Picture credit: Courtesy The Marsden Archive
Renowned photographer Simon Marsden, who specialised in gritty b&w images of subjects including mystical landscapes, gothic graveyards and old ruins, has died aged 63.
Simon first developed an interest in photography when his father, a keen landscape photographer, gave him a Leica for his 21st birthday.
‘I instantly became hooked on photography. What intrigued me most was the magic of time and light and the enigma of “reality” that these elements conjured up,’ Simon wrote on his website.
‘Over the years I have tried to portray this in various forms in my work… The first roll of film that I shot was of cardboard cut-outs of ghosts that I arranged in tableaux in the garden.’
Gray Levett, co-founder of Nikon camera dealer Grays of Westminster, today paid tribute to the photographer, who he described as a good friend.
The pair first met in 1992 when Simon called into his store, which is based in Pimlico, London.
Gray was a big fan of the photographer’s work, which also appeared in Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine.
Gray told AP: ‘He was completely unique as a photographer… I like his pictures of stone circles and ruined castles and some of his photographs of landscapes and buildings are hauntingly beautiful.
‘Simon created his own world and had a lot of followers.
‘He had an eye, but was also a gifted writer.’
Given his subject matter, people imagined the photographer may be somewhat intimidating on first meeting.
But this was far from the reality. ‘Simon wasn’t a grim reaper with a camera,’ added Gray.
‘He was very jovial, amusing and witty…. I will miss him greatly.’
Gray’s comments were echoed by Andrew Skirrow, whose company designed and built the photographer’s website.
‘I believe he was one of the most collected photographers on the planet,’ said Andrew.
‘He came across as a serious person until you got to know him… He had an extraordinarily wry sense of humour,’ he told AP
‘Photography was, for Simon, beyond just taking pictures. He was very much into the art and communication aspects. He felt passionately about how the rapid march of technology was not helping people to communicate face-to-face with each other.’
Simon shunned digital cameras and was a devotee of the Nikkormat FTn and FT2 cameras, added Gray.
‘I believe he was the largest user of infrared film in the world.’
Speaking about his interest in the ‘supernatural’, Simon wrote: ‘From the very beginning of recorded time all the great civilisations of our world have believed in ghosts and the supernatural in some form or other.
‘These are ancient mysteries and to dismiss them is to deny ourselves that arcane knowledge of the past that has ultimately fashioned our lives.’
The photographer’s many TV and radio appearances included Channel 4’s The Last Resort, hosted by Jonathan Ross in 1987.
Simon died last month. It is understood he had been suffering from heart problems.
Speaking to AP today, Simon’s widow, Cassie, said she would continue to run the archive set up by her late husband.
His funeral was held on Monday at a small church in Lincolnshire.
To view Simon’s work visit www.simonmarsden.co.uk
Picture: This shot was a personal favourite of Simon’s, his widow Cassie, told Amateur Photographer this afternoon Credit: The Marsden Archive