Niall Ferguson, 1997 portrait.

When an email from Channel 4 television landed in my in box with an advertisement for an upcoming and very interesting looking) new programme “China: Triumph and Turmoil” presented by a gentleman called Niall Ferguson. I knew that I’d photographed him before. A quick trawl through my catalogue confirmed that I had indeed shot a portrait of him in 1997 when he was an up and coming star of academia – a professor of History at Oxford University at the age of 32. He was actually born in the same year as me and I was amused at the time by the way he was dressed in the academic uniform of tweeds.

©Neil Turner/TSL. Oxford, January 1997.

I can very clearly remember shooting this portrait. I had driven to Oxford to do another story and the picture desk had rung me and asked me to drop what I was doing, dash across Oxford to do the portrait and then go back to the feature shoot in a primary school. That was the one and only time that they ever asked me to do this and I remember thinking that this must be one important guy if I was being asked to do that.

Since then, he has written yet more books, starred in yet more TV programmes and been seen as a talking head on dozens of television shows. He is clearly still a star of the academic world and obviously a clever chap. His website came up on a quick Google search saying “Niall Ferguson endorses Mitt Romney for President”. Hmmm?

Geek stuff: Portraits shot using two Canon EOS1Dn cameras with 28-70 f2.8L and 70-200 f2.8L lenses on Fuji 200 ISO colour negative film scanned using a Kodak scanner onto a Kodak Photo CD. The software for extracting the PCD format images doesn’t seem to be available any more but Graphics Converter does a wonderful job of extracting a TIFF or a JPEG from the old files.

Note: I need to start wearing my glasses more. The web page for the Channel 4 programme says ” … apparatus” referring to the Chinese state but I read it as “… vast asparagus” – I am getting old!

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