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Alisdair MacDonald

Posted: May 11th, 2011

Alisdair MacDonald Death: Daily Mirror Photographer

Before Gordon Brown emerged with the red budget box in Downing Street on budget day this year the whole press corps stood to attention for a minutes´ silence. They honoured renowned press photographer Alisdair Macdonald who died of a suspected heart attack the night before whilst on assignment for the Evening Standard. The following day he would have been with them picturing the Chancellor as he had for the last twenty years. He was 67.

Mac answered a call out by the Standard picture desk to cover the damage caused by a storm that raged over London that Tuesday. “As always he got up and went out to do it. He just loved taking pictures.”

Those words by the Standard deskman who called him out will be echoed by all who knew, loved and respected Mac. That was the code he lived by. For the last four years he was a freelance. His incomparable knowledge of London and government meant he was always in the right place when it mattered. His pictures appeared often in the Daily Mail and others but his heart was always with his beloved Daily Mirror. He spent twenty six years with the Mirror as a staffer. He had a seven year break, joining the Today newspaper in the eighties then rejoined the Mirror for their move to Canary Wharf.

Mac was a superb technician with boundless ideas. Magnificent night shots of a jumbo jet crossing the face of the moon, wreathed in vapour trails. Wide angled pictures from the very pinnacle of the Millennium Dome pre-construction. Montages of Heathrow air traffic with planes blotting the sky. Mac was an originator and a stylist. His ideas were often copied. He loved the science of photography. Nobody did eclipses of the sun and moon better than Mac. His family were from the Hebridean islands of Scotland but Mac came to London as a commercial photographer, later joining the press.

He was also a reporters´ dream snapper. Don Mackay of the Mirror says of him, “working with Mac was like having another reporter with you. He saw and detailed everything. A real pro.”

Ron Morgans:- ex Picture Editor of the Daily Mirror.

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