The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Photographing John Manson

As part of the Urr Historic Landscape Project, I've been asked to photograph various people who live along the Urr valley. A few weeks ago it was artist blacksmith, Adam Booth (see Photographing a Blacksmith), then the following week I was invited to photograph John Manson.

Now in his 80s, John has spent a chunk of his life documenting and writing about arguabley Scotland's most famous and controversial 20th century poet, Hugh MacDiarmid. In 2011 John published "Dear Grieve" which required, among other things, wading through over 15,000 letters.

John's study is full of books and folders, some of which had to moved to other places in order for me to find a seat while we had a cup of tea. Despite the fact the sun was periodically peeking out from behind the clouds, it was just too dark to photograph in natural light alone, so I had to use an off-camera flash with Davie (one of the project organisers) holding a reflector off to one side.

Below are a couple of the images I took. For those of you who like to look for extra details, the photo in the background of the 2nd image is of Hugh MacDiarmid (right) with the famous Russian poet, Yevtushenko (left).

As always, feel free to click on the images for slighly larger versions


Theanne Crossett said...

These are magnificent, well done!

Kim Ayres said...

Thank you, Theanne - much appreciated :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful portraits!

Eryl said...

I love them both, and am delighted to see he has a stick of glue on his desk.

hope said...

Wonderful! And I'm silently pleased that he's not typing on a computer. :)

Pat said...

I'd love to have a prowl round his study and I am one of the ones who love the extra details.
Had you not said who was who I would have guessed the other way round. But what do I know?

Kim Ayres said...

Allen - thank you :)

Eryl - doesn't every working desk contain a stick of glue? :)

Hope - electric typewriters were as technologically advanced as he got and didn't see any point in getting a computer :)

Pat - a further little detail - I know it's a bit small, but if you click on the photo and get the larger version, you might just be able to make it out - look at the photo of Yevtushenko and MacDiarmid, and up on the wall behind is a portrait of Yevtushenko. I think I was told who did it, and I think it was a well known name, but I'm damned if I can remember who it was.

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