After a prize-winning photojournalist started a journey of research, the life and work of a Dorset photographer has now been compiled and recorded in a new book.

Carlos Guarita will launch ‘Where the Dipping is Ripping: the Dorset Photographs of Joseph Robert Potts’.

Joseph Robert Potts was born in Felton, Northumberland on December 29, 1885 and by April 1911 was a resident of Dorset, living at 11 Kings Street, Melcombe Regis, Weymouth.

From 1912 he was working as a photographer - thought to be with Shephard Photographers - and had his first solo byline in the Bridport News on October 7, 1913. He first advertised as a solo photographer in the Bridport News on July 31, 1914.

He had a wife, Harriet, and they had three children.

During the war he was enlisted for four years in the army, but in 1920 was on the electoral register at 79 Church Street, Bridport. He died aged 86 as a resident of 15 Victoria Grove.

Carlos, who himself won a World Press Award for his anti-war photographs, first picked out the work of Robert Potts on a second hand postcard stall at Dorchester market. He started looking through a selection of old photograph postcards labelled ‘Dorset’ and came across two photos, both inscribed with the same caption, ‘Litton Cheney, Club Fete 1921’, and the same signature, ‘Potts’.

One of the photographs showed a group of men and a brass band outside a large manor house with a banner. On closer inspection, the banner had the words ‘Litton Cheney Friendly Society’.

This led him to start researching the group, which was a number of local self-help welfare organisations where poor people contributed collectively to support each other in times of need. Carlos’ research was published in a small pamphlet called ‘From Friendly Societies to the Big Society’. This led him to search for more of Potts’ photographs and the result is his book, ‘Where the Dipping is Ripping’.

Carlos found that Potts started his working life as a professional photographer with a business partner called Clarence Austin but a month after Potts took some photos of men clearing mud in Diment Square after floods (for which he got his first solo byline) Clarence Austin died of TB at the age of 38.

As well as Potts’ images of Dorset, Carlos found two photographs Potts took of the Muslim Festival of Moburrum, taken in India during the First World War in November 1915. This is the start of the religious year for both Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Another fascinating event captured by Potts was the funeral of T.E Shaw ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in Moreton, Dorset, on April 21, 1935, although the initials are inverted in the caption. The postcard photograph shows the procession, including Winston Churchill, accompanying the coffin to the graveyard.

Potts also caught snaps of a fire in a thatched building in Loders - with the Bridport News reporting that several cottages were destroyed - Abbotsbury Castle after it was destroyed by a fire on February 7, 1913, Bridport carnival in 1921 as well as landscape shots of West Bay, Bothenhampton, Burton Bradstock and Bridport.

Carlos Guarita will officially launch the book with an illustrated talk on Tuesday, November 12 at Bridport United Church Hall from 2.30pm. There will be drinks and nibbles and it costs £1 for members of Bridport History Society or £4 for non-members.