Marion Ryan with Bill Francis
Bill Francis - Photographer
Deceased 7th February 2010
We are sorry to announce the death of Bill Francis, founder of Flair Photography on 7th February 2010 after a short illness.
Bill was a professional in every sense; he never compromised with his work whether it was the taking of pictures or the developing and printing that followed.
He became fascinated by photography as a child and with a school-friend, Ron Cohen and a camera acquired from a friend of Ron's aunt, began taking pictures of other children near his home in Walthamstow, London. Encouraged by his parents, Bill soon had his own darkroom at home and when he left college in 1956 Ron suggested they set up in business together, forming Flair Photography in London's Wardour Street.
A photo session at the Festival Hall on the occasion of the Film Industry Sports Association Beauty Contest led to Bill taking pictures of the winner, Eve Porten-Seigne and he later offered her a job at the Flair studios as secretary to the company. A decade later they fell in love and Eve became his lifetime partner.
Flair amassed a huge collection of pictures over the next forty years including visiting film and pop stars from other countries and nearly every film and music personality in the UK. Bill was always in demand because as one client said, he made one feel at ease and it was easy to smile for him - he also had that knack of 'catching the moment'.
Many of the people photographed by Bill, in the entertainment, commercial and advertising world, became personal friends. His pictures are his legacy and he was proud of his work, but more importantly he valued the friendships that work brought him. As he once said, “I've had a marvellous life in my profession because it was never stale, always exciting, and brought me so many lifetime friends”. His most recent friendship, begun during his final illness, was with his consultant who, on hearing the news of his death, said what we all felt, “I loved him dearly”.