Paul Farrar - the Middlesbrough priest with a keen eye for photography
PUBLISHED: 15:13 07 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:28 20 February 2013
A priest from Middlesbrough found photography was the perfect way to relax
Stay snap happy
To see more of Pauls pictures, and to share your own shots of Middlesbrough and the Transporter Bridge, log on to our gallery
The Transporter 100 years of the Tees Transporter Bridge by Dave Allan is priced 15 and is available from all good Teesside booksellers or online from www.mfcofficialdirect.co.uk
When a friend told him he was working too hard, Catholic priest Paul Farrer took up photography as a way to unwind. He suggested I take myself off for a walk. When I said I had no reason to go for a walk, he said: Buy a camera! He was absolutely right. I love it.
A decade later, Paul has built an enviable reputation for his work. His images featured in a coffee table book commemorating the centenary of the Transporter Bridge and photography is now an integral part of his working life.
Photography has taught me to pay attention. There are so many wonderful and beautiful things happening every day, he said. A good photographer can see those moments and capture them. In that sense, the most important piece of equipment for a photographer is his eyes.
When I have my camera in my hand I slow down and become much more aware of my surroundings. Its a great way to become completely taken up in an event or moment or in someone elses experience.
Paul says he is particularly proud of his 23involvement with the Transporter book project, where 50 of his images were used.
It was an honour to be involved with. I thought if I took one that was published I would be pleased. Now, my photos have become part of the heritage of the bridge I cant put into words how pleased I am about that. It is a very humbling thought.
The book was witten by Dave Allan and published by Middlesbrough Council, and tells the history of the iconic structure that dominates the Teesside skyline.
Dave said: Paul spent many hours at the bridge, in all weathers, day and night, waiting and searching for the best shots and less obvious camera angles. For someone who is so modest about his photography, I believe he has produced arguably the best ever photographic study of Teessides greatest landmark.
Pauls impressive portfolio includes a range of images that capture the landscape and coastline of the region but away from famous Teesside attractions, his favourite subject is people. I like getting quirky, candid shots of people getting on with life. Whitby is a great place for that.
Photography started as a distraction for me but it has developed to the extent that it has now become embedded in my work.
Originally from Hull, Paul lived in Valladolid, Spain, for six years where he trained to be a Catholic priest. Following his ordination in 1994, he moved to Middlesbrough and has lived and worked in Teesside since.
I love the North East when I first arrived here I remember a guy on the local radio used to call the region Gods little allotment and he was right. We are so close to so much wonderfully dramatic coastline and countryside there is even an historic beauty about the industry of the area.
Paul has served as a parish priest in Middlesbrough and Normanby and is now the Middlesbrough Diocesan Youth Chaplain. I love Middlesbrough and I feel very settled here, he said.
For me the people are inspiring. Middlesbrough is clearly facing its challenges but the people here are very proud of the region, and rightly so. Its a marvellous place.