Two of the pleasures I have derived from writing The Rolling Road for the past two years are the number of contacts the blog has generated from both friends and complete strangers and the secondly that it has prompted me to search through my photo files and come across hidden gems which otherwise would not have seen the light of day.This photo which I found yesterday is one of those gems.It shows an extraordinary man,Brian Woodward ,in a biting wind at the top of the mountain at Thredbo in the Australian Snowy Mountains.The photo was taken by me on a Noblex 35mm panorama camera which I had borrowed for the weekend.Brian was using his 5x4 Linhof field camera.In typical Brian fashion he had carried this heavy camera and tripod up on the ski chairlift and alighting from the moving chairlift with all that gear was not easy.
I was fortunate to have travelled extensively with Brian both overseas and in Australia.He was always wonderful company and I would always try and position myself to be in a vehicle with him.To say he was eccentric was to sell him short.He was an amazing collector and his knowledge of automotive and photography matters was extraordinary.He was a "one off"and sadly he died way too early in 1998 and he is still missed.My words cannot do him justice so I asked good friend and wordsmith,John Crawford ,who knew Brian really well to write some words.Thanks,John.
"Here is a photograph of a man obsessed with setting up his 5x4 camera near the highest point at Thredbo (NSW). The man was obsessed, not only with this setup, but obsessed about cameras - he had a huge collection, over 3000 in total,ranging from the plebian to the outright odd.
The late Brian Woodward, or as his friends knew him, Woody, was pretty much obsessive about all his pursuits. He was a fabulous journalist, photographer, inveterate tinkerer and general all-round good bloke. Although sometimes his obsessions, when discussed by Brian, could make your eyes roll around in your head.
Just before he left us, he acquired an old Sydney Harbour ferry. Not one of the big ones, it was a modest size. But, he restored it, and took great delight puttering around the harbour with his friends.
Brian was passionate, intense and both highly educated and gifted. His family loved him, his friends loved him, and we miss him a lot. Woody also suffered from pathological curiosity, which is what made him so interesting to know.
His journalism was mostly about cars and cameras, but he could turn his mind and word processor to anything, and it would be eloquent and factually correct (no doubt about that).
In the last few years before his passing, he obsessed over his heart problems, and he was right to do so because that’s what claimed him in the end. But, Brian was actually more worried about the things he would miss out on if he died earlier than he had planned.
He would miss out seeing his family and friends, he would miss playing with new cars and cameras, he would miss new inventions and discovering life’s oddities. He was really pissed about what he would lose if he died. Sadly he did, but he left an indelible mark on those who knew him, and in a form of life after death - we will never forget Woody."