Picturing Murdo

I could really have done without Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in the nude. But other than that I quite enjoyed the exhibition of Murdo Macleod’s photos at the Guardian.

I wouldn’t ordinarily go out of my way to look at this type of exhibition, but after a couple of Augusts at Charlotte Square in Edinburgh ‘in the company of’ Murdo and his colleagues, I almost feel I know him. He doesn’t know me, of course, and probably doesn’t want to. I’m the Fat Controller of the Bookwitch photographer, and no matter how good her (photographic) equipment is, theirs is always bigger and better. And they are all boys together.

After seeing the article in the Guardian a few weeks ago, I thought I’d pop along to their offices if I happened to be in London at the right time. Luckily the Philippine ambassador saw fit to invite me round, so I did end up in London after all.

But, I would have welcomed more than the foyer of the Guardian. OK, so it has walls. Walls with exhibits on them. It has stairs to the offices. It has a security guard. After my trek all the way there I would have loved somewhere to sit. Many galleries have seats. You can rest, and you can think about what you’re looking at. Here I was in and out in minutes, or so it felt. I had also hoped there would be many more photos not already known to me from the paper.

The photos are good. No question about it. But then if you have access to famous people, especially in unusual settings, then half the battle has been won. Experience in how to get the famous people to pose will help, and I’m sure the superior long lenses do their job. But an amateur could take pictures like these, too. Murdo has a lot of interesting umbrellas, and I’m certain they assist him with the job in hand.

So, just get a politician to stand in front of a derelict cottage, or someone rich to sit down in an untidy room and you’re halfway there.

Or am I being unfair?

Murdo Macleod and press photographers with Philip Pullman at Charlotte Square

Murdo is the one in red. Philip Pullman asked what gave him the right to ‘give the orders’, and I believe the answer was his red fleece. This photo was taken by someone who is not aspiring to professional photography, using an ordinary small camera, which incidentally was bought after our first encounter with Philip, when we were so camera-less that we had to borrow one. But that’s another story.

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