exhibition also includes rare cine film footage. Visitors will be able to see early film recorded by Geoffrey of the North York Moors, of Ryedale Folk Museum, and of his childhood hometown of Scarborough.

T. Geoffrey Willey / A Life Through the Lens is on display in the Art Gallery at Ryedale Folk Museum from Saturday, February 15 until Sunday, March29, open daily from 10am until 4pm. Entry to the Gallery is free.