Now the priceless photography of Oscar Marzaroli (1933-1988) are returning to Glasgow, his adopted city, after his family donated his works to Glasgow Caledonian University.
Italian-born Marzaroli moved to Scotland with his family at the age of two and later attended Glasgow School of Art. He died aged 55.
Through portraits and landscapes, internationally-celebrated Marzaroli captured Scotland and its people at a time of great social change in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
City slums were being bulldozed to make way for new social housing and his images perfectly encapsulate the atmosphere of hope and trepidation surrounding those fundamental shifts in society.
On the 31st anniversary of his death, the university is launching a £200,000 fundraising campaign aiming to have the entire collection of approximately 50,000 images made freely available online.
A selection of original prints developed by Marzaroli are being offered to the highest bidders in an online auction, which is now open and runs until 5 September.
Marie-Claire Marzaroli, one of his three daughters, said: “We are thrilled our father’s archive has found a permanent home at Glasgow Caledonian University.
“It was our mother’s wish we find the right setting to preserve his legacy and the family are excited by the university’s plans to make the photos available online.”
Her sister Nicola Marzaroli added: “There are so many images, even we do not know what treasures our dad has left hidden in there.”
His work reached a wide audience in the 1980s when Scottish band Deacon Blue famously used his images on the sleeves of their hit records.
Singer and songwriter Ricky Ross spoke of his personal connection with Marzaroli at a special event to celebrating the archive’s arrival and the launch of the fundraising campaign.
“Oscar’s work is part of Scotland’s social history. I got in touch with Oscar after I became fascinated with his work, and he ended up coming out with us and shooting some photographs for our first Deacon Blue album in different locations. I’d told him about the idea of Raintown and he called me one day to say there was a picture he thought suited it. It’s the one of the sunshine coming through the clouds. We loved it and our music from that period has been linked to Oscar ever since.”
University archivist Carole McCallum said the fundraising was need to preserve, catalogue and digitise Marzaroli’s work.
“Oscar’s photographs are instantly recognisable. They’ve become rooted in popular culture but people don’t realise Oscar worked all over Scotland and further afield both as a photographer and filmmaker.”