Gunnersbury Park Museum’s photography exhibition Shooting Stars: Behind the scenes at Ealing Studios opened last month.

Roy Gough was a stills photographer employed at Ealing Studios 1943-55, capturing famous faces during his time, including Audrey Hepburn, Sir Michael Redgrave and many more.

The museum erected five monoliths displaying some of Gough’s photographs, accompanied by information about the artist and his work.

“I think what’s really nice about Roy’s work is, he had a real knack for capturing candid, behind the scenes photographs. They really capture the actor’s personalities. It really lets you see a bit more into who they were,” said Amy Dobson, curator of the exhibition.

Gough had dreamed of joining the RAF at the start of WWII but failed the medical. 

He was then assigned to do propaganda work at the studios and eventually progressed as a stills photographer.

Ealing Times: MAN WITH A CAMERA: Roy Gough. By kind permission of STUDIO CANALMAN WITH A CAMERA: Roy Gough. By kind permission of STUDIO CANAL

Beryl Booth, Gough’s wife, was employed as a continuity girl at the studios, and they met in 1958 on the set of Nowhere to Go.

Gough passed away in 2002 following a short illness, and the collection was donated to the museum following Booth’s death in 2016.

In 2020 the museum was granted funding from the Museum Association Esme Fairburn Collection Fund to work with this unique collection, which consists of more than 2000 images.

The museum's exhibition showcases some of the favourites.

A lot of the images came unlabelled and the museum staff struggled to identify everyone in them, so they reached out to local community groups to assist them.

John Byrne, a retired history and global politics teacher, has been a volunteer at the museum for the last four years.

While volunteering he came across a few pieces of Gough’s work and was able to identify some of the famous faces.

Byrne then played an important role in labelling and cataloguing the collection.

Ealing Times: MONOLITHS: Part of the exhibition (c) Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CICMONOLITHS: Part of the exhibition (c) Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC

Gough’s work features some of the most iconic stars of the 20th century, but part of the collection’s charm are the behind the scene moments photographed.

“People followed the glamour so to actually have photographs of the camera men behind the scenes, phenomenally captured, it has been a fascinating insight into their world,” said Byrne.

Through their work, identifying the subjects of the images, an online community formed and the team created quizzes to get new people involved.

Dobson added: “What was really great about that was bringing the behind-the-scenes work into the public eye a little bit more.

“Getting local people who have a real kind of ownership over this collection because Ealing Studios is very important locally. It was really great to get people involved over lockdown and tackle loneliness.

“I think it was really nice to get people together over Zoom, where they could chat about the photographs and they’ve been credited in the exhibition for all their help identifying the film stars."

The exhibition is free and open to visitors until 11th July 2021.

Featured image by kind permission of STUDIO CANAL.