Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Don McPhee


I returned to the Bollington Festival today, on my ‘must see’ list was an exhibition of photographs by the late, great, Guardian photo journalist, Don McPhee, (you might remember I don’t always manage to read a daily paper, but I do always try and take a look at the pictures)


There was a sense of familiarity about his photographs, especially as much of the work in the exhibition spans the 70’s and 80’s.


(I’d swear a photo in the exhibition, of a Mini, stuck in a snow drift, in the early 1980’s belonged to my mate, she was rescued by a Peak Park ranger as I recall.) I overheard some one say that they thought he had a ‘combination of skill and luck’,  I’d disagree, what he had, in my humble opinion, was technical skill, with lightening fast reactions, to see and snatch the image. Some of them have become iconic. (note to Gadget, not a collar number in sight.)



Miners Strike, 1984

Don McPhee made his own luck. Go here to see a slide show of his work for the Guardian.

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

9 thoughts on “Don McPhee

  1. “Made his own luck.” So true. That’s what separates the greats from the rest of us – how close or how far they’re willing to go.

  2. A wonderful photographer! I’ve always wondered what the policeman is saying to the miner in that iconic picture! xx

  3. Flighty, words could not express what he conveys with the look alone.

    Mrs Uhdd, for an example of technical skill and lightning relexes try looking at this photo of a greylag goose from the London almost-Daily. (Thanks for alerting me to that wonderful site.) One day you will capture a curlew in as much detail as this goose. You’re working hard on you luck!


    It was on 8 May, if this link doesn’t work.

  4. Ah yes, Don McPhee…a true inspiration. I think I admired many of his photos before I really thought about what made them stand out so.

    There was an interesting piece on the miner vs copper one io the Grauni earlier this year Flighty….here. There was also a TV programme about the photo but I don’t think it’s been shown nationwide.

  5. My God! Those are Ruralshire policemen – I can tell by the Custodian Helmets! I was at school during the miners strike of course, ahem… moving swiftly on…..

  6. Even better you have a picture of a Raleigh Chopper. A famous bicycle from a famous manufacturer. Nice blog Uphill

  7. Lovely. That’s the way it is, too. You aren’t necessarily lucky; you make your own luck.

    ps. Thanks for the flower ID. I finally found it in a tucked-away book once I knew what to look for!

  8. Love these. Those two bellied men are the best! Had to go across the room and show my hubby.

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