Doug Camp’s photos documented life in Grey-Bruce over 40 years.
The long-retired Sun Times chief photographer died in Owen Sound hospital at 4 a.m. Saturday, with his daughter Susan at his side. Mr. Camp was 88.
He’d been in and out of hospital with recurrent pneumonia, Susan Camp said Monday, from her father’s apartment in Kelso Villa, where he’d been living for 3 1/2 years. A memorial will be held at the Owen Sound Legion in early April.
Mr. Camp started at The Sun Times in 1948, when he was 18. He knew nothing about photography, he admitted to Sun Times reporter John Wright in a Dec. 29, 1990, story about the photographer’s imminent retirement after 42 years service.
He started out in the back shop doing photo engraving before he was allowed to take pictures. He learned his craft by doing, without much guidance from senior photographers. During a vacation he attended a photography course in Rochester.
“The first picture I ever took for The Sun Times was of former prime minister Louis St. Laurent who was visiting,” he said in that retirement story. “As backup photographer, I leaned out the third-floor window of the newspaper located on main street then and shot him as he went by.”
He said he photographed every prime minister since then except then-prime minister Brian Mulroney, who never visited the area.
He photographed uncounted teas, fires and car crashes too — at all hours. One award-winning shot captured a young woman who’d dunked her head in the water on a summer day at Harrison Park. It shows her flinging her hair back, the spray suspended in mid-air.
Willy Waterton succeeded Mr. Camp as chief photographer. He said Mr. Camp was very well respected among his peers in the newspaper business and won awards at the Western Ontario Newspaper Awards.
“I certainly respected him. He took some outstanding images,” he said.
“Doug was a fixture in the newspaper world in Owen Sound . . . He photographed 42 years of the history of Owen Sound. And that’s an amazing accomplishment — not only Owen Sound but also of Grey and Bruce.”
And in those early days, Mr. Camp used a Speed Graphic camera, which shot only one image before the film had to be changed. Waterton noted that meant Mr. Camp had to be good or he could miss his shot.
Camp’s personality suited his newspaper duties. He was a likeable character who enjoyed meeting people, sharing stories and he was quick with a joke. “He certainly made me laugh a lot,” Susan Camp said.
Mr. Camp enjoyed British comedies — Keeping up Appearances, Last of the Summer Wine, One Foot in the Grave, the Mr. Bean shows and Benny Hill.
Though Mr. Camp was born in Owen Sound, his parents moved back to England, where they were from, when he was two years old.
Mr. Camp, one of nine siblings, came back to Canada when he was 18.
“He was a very proper man in terms of his manners,” and he always dressed well, Susan Camp said. “He was of the era that if you were going on vacation and on a flight you dressed to get on an airplane, you dressed for dinner.”
In retirement, his wife Peggy would get annoyed when her husband went with her while grocery shopping because he’d always stop and chat with people he’d photographed, stretching out her quick trip to the store.
“And he loved when people would stop him on the street and say ‘Oh, you took my picture when I was a child’ . . . He really enjoyed knowing that people were very happy and pleased with his photographs.”
He loved gardening and had lots of friends with whom he socialized, often as part “of the five o’clock club” up at the officers’ mess at the Armoury. He was a member of the Grey & Simcoe Foresters and of the Legion and he was a Shriner.
He and his wife, who in her career was a nurse and manager in the nursery at the hospital, wintered in Portugal and at a condo in Florida for years. Peggy Camp had Alzheimer’s disease in the latter stage of her life and died in 2017 in Lee Manor.
Mr. Camp’s arrangements are being handled by Brian E. Wood Funeral Home. Donations to the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce are suggested as an expression of sympathy for those wishing to donate in his honour.
Mr. Camp is survived by daughter Susan Camp of Toronto, son Stephen and his wife Laura Camp of Houston, Tex., and grandchildren Ashley and Rachel Camp. He’s also survived by his sister Wendy Stiteler and her husband Fred of Florida, and sister-in-law Dorothy Shortt of Kitchener and nephew Paul Hughes of Windsor.
He was predeceased by his parents, Herbert and Daisy Camp.