The recipient of the 2008 Award plate had not been told of his selection, but Tom Greeves revealed that it was none other than Chris Chapman, who had been lured to the meeting to photograph the 2007 Award presentation. Tom paid tribute to Chris’s work as a photographer of Dartmoor, although Lancashire-born. He compared him to Ted Hughes, also from northern England, who had made Dartmoor his adopted home. Chris, too, he said, could be described as a poet and was a superlative craftsman with a very generous nature, which shone through his work. He captured the very essence of Dartmoor’s rugged culture. The Award was being made to him ‘for his outstanding documentary photography of people and place’.
Chris Chapman was completely taken by surprise, so much so that he wrote the
following day to Tom as follows:-
“Now that I have recovered somewhat from the emotion and surprise of receiving the 2008 Award, I felt that I should write and say that this award, given to me by The Dartmoor Society, has really touched me. Dartmoor has been my home now for some 33 years and my affection for both the place and its people will, I am sure, keep me tied to its heartstrings for the rest of my life. I only ever intended to stay for one year, working on a set of pictures about hill farming communities that I had proposed to the Arts Council in 1975, but somehow I became sucked in, rooted and made so welcome that I simply couldn’t bear to leave.
Some years ago a neighbour accused me of being unadventurous with my camera, and hinted that I should travel more and see the world. But like my old friend James Ravilious, I found enough to inspire me by staying in one place, growing with the seasons, watching the changes, scratching below its surface and recording all of its very special qualities for others to share. For me TheDartmoor Society is all part of this, a voice that stands up for its culture as well as its beauty. The calling is not a duty as such, but one that is born out of love for place. Please convey my sincere thanks to all concerned. I am honoured to have received this award and also extremely proud to be a member of such an inspirational society.”