EDINBURGH-BASED photographer Douglas Corrance has been photographing pivotal moments in Scottish history for over 50 years, here he selects five
of his personal favourites from his upcoming book.
Channel swimmer Bill Stein: Sometimes I go to extreme lengths to achieve a picture and this can make it memorable. Bill Stein had gone to a great effort for me. So with no wet suit, I joined him to get this shot. I was up to my chest in the Firth of Forth in late November.
Wee Janie. Maryhill, Glasgow: This is the picture that gives the most pleasure to folk. If people enjoy my picture, that gives me a buzz. This has a historical and social element of a time when kids played in the street.
Madame Doubtfire: Madame Doubtfire had a second-hand clothes shop in Edinburgh’s New Town which she shared with a coterie of cats. Her name inspired the best-selling book and film ‘Mrs Doubtfire’. To capture the character of someone is always satisfying, but to get the same expression from their pet is what makes this picture work.
Eilean Donan Castle: To me, this says Scotland. Even if it is a bit of a shortbread tin image. The rotting tree trunk is a gift to us photographers of the old school, where composition is all. A possibly apocryphal story, which I hope is not true, is that a 1950s scenic photographer chopped down a rowan tree after getting a great picture from this spot.
Bobo Mackay: Bobo was the first provost of Inverness to have the official lamp standards outside a council house. I was a 15-year-old photographer at the Highland News when I took this picture of a Scout fete. This was when I discovered that a photograph could convey more than one story at a time.
Other evocative images taken by Douglas include Ravenscraig’s final day as an operational steel mill and a picture of an attendant outside Glasgow’s last steamie.
Scotland: Five Decades of Photographs will be released on September 13 and will include an introduction from the photographer, along with extensive captions documenting the stories behind each image.
As well as being a visual record of historical events and the country’s social transformation, the book also includes a selection of portraits of some of Scotland’s most influential figures including; Billy Connolly, Ian Rankin, James Kelman and Jimmy Page, founder and guitarist of Led Zeppelin.
Douglas began his career in photography at the age of 15 after he initially took a job as a trainee graphic artist at the Highland News in Inverness. He quickly found himself redeployed to the darkroom when the graphic department closed down on his very first day. Six months later, he was handed a camera and promoted to newspaper photographer.
During his extensive career, he has worked for the former Scottish Tourist Board and Scotland on Sunday.
Scotland: Five Decades of Photography is released on September 13th (Lomond Books, £25).
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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