• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Chris Hall

Photographer and teacher;

Born: 28 June, 1953; Died: 7 November, 2012,

Chris Hall, who has died aged 59 near Shanghai while on a long-planned three-month journey through South East Asia and Australasia with his wife Jean, was a much-loved and highly-regarded professional photographer who also taught at Napier University and Stevenson College in Edinburgh.

He was born in Gorbals, Glasgow in 1953. Shortly afterwards, the family – father Tommy, mother Grace and older brother Eric – joined the mass exodus of inner-city Glaswegians to East Kilbride, where he attended Murray Primary School and Duncanrig Senior Secondary School.

An able pupil and avid reader, he went on to study politics at the University of Edinburgh where he graduated MA Honours, with an upper second class degree in 1976. On graduating he joined, firstly, the National Health Service Executive as a trainee health sector manager before moving to the University of Stirling as an administrator.

In 1976 he married Jean McAlpine, a law student and subsequently solicitor, whom he had met at university in Edinburgh. They had been close friends as students but slowly came to realise they were actually soul mates and, in the event, were to be together for the next 36 years.

Their next move was to Edinburgh where Jean became a partner in Warners and Chris combined his intellectual and political interest by working in the policy planning unit of Lothian Regional Council.

There was also, however, an innately creative side to his personality which expressed itself in an interest in photography. He became more and more committed to the subject and, encouraged by his close friend Robin Gillanders, decided to give up his day job to become a professional photographer.

With a growing reputation for clean, unfussy and highly-crafted work, commissions began to flow in and he developed a successful commercial practice, which included a mutually profitable relationship with the Edinburgh-based Tayburn design agency.

Many will have seen the historic photograph of all 129 MSPs at the re-convening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, taken by Robin Gillanders and Chris Hall, which was commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland and now hangs in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The inspiration, help and friendship he gave to his various assistants, particularly BJ Stewart, and a number of students will ensure that his expertise will be reflected in the Edinburgh photographic community for years to come.

An acclaimed exhibition of some of his later work, an enigmatic photographic essay on East Kilbride, 50-plus years after he had moved there as an infant, was held in a New Town gallery a year ago. This reflected his view on the extent to which progress had, or had not, been made in the delivery of the social and economic optimism which had led to the establishment of Scotland's post-war new towns.

His book, Faded Marks, which accompanied the exhibition, demonstrated a finely judged sensibility to lyrical picture-making and visual metaphor. It signalled also his new-found interest in, and obvious abilities with, prose and poetry.

Aside from his professional life, Chris Hall had wide-ranging interests focusing on books and politics. A long-term member of the Labour Party he became disillusioned with the direction it was taking in Scotland and latterly joined the SNP. He was also a devoted supporter of Livingston FC, an interest he shared with his son, Iain, an able goalkeeper and SFA-qualified referee.

He is survived by his wife Jean, his son, Iain, currently a student at the University of Melbourne, his mother, Grace, and his brother, Eric.

Contextual targeting label: 
Block list

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

129363