Table of contents
IntroductionThree Ways of Selling
Charles Boyles found a niche not exploited by other photographers. He sold directly, rather than working for a newspaper, or as a studio, or waiting for the clubs to come to him.
Selling to the punters (kids at the ground on match day selling to people in the crowd – no competition for Boyles).
Selling to players and clubs (framed team photos – firsts, seconds, thirds).
Selling to published magazines/newspapers (least common).
1.Selling to the Punters
Did you feel a pressure to sell? It seems that the family income would often be determined by your efforts. It seems a lot to shoulder as a young kid.
No, I didn’t feel pressure. Somebody had to make the money. I took it that I did that. I got the orders from the players. There was no pressure. It was just the family income.
OrganizationHow many photos did you carry per game? How many different photos and how many copies of each?
I carried team photos and photos of the individual players. It depended on the game and the popularity. For example – Bob Rose was very popular. Collingwood and Carlton were the two best in quantity. Some other players, there was no market for them.
Would you normally sell most of the photos you carried?
You had good days and bad days. I would say from maybe a half to the lot.
Where carried and how organized? In a satchel? How were they shown to the punters – on a board, or in your hands?
I carried them in a shoulder bag. I would have a handful of photos. The team photos were the most popular. I would hold on to about twenty of them, and maybe twelve photos of individual players, one of each. To show them to the punters I would hold on to them by hand.
Experience at the groundWere you allowed into the boundary area any time – e.g before, and during the game?
Nobody ever kicked me off, except three or four times. By the police, not the club. I was inside the fence during the play to a degree but it slackened off. It was mainly before the game, at half-time, at three-quarter time. I was also up in the stands. I would catch them at the gate before the game, and after the game I would go to the winning team’s gate. Nobody bought photos if they lost. The lolly boys were also allowed inside the fence.
How about the regular characters at the grounds? Do you remember any other regulars, police, other sellers etc?
There was always a character or two, a couple who carried on like pork chops.
2.Selling to players and clubs
There are many negatives of seconds and thirds teams. Obviously these were not for sale at the grounds but sold to players and clubs.
Yes, that’s right. These would be sold to the players in the photos.
The 1940’s saw the introduction of a smaller yellow metal/plastic frame. Do you know anything about these?
I can’t remember the 1940’s frames. We sold framed photos to players and officials if they asked for them. We had some 10 x 8 inches. (KM – framed photos?). They were larger than postcard size. We would have some of these in the bag at the game – but never more than a dozen. Most of the photos were postcard size.
In answer to an earlier question, you mentioned a roller. Did this relate to these photos?
The roller was part of the glazing process, part of the glazing method. You would roll them out on the piece of cardboard that would go into the frame. The frame was a shiny metal plate. The cardboard formed the border round the photo. If you had a lot of names, they would go along the bottom, and maybe the club name on top. We would sometimes give one to the secretary of the club.
3.Selling to published magazines/newspapers
Selling to newspapers? No. There was no money involved. He gave the photos to his mates, like Hughie Bull.
For two years in the early fifties, Charles’s photos were the only photos that appeared in the Football Record.
I doubt that.
[Editor - See Football Record 1951]
They also appeared in the Football Souvenir magazine in the late forties.
I don’t recall this publication.
Though he did sometimes sell his photos…he does not seem to have showed these off to the family?
We were forced to see them. We worked on them as a team.
(‘My sister did not do much’).
4.Charles Boyles and the photo moment
Charles appears to have taken only one of the teams coming on to the ground. We don’t have any instances of two teams from the same game. Presumably if it rained there would be no photos. Precarious work.
Yes, he only took the one team - never two teams from the same game. The photo was always of the home team, taken at the home ground. He had no time to take both. The umpire was on the ground and wanted to get on with it. Cameras then were not as slick as they are now. He would be ready to take the shot when they ran down the race and jumped on the seat. 99% of his team photos were taken before the match. (He perhaps went to another ground and took a photo at half time, but this was rare). Helpers were available to help him with the seat or the form. He always had three rows (of players) – this was standard. If it rained, he would go back the next week.
He often took two photos of the same assembled group.
He usually had a back-up plate. The glass plate was in a holder at the back of the camera, and he’d slide that off and slide another in. He was watching them. If somebody messed up, if somebody moved, or if he wasn’t happy when he went ‘click’, he would say ‘hang on boys’.
What did he say to them – was it ‘Smile’, or ‘One Two Three Go’, or just ‘Ready’? Did he have a catch phrase?
I was there a couple of times when he took photos. He didn’t say ‘smile’. Footballers preferred to look tough, not smile. They preferred to look like footballers, chests out, not look like Girl Guides. He had a catch phrase - ‘ready fellers’. He held his hand up with the clicker (attached to the camera and clicking/controlling the camera lens) – ‘right-oh fellers’ – and then ‘click’. He’s got it. It was a matter of ten to fifteen seconds.
What are your favourite memories/stories about your father?
My father was his own man. He was off at the (football) clubs, or in the darkroom, or at the local pub with a couple of mates. I have more memories of my mother. She had more to do with me than Dad did. I was allowed into his dark room.
Are there stories he liked to tell?
No, he didn’t tell stories. He was a quiet bloke (unless he got angry). He was very determined if he wanted something.