5.12.1930 – 1.4.2019
We were very sad to hear from his wife Kate that Tony had died earlier this year.
Noted for his work in television on both news, drama and series Tony worked as a senior Film Cameraman during TWW/Harlech/HTV Wales days and remained living happily in Cardiff and latterly in Carmarthenshire.
A charming man he was elected to the BSC in 1992.
Tony was one of the first news film cameramen to reach the Aberfan disaster and the effect of that day always stayed with him. For this, he won an ITN News Award for best Film Cameraman. Tony always said he was never sure if he should put down the camera to help dig people out or continue filming to show the world what had happened.
Tony’s career continued to grow and he went on to win a number of awards.
Tributes to Tony below, from Roger Pearce ACO, Ass. BSC, John Inglis and Peter Thornton show how passionate Tony was about his trade and how he encouraged others to be the best. He was motivated by high standards, good quality and innovation. All who met Tony remember his wicked sense of humor and feel very fortunate to have learnt so much from him. He will be missed greatly.
In television Tony’s work would encompass news gathering, he was a photo journalist before joining TWW, sport and documentary coverage and high end coproductions with American TV companies.
Tony did like the bigger picture so, when we shot filmed inserts for studio plays or, indeed shot an entire story on film and the budget allowed, Tony’s regular package was usually a blimped Arri 2C, Worrall geared Head, Elemack spyder and if there was space, a Movieola Crab dolly. Lighting wise, a couple of Brute arcs were usually not far away too.
Tony won a prodigious ITN award for his coverage of the Aberfan disaster and in complete contrast, his memorable work on the much acclaimed John Betjeman series exploring Victorian England.
I joined HTV Wales in 1968 having worked in a small studio in Bristol for some four years making TV commercials and Industrial films as they were called then. HTV had a film division consisting of four regular crews working out of Cardiff, it was here I first met Tony. We as assistants would be assigned to a different Cameraman for a few weeks or months, or for a particular project. Once Tony learned I had ambitions to become a Camera Operator, he could not have proved more helpful.
When shooting a documentary for instance he would turn to me and say, “here, you do this one” be it a shot or a sequence, he’d let me take the pan bar. There were only the two of us on camera so if a shot needed any focus adjustment, he was never too proud to stand by me and adjust the lens himself leaving me at the eyepiece. Similarly, on the bigger shoots, Tony would light and operate on a geared head, during the down times he would say,” get on the camera and have a play”
I am forever in Tony’s debt, fond memories and ‘happy days’
Roger Pearce ACO, Assoc BSC
"Tony taught me so much and a great deal about shooting in natural light and I was hugely in awe of his skill. One could always tell an Impey shot, it had a magic about it. Even though later I got to know many of the top Cinemaphotographers in the country I still feel most influenced by Tony. He was on television not long ago talking about the John Betjeman films of the mid 1960s made for TWW, then the ITV franchise holder for Wales and the West and which were hugely successful and which I worked on too. He did have tremendous luck when shooting though, I can remember once a Director wanted to get a shot across a South Wales valley. When we got to the location it was overcast and quite dismal but we set up the camera anyway. Tony waited a while looking through his pan filter at the sky, then started his Eclair NPR camera he used to use and this wonderful light suddenly swept across the valley from a gap in the clouds, turning a depressing dull valley into a moving image of great beauty. He used to joke to me "Every frame a Rembrandt". But actually he was a very modest man and embarrassed when people complimented him".
I learned so much from Tony. He had a wicked sense of humor, he used to give people humorous nicknames. He was passionate about his trade. He will be missed.
Some of the comments on Peter's post -
'He was, in the true sense of the word, a gentleman'.
'He was a fab cameraman and a great character'.
'Tony will be greatly missed both for his talent and his kind way with everyone, regardless of who they were in life'.
Tony Impey BSC - Part Filmography
‘Betjeman’s West Country (1962-3)
‘To Ride a Wild Horse’ – Arizona photography
‘Arthur of the Britains’ (1972-73)
‘Border Country’ (1979)
‘John Silver’s Return to Treasure Island’ (1986)
‘Grand Larceny’ (1987)
‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ (1987)
‘Freedom Fighter’ (1988)
Aberfan Disaster ITN News Award
TWW Film Cameraman TWW Award