Late railway photographer exhibition at Monkwearmouth Station Museum is ‘one of the most popular’

Ian Carr at Willington Viaduct

Monkwearmouth Station Museum’s exhibition featuring photographs by the late railway photographer Ian Carr has attracted plenty of interest.

Carr, who was born in Sunderland in 1937 and lived in the area for the majority of his life, passed away almost a year ago on February 24.

Now his work is being celebrated at Monkwearmouth Station Museum, and staff member Rob Ward claims it has been a great success.

He said: “It’s definitely up there. It’s one of the most popular exhibitions we’ve had.”

Carr spent more than 50 years of his life photographing Sunderland’s train networks, stations and industrial railways. His work featured in newspapers, magazines and more than 300 books.

Ward’s colleague Tonia Dawg feels that Carr’s locality has contributed to the success of the exhibition immensely.

She said: “It has been popular with him being a local photographer, there’s been people coming in who have known him over the years.”

4151 67259 Sunderland station 14-08-57 (IS Carr) 246

Ms Dawg also feels that the subject matter of the photographs lent itself to the museum. She added: “The fact that he was local has contributed to the popularity and also the fact that the exhibition is railway-based. We have people coming in here to train-spot and things so it fits well.”

Carr’s story is remarkable. Having been born in Sunderland, he ended up spending much of his early life in Cumbria after he was evacuated to live with relatives when the Second World War broke out.

He credited the beginning of his railway photographic career as being when he received a Zeiss Nettar folding camera for Christmas in 1954. This particular camera proved to be small enough to be practical and fitted in well with Carr’s penchant for train travel. Ironically, Carr never owned a car and travelled almost exclusively by train.

His first published photograph was in Trains Illustrated in August 1955 and proved to be the first of hundreds to be published in that particular magazine, which was later renamed Modern Railways.

The Ian S Carr exhibition continues at the Monkwearmouth Station Museum until March 31 2016.

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