WELCOME to Behind the Lens, a feature that shines a light on the talented photographers in our St Helens Star Camera Club group.

This week, Malcolm Shucksmith shares some of his favourite photographs.

Malcolm is originally from Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire and now calls Newton-le-Willows home.

Here, in our latest Behind The Lens showcase, Malcolm tells us how his love of photography started when he was just a child and how he now enjoys the processing side of the art.

If you would like to appear in our Behind The Lens feature, email heidi.summerfield@newsquest.co.uk

Click here to join St Helens Star Camera Club.

Camera Club member Malcolm Shucksmith

Camera Club member Malcolm Shucksmith

When and why did you take up photography?

I first took up photography when I was about five years old. My parents bought me a Kodak Brownie 127, which took eight pictures to a roll of film. Interestingly, it wasn’t a child’s camera - it was the same as my parents used themselves. I loved taking pictures from the very start and have always had a camera throughout my life. Over the years, I had a few different film cameras until 2004 when I bought my first Digital SLR Camera. I have had five conventional digital SLR cameras until 2023 when I changed over to a mirrorless system.

I have always had an artistic side although I have a degree in civil and structural engineering. I have two different A Levels in art but no qualifications in photography and am entirely self-taught. Civil engineering allowed me to exercise the creative side of my person by building many different things from bridges to roads to industrial plants. Later in my career, I could use my photography skills to take shots of the sites that I worked on or those I was responsible for. Some of these shots were used in various pieces of company marketing material.

Britannia and Sir Nigel Gresley Approaching Newton-Le-Willows Station

Britannia and Sir Nigel Gresley Approaching Newton-Le-Willows Station


“Taking a great picture is a pleasure but also a challenge”

What do you love about taking pictures?

I’ve always loved taking pictures - capturing a moment or a scene - but when I got my first digital camera my outlook changed slightly. I used to go to places and take pictures but from that point on I used to go to places to take pictures. To this end, I have been to many places in this country but also travelled to the likes of the USA, Peru, China, Egypt, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and many more.

Emmanuel Parish Church, Wargrave

Emmanuel Parish Church, Wargrave

Where is your favourite place to take pictures and why?

I have no favourite place but the majority of my pictures have been taken in the Lake District, The Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. I love the dramatic scenery mixed with the tranquillity of a hidden waterfall.

What is your favourite subject matter and why?

My most photographed subject would be landscapes and particularly waterfalls and I suppose that qualifies it as my favourite. In truth, I just love taking photographs and I will try my hand at anything. I also enjoy the processing side of photography and creating finished shots using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I always say that I used to paint with watercolours and now I paint with pixels. I am the group leader for the St Helens u3a photography group. In that capacity, I set different topics for the group to photograph each month, so this enables me to stretch both myself and the members of the group, often taking us all out of our comfort zone.

Fiddlers Ferry

Fiddler's Ferry


Photography makes me more observant of the world around me

What do you enjoy about being part of our Camera Club on Facebook?

I enjoy finding out about the various locations available to photograph in the area and also sharing some of mine. As a very new member, I am just finding my feet and I don’t have an extensive portfolio of shots taken in and around the St Helens area. I’m hoping that being a member will encourage me to get out of my comfort zone and take shots of subjects that I would not have considered in the past. It would be nice to think that some of the Camera Club members could meet up from time to time at various locations to take photographs and share stories.

Ritsons Force Wasdale Head, The Lake District

Ritson's Force Wasdale Head, The Lake District

If you could photograph anyone/any place/anything, who/what would it be?

There are too many to mention really but I would love to photograph Sir John Gielgud. He has such an expressive face that is full of character. I would like to travel to Patagonia as it’s mind-blowingly beautiful. The Aurora Borealis is an amazing spectacle and never the same twice so photographing this would be a dream come true.

Tast Rabat, Caravanserai, Kyrgystan

Tast Rabat, Caravanserai, Kyrgystan