Real lives: Chris Hall made images of a resurgent Scotland

Chris Hall
Chris Hall
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A PHOTOGRAPHER who took one of the most famous pictures in Scottish politics has died suddenly during a three-month trip to south-east Asia and Australasia.

Chris Hall was visiting Shanghai, China, with his wife Jean when he died at the age of 59 on November 7.

He was born in the Gorbals area of Glasgow in 1953, the son of Tommy and Grace, and went on to study politics at Edinburgh University, where he graduated with an MA Honours, an upper second-class degree, in 1976.

In that same year, he married Jean McAlpine, a law student who became a solicitor.

Chris joined the National Health Service executive as a trainee health sector manager before moving to Stirling University as an administrator.

The couple set up home in Edinburgh, where Chris found a job in the policy planning unit at the then-Lothian Regional Council, while Jean became a partner at estate agent Warners.

Chris had a huge passion for photography and he and Jean would travel to visit friends around Britain and Europe in their blue VW camper van.

The iconic vehicle, which remains parked just off Bruntsfield Links, is regarded locally as something of a landmark.

Eventually, he quit his day job to become a professional photographer and was responsible for taking a historic picture of all 129 MSPs convening at the Scottish Parliament in 1999, which now hangs in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

He swiftly developed a strong reputation in the field which saw him earn many commissions and develop a successful practice, which included a profitable link-up with the Tayburn design agency, based in Causewayside.

Away from his work, Chris wrote a book, Faded Marks, to accompany an exhibition held in his honour and was a long-term member of the Labour Party, before switching sides to the SNP after becoming disillusioned with the former.

That exhibition, a photographic essay on the South Lanarkshire town of East Kilbride, where he had lived as an infant, was held in a New Town gallery a year ago.

He was also passionate about sharing his skills and experiences with students at Napier University and Stevenson College.

Football was one of Chris’ passions and the devoted Livingston FC supporter, an interest he shared with his son Iain, was a capable goalkeeper and qualified referee.

He also served as a board member at Newhaven Road-based environmental company Changeworks.

He is survived by his wife Jean, his son Iain, his mother Grace, and his brother Eric.

His funeral service was due to take place this morning at Mortonhall Crematorium’s main chapel.