David Eustace celebrity photographs premiered at Marchmont House
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David Eustace celebrity photographs premiered at Marchmont House
M Glaser © 2022 Eustace.

GREENLAW.- Portraits of Hollywood stars and leading figures from the worlds of art, theatre, film and design will be exhibited for the first time at two intimate events in the Scottish Borders.

Photographer David Eustace’s eclectic collection of portraits will be on public view on 8 April at Marchmont House, a restored 18th-century Grade A listed Palladian mansion near Greenlaw, which is a home for artists, makers and creative enterprises.

The exhibition will feature 25 photographs including ones of Hollywood actor Harry Dean Stanton, Irish actor Ciaran Hinds, controversial artist Tracey Emin, and author and ceramicist Edmund de Waal and artist and promoter Richard Demarco.

Scottish photographer and director David Eustace has called his collection Friends and Artists, A Quiet Portrait.

He said: “I wanted to create a very simple set of uncomplicated portraits of people I admire, I’m intrigued by or simply those with whom I have shared a few moments in their company.

“The people I admire are those who have followed their passion, and fame and success have only come after years of hard work.

“In these portraits, I wished to rediscover the ‘amateur’ within me, returning to what first attracted me to the medium. I went back to basics, to a stripped back way of taking photographs without assistants and using any available light.”

Eustace shares some of the observations he made of his subjects during the informal portrait sessions.

• Hollywood actor Harry Dean Stanton. “I’ve always admired him, and I met him when my friend the cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, who worked on Atonement, threw a pizza and wine night in his Los Angeles garden so I could meet Harry. I grew up in the East End of Glasgow and Harry told me he’d filmed there and loved the city. He was a down-to-earth regular guy a powerful character. They say you should never meet your heroes, but if Harry Dean Stanton was your hero it would be alright. He was a gem. I took his photograph at the side of his pool and it was all very relaxed.”

• Irish actor Ciaran Hinds was in the Harry Potter films and Game of Thrones: “He’s a lovely, kind man, a movie star but an actor first. I photographed him in the Chelsea Hotel in New York and really enjoyed the time I spent with him. He’s a genuine person.”

• Artist Tracey Emin: “What I like about Tracey is how honest and straight to the point she is. There is no agenda. I don’t agree with everything she says but I like how straight she is. She’s complicated, like most artists. I took this photograph in her old house. We met up and went for lunch and I sat with her and took the picture while we were talking.”

• Milton Glaser, American graphic artist best known for creating the I Love New York logo and the logos for DC Comics. “I was impressed by his experiences and his humility, by his appreciation of others’ work when he had achieved so much himself. He is hugely inspiring. A quiet, wise old guy.”

• Scottish artist Alison Watt: “Alison is one of the greatest Scottish painters who has ever lived, but she’s also respected internationally. Her work is subtle, gentle and complex. She takes the complex and makes it simple. She’s a strong, stylish woman but there’s a quiet depth and gentleness to her. I took this portrait in her Edinburgh studio.”

• Scottish artist and playwright John Byrne: “I’ve known John and photographed him for around 30 years, resulting in a series of 12 portraits called Dear John. He’s the kind of person you can sit with over lunch and you don’t need to talk.”

• American photographer and artist Andres Serrano: “I first met him in New York many years ago. His most controversial work, Piss Christ, caused an uproar, but he’s a very quiet man. I find it interesting that he can create a work that everybody goes ballistic about, but also make a series of art works to help the homeless which sadly received for less notice. I photographed him in a dark Edinburgh close when he was here for an exhibition. Like all the artists I’ve photographed, he has something to say.”

• Writer, broadcaster and cleric Richard Holloway: “He is a really nice guy – quiet, humble and wise. As he has got older, he has become more reflective. I photographed him against a sombre background with a small red candle behind him, a little light in the darkness.”

• Photographic historian and curator Terence Pepper.Between 1978 and 2014, he was curator and organiser of exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery: “Terence is super knowledgeable about photography and is passionate about the medium. He knows so much about photography, but I wasn’t intimidated by him – I’m not intimidated by anyone or influenced by wealth or fame. I like to see how people are in real life.”

• Hugo Burge, former tech entrepreneur, director of Marchmont House and founding Trustee at Marchmont Makers Foundation: “I absolutely 100 per cent admire what Hugo has built. Some of the best art collections in the world are one person’s opinion, whether it’s the Frick in New York or the Burrell in Glasgow. People like Hugo encourage and support artists. He really loves what he’s doing. He’s also an incredibly successful businessman. I recently had the pleasure of creating a special edition portfolio simply titled ‘TREE’ in collaboration with Hugo and Marchmont House Estate.”

• Writer and ceramicist Edmund de Waal: “He is a talented artist, very educated. No matter what he does, he focuses on it like a vulture. He’s a genuine person and has an incredible knowledge of history and art. I’d never met him before but was keen to photograph him as I love his ceramics. He’s a complex and talented person.”

• Belgian interior designer, art collector, dealer and curator Axel Vervoordt: “He is one of the world’s leading art collectors and gallerists. I was doing a portrait of Baron Rothschild nearby and dropped into his castle outside Antwerp. He has a very Zen energy, so I photographed him against a serene, contemplative background.”

• Probably the most “famous” street artist in the world: One of the most intriguing photographs shows the subject hiding behind a sign that says: “I am not a portrait.” Eustace will only say: “He is a very famous street artist. I’ve never said who it was or wasn’t. He is an artist like any other, who respects his fellow artists and who always has an opinion.”

Hugo Burge, director of Marchmont House, said: “This is a great opportunity to see thoughtful and thought-provoking portraits by David Eustace, the highly-regarded landscape and portrait photographer.”

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