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Who is Hugh Thompson?

An expurgated account of my background

Born in Western Australia as long ago as 1934, my first home was above a bank in Fremantle, my father then being the local branch bank manager. When I was three years old, my parents apparently felt obliged to take me with them and with the rest of the family when my father was transferred by the bank to Launceston, in northern Tasmania. Subsequently we moved to Hobart and all of my school-days were spent in Tasmania.

My first job was in a newspaper office ("The Herald") in Melbourne, not as a journalist, but within a newly-formed team gathered by Roy Morgan who had established the Australian Gallup Poll, it even often succeeding in its election forecasts! In many ways, I wish that I had stayed longer but instead and after just one year I joined an insurance broker in Melbourne, this following a short stint as a National Serviceman (Bombardier Thompson).

It was then that I first became interested in photography and owned a Voigtlander Vito B 35mm camera, which indeed I still possess. It remains in pristine condition but has had very little use for some 30 years or more.

Following a visit to the U.K. from 1955 to 1957, I returned to Melbourne, joining a newly-established local reinsurance company (subsidiary of a UK parent) and thus first embarked on my subsequent career as a reinsurer - if only I had known then of the downward path I had taken ...    Anyway, in 1959, I retraced my steps to UK and have been a temporary visitor to England ever since - married (sadly now widowed), and with two grown-up sons, but of course remaining an Australian citizen. Nevertheless. it was with some chagrin that I found many years back, a renewal of my Australian passport did not include the words "British subject". My right to stay in UK appeared therefore to be less than secure! To put an end to this state of limbo, in 2007 I applied for and obtained British citizenship, after having resided for 46 or more years in England (I would have preferred English citizenship but that has been denied me). Of course I still also retain my Australian nationality.

Mouse over the image below.

I remained employed in the reinsurance market, mainly as an underwriter, and although required to travel very frequently abroad to many corners of the globe, I returned only once to Australia for a visit (in 1972).

From 1991, I became self-employed as a reinsurance consultant, mostly involving myself as an expert witness or arbitrator in reinsurance disputes of which there has been a never-ending stream - an adverse reflection on the standards and competence of the reinsurance market. That was the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my so-called career.

By 1998, I made a few overdue visits back to my native Australia, taking in a few watering-holes along the way. This coincided with my discovery of digital photography and with my re-introduction to photography generally. So I travelled with camera, lap-top and portable printer, to develop this new passion. My travelling days abroad are much restricted, so my stamping-ground for photography is just within Britain, not that it is a real impediment.

I stick to fairly conventional images: landscapes and the like. Photoshop, the computer application, is an essential adjunct to processing digital images (the digital dark-room), and altough wary of going overboard with manipulating the image excessively - you will find I have ventured into areas which may loosely be called "photo art". I have no qualms about altering images for artistic effect - that is not "cheating", because it's the picture which is the objective, and not the production of an exact 2D replica of the subject.

I had become a member of the Royal Photographic Society (with an "LRPS" tag), but no longer. Although I pursue my digital photography hobby with much enjoyment, little improvement is ever noticeable.

Now, in retirement, I have also found time to turn attention to eclectic subjects as may be seen discussed in other pages of this "Reading Room". Nevertheless, apart from my concern over the worldwide population overcrowding and my conjectures about existence, my interests seem to be increasingly computer-related, particularly in using it for graphical projects, eg enhancing photographs.

Having lived for many years in Kent/East Sussex, my wife and I moved to Shropshire in 2011 (to be near our sons), at Church Stretton set in the south Shropshire Hills. Very sadly, my wife "Babs" who had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease died in April 2013. I have received many kindnesses and much assistance from the Church Stretton residents, a community which is greatly to my liking.

   Shropshire Hills overlooking Church Stretton.

My e-mail address is E-mail HMT.