THIS week's Way We Were is three of racing photographer Alec Russell's favourite photographs from the past 70 years.

Alec, who has had using his racing pictures used in the Gazette & Herald for about 30 years, was born in Middlesbrough in 1932.

A visit to York races in 1945 sparked a lifelong interest in the sport, and soon he was trying to capture the scene with the family camera – a Box Brownie.

After National Service in the RAF, he studied photography and soon it was his hobby. By the mid-1960s he was freelancing for racing publications.

In 1971 he left his job in local government to become a full-time photographer. Since then his work has been seen in practically every national daily and Sunday newspaper, as well as Sporting Chronicle, The Sporting Life, Racing Post and a host of other racing publications.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of him having pictures used in every edition of Timeform’s prestigious annual, Racehorses of 1965 through to Racehorses of 2014.

His first award was as runner-up in a European wide competition, the Dunhill-Gallop-Photo Grand Prix, run by German camera magazine Photo Technique International in 1985, and in 1998 he was named Racing Photographer of the Year.

Ten years later he, alongside Ed Byrne and Gerry Cranham, received the Horserace Writers & Photographers Association George Ennor Award for lifetime achievement in the field of horseracing photography.

Alec moved to Huttons Ambo in 1972, before heading to Norton about eight years ago. He has only missed two Ebor Festival's since 1946 - 1950 when he was doing National Service in the RAF and 2008 when the whole meeting was abandoned due to flooding.

Alec said: "I have seen incredible changes in the technique of racing photography from, single shot cameras using roll-film to motor driven 35mm SLRs to auto focus and further to today’s digital equipment with instant results and the ability to transfer pictures immediately over the internet."