On 3rd February 2016, Grays of Westminster: The Legend and The Legacy was launched at The Goring Hotel, London before an invited audience of distinguished photographers and members of the photographic trade press.
The first speaker was John Walshe, MD of Nikon UK. Here are a few excerpts of what he said:
“I am deeply honoured to be part of today’s celebration of Grays of Westminster: The Legend and The Legacy.
“For me, we are celebrating three things today. Firstly, the 30 years since the founding of Grays of Westminster; secondly, the man himself, Gray Levett; and thirdly, the launch of this exquisite book Grays of Westminster: Legend and the Legacy.
“I’d like to reflect on the book first, which in itself is a work of art.
“Gillian, the creation of this book has been a labour of love. Your skill and creativity shine through from start to finish. It is a fantastic journey through time, presented with such meticulous detail and care. It’s an amazing read and I would highly recommend it to everyone.
“I’d like everyone to raise a glass and toast the author of Grays of Westminster: The Legend and The Legacy, Gillian Greenwood.”
Founder of Grays of Westminster, Gray Levett, thanked John Walshe and gave an illustrated history of how Grays of Westminster came into being. He looked back over his career starting in his teens as a rock photographer. Those early days of meeting and working with major figures in the music business were followed by a move to Hollywood where he worked in both the movie and music business. He returned to London a few years later to run the promotion department of an indie record label and to manage a number of musicians. However, always at the back of his mind was the desire to create a world-class camera store and it was his sister Susie who provided a room next to her kitchen where he began a small second-hand mail order camera company that would eventually become Grays of Westminster. 30 years later, the company Gray Levett created has become arguably the most well-known and respected camera store in the world.
After the speeches, the author Gillian Greenwood signed copies of the book while drinks and canapés were served.