Sunday History Photo / Person

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 27, 2010 at 00:49
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Keith Richard Stevens was born in the suburb of St Peters in Adelaide on October 3rd, 1921. He was the eldest of three children to Richard Arthur Stevens of Kadina and Hilda Lucy Oakley of Prospect Hill. His father was originally a blacksmith and then a miner, before moving to Adelaide and working as a builder.
Keith's photographic career began as he took photographs of the houses that his father built. Perhaps he found the subject matter too easy for he soon moved on to football and rodeo events, taking it to a whole new action level as a freelance photographer on weekends, while he tried to hold down employment first as a mechanic's assistant and then a cadet engineer, in addition to studying at the School of Mines (now Adelaide University) for 16 hours per week on a part-time scholarship.
After 4-5 years of the weekend freelance work, he was noticed and employed by RM Williams to work at his magazine "Hoofs and Horns" in April of 1949. Four years into this employment would see him take 'that photo', the famous picture of Alan Woods on Curio at Marrabel, SA, still widely recognised today.
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Seven years later he travelled to Rome as official equestrian photographer for the Rome Olympics.
In 1961 he married Eva, originally a stenographer at the RM Williams office who moved around the corner to Hoofs and Horns to work as proof reader extraordinaire on the magazine side of the business. They were married on his 40th birthday. He became step-father to Kay,Eva's Daughter who had lost her father at a very young age. By now, Keith was photographer and editor at Hoofs and Horns, a position he held until his retirement in 1986.
At retirement, Keith decided to put his cameras away for good. The thing people might not fully appreciate about Keith is that he had very definite ideas and was fully committed to whatever he decided to (or not to) do. In today's society it might perhaps be seen as a mild degree of Aspergers. His fixation on his life's work was over and he now shifted his focus back onto the game of Bridge that he had loved as a younger man. He often lamented that he could have been a professional player had work not interrupted his game.
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Keith was so fixated on winning at Bridge that Eva had to persuade him to occasionally let others win as they used to play together socially and he was not generally given to rules of social etiquette in the conventional sense. He had difficulty moving to everyday conversation, unable to relate to people and their feelings, which could make him seem remote and uncaring. However, he was always ready and willing to engage on topics that were of special interest to him, such as share movements, bridge strategy and the perfect place to build a house.

Keith is survived by his step-daughter Kay (his Wife Eva passed away in 2001) and his two step-granddaughters, Elizabeth and Karen. Karen is currently researching his life's work and plans to write a book as a tribute to this man who left an amazing legacy to the equestrian and rodeo communities.

I would like give special thanks to Karen Raymond for the 2 b/w photo's of Keith and the information about his working life. Without Karen’s assistance this story for Sunday History Photo would not have been possible.

The email from Karen that led to this story

Dear Doug

I found your website after a google search, trying to find out if any of my Grandfather's work or professional achievements had been put on the Internet anywhere. My Grandfather was Keith Stevens, who sadly passed away yesterday, aged 88. The Marrabel website was a great find but your tribute page to Curio with the inclusion of the news article about the man behind the photograph was a lovely surprise. Thank you.

Do you happen to recall where that article by John Kruger was published?

Kind regards and thanks in advance.

Karen Raymond
Prospect, SA

Also for the readers of RM Williams “Outback Magazine”, keep an eye out for a story about Keith in the near future.

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Reply By: Member - GeeTee (NT) - Sunday, Jun 27, 2010 at 07:59

Sunday, Jun 27, 2010 at 07:59
An interesting read as usual.

Thanks Doug.

AnswerID: 422237

Reply By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 27, 2010 at 10:01

Sunday, Jun 27, 2010 at 10:01
Thanks Doug for another wonderful dip in the Austrailan history. I think i jump on just for the lesson first before anything else.
AnswerID: 422247

Reply By: Member - Patrick (QLD) - Monday, Jun 28, 2010 at 05:03

Monday, Jun 28, 2010 at 05:03
A great follow-up to lasts weeks 'Curio' story.

Love the living history of this country.

Well done Doug

Patrick

AnswerID: 422330

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