by Doug

When Bob penned those lyrics, I’m not sure he realised how often they would be quoted, but as life continues its erratic trajectory, their pertinence endures. They certainly apply today, as things are evolving at Bailey Chinnery and we want to tell you about some big changes to what we are doing, going forwards.

As most of you know, I have been ill for some time and over the year since we launched Bailey Chinnery, my health has impacted on tours more than once. Valda had to run the second of two one day workshops in Bosham alone last summer and I was unable to lead a tour to Venice in December after my Mum died. A few weeks ago, once again,  I reluctantly had to withdraw from our tour to the Hebrides,  causing much inconvenience.

I don’t want this to continue. Our service to our clients is extremely important to us and while I am much better than I was twelve months ago, I feel I need to get fully well, so the unpredictability of my condition doesn’t continue to cause issues.

Therefore, I have made the very difficult decision to take a sabbatical from teaching until November. This means I won’t be co-leading the upcoming tours to Bilbao, Giverny and the Faroes with Valda. Those clients affected have been informed privately. We are delighted and enormously appreciative that our great friend and accomplished photographer, Terry Gibbins, has agreed to stand in for me.

I will just co-lead with Valda our print workshops in Sheffield in June which are only 30 minutes from my home. I plan to return to teaching for our Creative Growth tour to the Cairngorms in November and co-lead our Venice tour in December.


There will also be a slight restructuring at Bailey Chinnery in the foreseeable future. As things stand, the workload is intense and unsustainable in its present form (for either of us) for very much longer. As a consequence of my illness, I have realised I need to spend less time away from home. So from 2020,  I plan to co-lead with Valda just two or three overseas tours a year. I will reassess this decision if and when I feel the time is right. We will continue to run our one day UK workshops together and have plans to run more print workshops.

However, this doesn’t mean that the number of tours Bailey Chinnery runs will be reducing. We are delighted that Valda will continue to lead an exciting tour schedule with two new guest leaders - Terry Gibbins and Denis Hocking.


We have invited them to join us because both of them bring something special to what we offer. They have great people and teaching skills. They are brilliant photographers in their own right and they both think about photography in a way that chimes with our own philosophy. Each are also highly skilled landscape and travel photographers. This means that for those of you who would like it, they will be happy to take you out for sunrise on location when conditions are suitable (and those who prefer our more usual relaxing start to the day can enjoy a lie in and then a more leisurely breakfast with Valda until they return)

We have some incredible new destinations in the planning for you, including some long haul places for ‘trips of a lifetime’. We see this new development as a major step forward in giving you, our friends, the very best creative experience we can. However – and we cannot stress this enough - we remain totally committed to creative thinking, pursuing your own vision and avoiding tripod holes and clichés at all costs. And of course, we will always make sure your comfort, hydration and nutritional needs are always very well catered for.

Meanwhile, although I won’t be traveling with you as frequently, I will still be fully involved in all we do. I will be taking on the majority of the administration of the business, so it will be me sending you emails, chasing you and being a general nuisance. We will also be developing our growing print business which is proving very popular, and we are releasing many new videos to add to the collection we have available on our website. The next set will be all about printing. It will be a busy year for us both.


Another consequence – and a very difficult decision for me, has been the cancellation of my London exhibition at the Menier gallery. It was a huge project involving the printing and framing of over 70 images, not to mention the logistics involved in organising the private view and the minutiae of holding an exhibition.

I found myself getting overwhelmed with the whole task to the point that is was having a very detrimental effect on my mental health. I feel guilty letting down Young Minds (the charity to whom I was donating all of the profits). I  have obviously apologised to them and explained that in order to fulfil all of my other obligations in life and remain well enough to function, I felt I had little choice but to withdraw.


As we clock up our first year in business, Valda and I would like to thank you all for being such amazing and supportive clients. We could not do what we do without you and your enthusiasm, ideas and kind encouragement. Your continued loyalty and friendship means more to us than we can say.




  1. barb baker on April 10, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I’m following you both on Twitter and saw the link to this post today. I’m a nobody just wanted to say it sounds like a very brave and sensible decision to pull back a bit and put your health first for a while as a positive choice. So hard to do I know from my own experience (and that’s just ‘minor’ things) over the years. I couldn’t resist following you on the basis of your strapline ‘never knowingly understood’ which resonated with me! And, of course, the amazing work you both produce. Do your temporary re-grouping and putting your health first with a glad heart and see what unfolds (I mean this is a very non hippydippy way as I don’t have a hippydippy bone in my body!). You can always change your mind down the line if things change. Very best wishes to you both, Barb from Cornwall

    • valdab on April 10, 2019 at 9:28 am

      Kind words Barb – but nobody is a nobody 🙂 We obviously can’t put faces to everyone who writes but your supportive words mean a great deal. Vx

  2. Davina Clift on April 10, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Best wishes Doug. Health first always. Davina x

  3. Warren Reeves on April 10, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Doug a brave decision and one that I think will turn out to be the best one.

  4. Monty Trent on April 10, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Doug, you have been inspirational to me and will always have my support and admiration. But you are right in giving yourself the TLC you need and I hope you soon regain strength and health with some rest. Play lots of Bach and Beethoven — they are life affirming and offer encouragement in dark times.

  5. Mike Boss on April 10, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Take care Doug, nothing more important than your health and family, everyone understands. Thinking of you and my best wishes.

  6. Karen Walker on April 10, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Dearest Doug,
    You are so brave and my heart goes out to you.
    I know the dark only too well.
    Please try to stay in the light.
    K x

  7. Irene Jutton on April 10, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Your health has to come first Doug. Wise decisions. Take care of yourself. I’m sure Terry will do you proud! xx

  8. Elizabeth Beattie on April 10, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Do look after yourself first as you can’t continue when you are unwell, and it makes it uncomfortable for everyone.
    Get better first and then you’ll enjoy your challenges.


    I always find that a good long walk with a mate (mine Tad, yours Eddie) helps to relieve the load a lot.

  9. Hazel Manning on April 10, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Bravery is recognising what must be. You can’t give the best to others without first doing the best for yourself. Take care

  10. Eyesight on April 10, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Your health is more important. I kept looking at your offerings and thought it was intense. As someone who lives with a similar condition I am well aware hoe unpredictable it can be. All the best for the future

  11. David Rathbone on April 10, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Doug
    Several years ago I had the privilege of attending a one day workshop with you, where you helped me immensely with developing my photographic skills, the day helped me improve my knowledge.
    Putting your health first is without the right thing to do, I wish you well in making a recovery and getting back to teaching and photography

  12. Simon Burgess on April 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Haven’t ever met you but a fan of your work through Social Media. A big decision but one I’m guessing you’re relieved you’ve made and announced. So often highly creative people suffer this way – the ying and yang. Good luck and do lots of walking.

  13. Sue Marcoz on April 10, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Dearest Doug wishing you well…x
    Everything will be in safe hands on the trips with Valda & Terry……and the fact that you have Denis, an inspiring photographer on board, is the icing…but they need you at the other end keeping the ship sailing! Hope you’ll still be able to do some of your amazing photography at the same time….xxx

  14. Ray Fidler on April 10, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Doug, I know from a nephew of mine how long it takes to get back on a even keel and there are set backs halting his progress. I may not be a talented photographer but you have help I still in Me a love of photography. Your teaching and encouragement have been in valuable to me. I wish you a better future how ever long it takes. Take care Doug on your journey to better health. Ray

  15. Walter Luttenberger on April 10, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    All the best to you, Doug!🙏 Hope you will get well soon

  16. Cheryl Meek on April 11, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Doug, sending you much love and support. (And a hug for Eddie) You have made some brave and wise decisions, to help support your recovery. In the meantime the business is thriving and the new additions to the team are great news. X

  17. Robin Feild on April 11, 2019 at 10:14 am

    I am sad but also very glad you are putting your health first. It must have been a very hard decision to make but a very sensible one. The exhibition will happen, I’m sure just at a later date and I am looking forward to that, as well as future tours! Take care of yourself. Best. Robin

  18. Ken England on April 11, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Get well soon Doug. Life is too short and your good health is the most important thing to focus on now.

  19. Doug Chinnery on April 11, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    I would like to thank you all for leaving such positive and supportive comments – they are much appreciated indeed. x

  20. Kate Barclay on April 11, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    I am sorry to hear you haven’t been well Doug, such a difficult thing to take a back seat in a new venture but your health is very important – look after yourself and get better Quickly. Love yours and Valda’s work and one day when I have saved enough will treat myself to one of your workshops.

  21. Lynne Blount on April 11, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Knowing as I do, what it feels like to be teetering on the edge of what I can only describe as a huge black hole, I know you have made the right decision to cut down on your commitments. I wish you well Doug and hopefully we can keep in touch through the printing. Take care and look after you.

  22. Thomas Fleckenstein on April 11, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Best wishes Doug …

  23. Craig Morris on April 12, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Dear Doug,
    Again I find myself writing to you. Your health is paramount always we want you back in good shape so this is the right decision. I still maybe one day will get to experience you and Valda on a workshop but in the meantime I follow both of you and your work avidly. I’m glad to see you are continuing with two amazing tutors to help in your abscence. I only wish I was closer that I could lend a hand with admin etc if needed. Best wishes to you both for exciting tours and for the ‘ new boys’ take care of you please.

  24. Justine on April 13, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    I applaud your openness and honesty and the courage shown in making this decision. It is one that is underpinned with positivity in the light of the difficulties faced. Total respect to you Doug. Wishing you well and hope your sabbatical from teaching enables you to find the space and time to fully heal… x

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