CARLOS Guarita came across a picture, right, in Dorchester market by Robert Potts that fascinated him. It started him on a long journey of discovery that will be unfolded at Bridport Arts Centre from July 8 to 19.

A former photographer himself, Mr Guarita was immediately captivated.

He said: “It is an interesting picture for 1921. It was before the invention of the Leica. It pre-empts Cartier Bresson and certainly the Picture Post, which didn’t get published until 1938.

“For its time I thought the actual style of the picture was ahead of its time.”

He also wondered what on earth was going on in the middle of Litton Cheney so he did a bit of research and found out it was the Litton Cheney Friendly Society.

That sent him on another loop researching friendly societies, but that’s another story.

Mr Guarita added: “I found more pictures and then I started looking up his life and found a cutting from the Bridport News from 1961 about his golden wedding.

“He was partner with another photographer, ten years his elder, called Clarence Austin (who died in a 1913 TB epidemic and who is buried in a pauper’s grave).

“I think Potts was influenced by him and his granddaughter is called Celia Austen Potts, although it is spelt differently.”

He eventually got hold of Celia thanks to getting to postcard collector Keith Alner and Celia, who now lives in Ilminster, was able to supply some family photographs.

He said: “She was invaluable, finding family pictures, particularly his wedding photograph when he married a girl from Portland.”

The News article called his wife Mary but Mr Guarita has the pictures captioned with the name Harriet.

What nobody has ever done is put all Potts’ work together in one place and thanks to the generosity of collectors that is now happening with more than 100 pictures.

According to the News story of his golden wedding in June 1961, he was married on June 3, 1911 at St John’s Church on Portland.

In 1961 Potts had been in Bridport 51 years. He was in business for more than 30 years – moving several times before settling in West Street after the First World War. He retired after the Second World War.

Before the First World War he had 10 men travelling the southern counties.

He first made his name by travelling the West Country and taking flash pictures at carnivals at night.

During the war he was in India and Mesopotamia with the 1/4th Dorsets then he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps where he trained in the RAF School of Photography. He died in 1972.

Mr Guarita wants help identifying where and when some of the photos were taken and he is hoping people will come forward to do just that.