Last week I watched a programme on BBC2 called "Isaac Newton: The Last Magician" (available on BBC iPlayer for another couple of days), and one of the contributors was Dr Stuart Clark, who wrote the historical novel about Newton, The Sensorium of God.
I met Stuart at last year’s Wigtown Book Festival when I was photographing different writers as part of the "Authors as Characters" project, and Newton was his choice.
I managed to piece together the costume from various sources, but the biggest stumbling block was trying to find a wig. In many of the portraits of Newton, he’s wearing a huge great curly thing on his head. But try as I might, I couldn’t seem to get hold of one. Pantomime wigs are easy enough to come by, but they are invariably Georgian in style – which is nearly a century too recent – and look entirely different.
However, just as I was beginning to despair, I found some other portraits of Newton from when he was a bit younger where he seems to have natural, shoulder-length hair, not entirely dissimilar to Stuart’s, so I felt comfortable in abandoning the search.
Stuart brought an apple with him, as the story of one falling from a tree and inspiring Newton's Theory of Gravity is probably one of the most famous stories about him, even if it is based more in myth than truth.
So in between rain showers, we went out into the garden of Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop to do the photo shoot.
Jacket and waistcoat provided by Erwin Van 't Hoff
Shirt provided by Lochside Theatre, Castle Douglas
Scarf provided by Maggie Ayres
Apple provided by Dr Stuart Clark
In a rare departure from my usual style, I felt it worked better if he stared at the apple rather than into the camera...