During the Cambridge years a chance viewing of one of Man Ray’s solarised photographs lead to experiments with this technique and others including rayographs and multiples exposures. Remarkable images were created, by both Helen and Lettice Ramsey. Helen produced an outstanding series of pictures of mother and daughter, Hilda and Mary Spencer Watson who performed exotic dance tableaux in Purbeck. She also took portraits of the artist, Paul Nash and a solarised photograph of his friend, the surrealist artist, Eileen Agar, became one of her most iconic images.
At Cambridge, Helen became increasingly interested in left wing politics and in 1936 undertook a six-week tour of the Soviet Union. The photographs were turned into film slides, which Helen showed at countless meetings around the country, especially during the war when the Russians were our allies. A similar visit to the mining valleys of South Wales followed and it looked as though she might have made a career as a documentary photographer.
Pressures of work and family life left little time for experimentation and documentary work but Helen became established in Oxford as a remarkable portrait photographer. Many of her subjects were from the university and became well known in later life. They included Lord Beveridge, Dorothy Hodgkin, Lady Betjeman, Alistaire Cooke, Magnus Magnusson and many others. She continued to express her visual talent with enduring portraits, always carefully considered, posed and lit.