ONFILM November 2012
1972, I was the new guy straight out of school. Pacific Films was definitely the place to be if you wanted to make movies. NZBC and NFU didn’t look like an option, the independent John O’Shea made movies and so did the independent folks he employed.
The first day I saw Steve Locker-Lampson, tall handsome and with that confident booming voice, he was asking the receptionist if he could have a meeting with John… no come to think of it, he was ‘telling’ the receptionist that he was going to have a meeting with John and the way he said it implied that she was going to organise it… NOW!
But it was all so pleasant, he may have even thrown his hair back and lit a cigarette.
A man larger than life, adventurer, racing car driver, underwater and aerial cameraman, historian and writer… and beneath all the gruffness a gentle soul. He brought discipline and craft skills to Pacific Films’ camera department. An Englishman from the aristocracy – Steve led by example. (his dad was a war hero and British MP – Oliver Locker-Lampson).
Steve escaped the stuffiness of Britain in the Merchant Navy and arrived in New Zealand with hope and possibilities abound – he loved this country and would tell you as often as he could – he went on to inspired and mentor the likes of Michael Seresin, Graeme Cowley and Rory O’Shea, then after 9 or so years on the Pacific payroll he abandoned that security and became the first freelancer in New Zealand; risky business – it seemed that the next pay-check wasn’t the motivation to stay somewhere when choosing the new and untried. I came along around about that time.
Steve and I liked each other from the get go. He took me diving, I took him climbing… he always promised that I could have a go in one of those single-seater racing-cars, though they were usually recently crashed or in bits. But I got close enough when I finally bought the XJS. Steve was one of the first around to kick its tyres. He worked at my studio for the next 7 years. Valhalla was a better place because of him.
A gentleman and a gentle person. A gifted man that suffered from life’s cruel fate and fears born of a young man sent off to Naval college at an age far too young by a father who knew no better. Steve an exocentric and driven man. A colleague, business partner and very much a friend. Deeply missed. RIP Steve.