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Matinee: Noel Downey Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

24 August 2019

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 216th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Noel Downey.

Noel Downey was an action sports and aerial photographer in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. After a long illness, he passed away a few days ago.

His friend and fellow photographer Clarrie Bouma posted this slide show of his life, which was played at his funeral in Wollongong on Aug. 16.

Downey picked up the photography bug in 1998, spending 10 years shooting action sports and 15 shooting landscapes. He masted Photoshop as well, adding his own artistic vision to what his gear had captured.

His Web site, Wollongong Images, shows some 600 images of his work, which he also posted on his Flickr page.

It's some gorgeous stuff.

The slide show, of course, is composed of images of Downey himself, as befits a memorial. And it was our introduction to him.

What can you tell about a person from a memorial slideshow?

You see the freckled boy who grew into the slender man who found the things he loved to do. For Downey is was the thrill of diving into the natural world, following the flight of a dirt bike or a surfer coming out of a curl. And recording the beauty of the world around him with his camera. That beauty did not escape him.

In A Minute with Noel Downey, Downey spends a moment after his 2017 guest appearance at the Wollongong Camera Club talking about his use of drones, which he got into quite early. You get a sense of the man from it.

The end did not come easy for him. He had battled cancer, undergoing 10 operations in under two years now and spending months at a time in Wollongong Hospital.

At one point he flatlined for seven minutes. He wrote about it on his Facebook page. After thanking his friends for their help.

He is survived by his parents. And the sparkling images he took of the world he loved.


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