Ralph was born on the 11th December 1932 to Jack and Annie Wallis, followed by Keith. Along with their older sister Enid they lived in the shadow of the Black Hills, at 23 Kirkdale Drive, Wortley. As children, Keith was given a tool kit and Ralph was given a camera, and so his life began. He documented the cobbled streets of working class Leeds, washing lines strung across like telephone wires and children with dirty faces causing mischief. Long before the technology of today, photographers were a necessity in documenting everyday life, people and news. They were also few and far between, compared to now where everyone has access to a camera. So like most photographers of that time, Ralph began his career as a photojournalist at the Yorkshire Evening News, alongside budding journalist and childhood friend, Peter O’Toole.
After working for the Yorkshire Evening News, Ralph took up a position as a technician within the graphic design department at Leeds College Of Art. He subsequently became Lecturer-in-charge of Photography and set up the first darkrooms at the Vernon Street campus. Ralph was unknowingly paving the way for his very own future generations.
Ralph left Leeds in the late 60’s in search of adventure and a better life in Canada, where he set up a photographic studio, alongside two students from the College. He also worked as a photographer for Vancouver Life Magazine, producing more commercial and fashion focused work. He has remained in Canada, returning to Leeds for short periods of time, but Vancouver is now where is life belongs. Ralph is still a practicing photographer, producing portraiture and experimental photography.