by Keith Thompson Published 01/06/2012
It's not often that Keith Thompson is lost for words, but when he was called up to the stage on the Societies' Award Evening to be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award he found himself genuinely shocked and almost unbelieving about what was going on. "I listened to the citation," he said immediately afterwards, "and I found myself wondering who this person was they were going to give the award to. Then I realised it was me, and not only that but so many of my colleagues and members of my family had known about it for so long and had managed somehow to keep the whole thing completely quiet. It was all quite emotional, and I really didn't quite know what to say just at that moment."
Celebrating 25 years as a professional photographer next year Keith is the figurehead of Studio Rouge, and he's proud to tell the story of how over the years his family has supported him and has helped him to make it into the thriving business it is today. "I started out as a colour printer working for Introphoto," he recalls, "doing installations and technical stuff, and through meeting professional photographers I got interested and started shooting weddings myself at weekends. I liked dealing with people and it was the kind of work that really appealed to me.
Phil Jones presenting Keith with his "Lifetime achievement award"
I set up on my own in 1988 and I remember that just after I'd given in my notice and had burned my bridges my wife Debbie found out that she was pregnant with our third child. Our other two weren't even at school at the time and I remember on December 20 Debbie was on the sofa about to give birth while I was trying to get some orders out to clients in time for Christmas. I said to Debbie that I need to get you to hospital and she told me to make sure I finished my framing off first!"
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