• Tuesday, 01 Aug, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

Farewell to a larger-than-life ‘lensman’

They say a picture paints a thousand words.

Well, if that’s the case, on-course greyhound racing photographer Paul Munt created millions.

Sadly, they ceased flowing on January 31, 2017, when Paul suffered a ‘Level 6’ stroke. The medical episode occurred while driving along the Monash Freeway on his way to work at his regular Thursday night Sandown Park meeting.

The incident left him with complete paralysis on the left side of his body – from neck to toes.

Tragically, six and a half years later, those ‘words’ he ‘painted’ through his photographic brilliance ended for eternity after Paul, 64, passed away at the Olivia Newton John Palliative Care Unit – part of the Austin Hospital – on Friday, July 21.

It happened four weeks after his mother, Irene, passed away from dementia. Paul had moved in with his mum and had cared for her for 10 years.

His sister, Christine Owens – who resides in America – paid an emotional and proud tribute to her brother.

Christine informed that Paul was taking photos even before “paparazzi” was part of our vernacular.

“Paul received camera gear for his 16th birthday and was quickly into ‘following the stars’ – and ‘learning the lighting’.

“He just wanted people not to be sad and to make the most of life.”

“He’d ride on his Honda 50cc motorcycle to Festival Hall and take photos of ABBA, KISS, Black Sabbath, and Fleetwood Mac – even moving on to the Hilton Hotel to ‘snap’ more.”

Christine added that Paul eventually progressed to sports photography, starting with the AFL and then the NBL.

“But it was through our mother’s partner, Bill Seddon, that Paul got involved in greyhound racing photography. They were next-door neighbours, and Paul stayed with the sport.

“So, it became a 20-year love affair. Paul loved animals, and he loved the ‘doggies’.”

Christine advised that Paul suffered with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and as such was “self-taught”.

“He wasn’t diagnosed with the condition until his forties. He was very much ‘on the spectrum’, but people thought he was just quirky.”

Paul started flying drones around 10 years ago after visiting Christine and her husband, Laird, in Los Angeles and New York.

“My husband is in the aeronautical field. He taught Paul to fly ‘professional’ drones.

“Paul was into anything visual. He was very creative and meticulous with record-keeping.

A Paul Munt-inspired image of immortal sprinter Brett Lee with his champion cricketer namesake. 

“And he loved being behind the camera. It was ‘behind the lens’ that gave him a sense of community.”

Initially, I got to know Paul while assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly.

Later we collaborated on a couple of greyhound books, and I always found him more than obliging when requiring his assistance with photos – particularly during his days at Olympic Park, Sandown Park and The Meadows.

And I took great delight watching him train city winner Miss McInerney (‘McInerney’ is his mum’s maiden name).

Paul will be cremated today (Tuesday, August 1) and his wishes are for an ocean burial.

“He had it all planned out,” Christine said. “So, there is no traditional ‘service’ per se.

“He just wanted people not to be sad and to make the most of life.”

Rest in peace, Paul Munt – a true gentleman and a phenomenal ‘shutterbug’.

The Meadows was a ‘second home’ for Paul Munt and his brilliant photography.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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