Profiles - A Light-Hearted Look at Industry Personalities

Wyatt Enever

Joint Managing Director, DHA Lighting

No. 13 in a continuing series

Wyatt Enever

Caricatures by

David Lewis

The flat plan of Wyatt Enever's career began in 1970 when he started work as a technical photographer for the Mapping and Charting Establishment (part of the Ministry of Defence). Whilst there he attended the London College of Printing, finishing after five years with an HND in Printing Technology - specialising in photographic reproduction. Continuing at the MOD, his time was spent on various R&D projects and training others for 'mapping in the field'. Searching for a new and more interesting dimension in his life he duly left the establishment in 1977, and spent the next couple of years working as a freelance photographer, supplementing his income with a variety of part time jobs - mostly connected with the motor trade.

By 1979 he vowed never to photograph another wedding and set off in May for a warmer climate. After six months travelling and living in a VW van in Southern Europe the money eventually ran out and he returned to sunny Cobham in Surrey, immediately taking up with the Citroen dealer in the area and resuming the work he had left half a year earlier.

"Almost immediately I met an interesting man who was buying a new car," Wyatt explained. "His name was David Hersey, and he had a company just up the road known as David Hersey Associates. This was then a lighting equipment sales and hire company plus a lighting design practice, with gobos forming a part of the sales operation. I started work for David's company on the 14th January 1980, where my photographic experience and knowledge of now almost obscure printing techniques proved quite useful.

"By the summer of that year I had set up a small stainless steel etching line and we were soon producing custom gobos 'in house'. The gobo business began to grow faster than either of us would have thought likely, and in mid 1981 when the company David Hersey Associates was split into two separate concerns I was asked if I wanted to "get serious" regarding the gobo business."

DHA Lighting was formed in July that year, and Wyatt found himself a director of a company whose main business was gobos. The operation expanded rapidly and in 1983 the company moved to Kennington, South London. "We were just five strong then," continued Wyatt. "The range of products started to grow, moving effects began life as gobo rotators and animation effects, the first light curtains appeared and a lighting design practise was formed. Additionally we set up a screen printing buisness producing printed fabrics for theatre applications on a table measuring 6.5 by 1.7 metres."

The pace of growth accelerated and in 1989 the company, now around 15 strong, moved to larger premises in Jonathan Street, Vauxhall. Expansion continued regardless, and despite consolidating on the things it did best, by the end of 1995 when the company moved to a larger premises in Waterloo Road, the number of staff had increased to 35. "One of my main tasks at this time was to switch the gobo tooling over to digital filmsetting from the 'conventional' photographic processes that we had employed up to this time," explained Wyatt.

"Another six years on there are about 50 of us at Waterloo Road still doing what we do best - giving the customer what they want when they want it and taking this philosophy into the rest of the world. These days, I am less involved in the gobo side of the buisness. The day-to-day operation is looked after by the graphics team headed by Vicky Fairall, and this has freed me up so that I can concentrate on providing consultancy for projection projects as well as adapting artworks for and producing large format slides."

Dubbed the "projection impresario" by a noted industry journalist, Wyatt's work in theatre, entertainment and presentation is highly respected, and closely associated with the particular skills required for both stage production and specialist large-format projects where his technical and creative photographic skills are - satisfyingly - being used again. He has worked closely with the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre on a number of occasions.

In his free time his Interests and hobbies include classic cars (aka the financial black hole of Surrey), motorbikes, water gardening and real ale.

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