Local Face: Chris Harper

  |  Published: Nov 1st 2005

Chris may have 'shot' your wedding, been at your anniversary party, or even attended your child's christening! As a professional photographer with 15 years experience of working in the area, he has become a well-known face in the Vale of Aylesbury.

Owning a small general practice photographic business in Aylesbury, Chris specialises in relaxed, informal wedding and portrait photography, as well as folio and commercial work. He is one of the leading professional photographers in the South East, winning many awards for his images, well-known for providing quality work.

In May this year, he was elected to the role of President of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP), the photographic industry's governing and qualifying body. At just 32 years old, he is the youngest person ever to hold this position.

Chris was born in Aylesbury and attended Turnfurlong and Grange schools. Keen on photography from an early age, he was accepted into the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Westminster College and began his career at Cameracraft in Aylesbury.

Following this, he worked at Hyatt Studios in Tring, then owned by Arthur Hyatt. However, eight years ago, when still only in his mid 20s, Chris took the decision to start up his own business and opened a studio in Temple Street. As more and more of his work was on location, after a few years, he decided to cut his overheads and work from his parents' home in Aylesbury.

In 2001 he moved to Wendover to live with his future wife, Hilary Dean (some of us may remember Hilary from her parents' grocery shop on South Street) and, in December 2002 Chris and Hilary married at St Mary's Church. Unable to resist the opportunity, Chris did take some of his own wedding photographs!

A year and a half later, having sold their cottage, the couple stayed with Hilary's mum for a few months, before moving into their current home in Broughton.

As the business continued to grow, Hilary left her job in the Museums and Libraries Service and, in February this year, began working with Chris full time. They decided from the outset to give themselves until the end of the year. If, at the end of that time, they were still talking (and still married!) they would continue to work together. the time for decisions is fast approaching!

As well as photography, Chris has been involved in Scouting for many years. From about the age of 8 Chris, and his twin brother Peter, have been involved in the movement in one form or another. Their father continues to be active in helping the 5th Aylesbury, having a new building named after him, while Peter and Chris are both volunteering at County level. Peter, as Assistant County Commissioner for Scouts and Explorer Scouts, and Chris as Buckinghamshire's Media and Communications Manager.

With a business to run and a voluntary position with the Scouts, Chris' time is already limited. However, about three years ago, he was approached by the Central Region of the BIPP to stand on their committee. Within a few months, he was elected as Chairman of the Central Region, which led to his involvement at a national level. Last Spring, he was elected as national Vice President but, after just a few weeks, the then President, who lived in the Netherlands, decided to step down and Chris found himself to be the 99th President, 7 months early!

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