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J. Stephens Orr ( -1990) was a 20th-century Scottish Glasgow photographer with an interest in people and motor cars. Practicing between 1930 and 1970 in Glasgow's Langside and later at No. 4 Somerset Place, Charing Cross, he became known for his portraits of society figures in magazines such as Scottish Field. He worked in an age when Scottish culture was highly regarded, and people of all classes saw nothing wrong with The White Heather Club (a 1960s Scottish TV show, viewed now as hopelessly kitsch, but still part of the Scottish psyche).
His usual subjects were judges posing in full regalia, antidisestablishmentarianism lawyers, Duchesses and controversial music hall characters. Orr also photographed some internationally famous celebrities and captains of industry, all visitors to Glasgow. Here is a small selection of personalities that he photographed:
- Paul Robeson — U.S. vocalist and black activist
- Dame Marie Rambert — Polish dancer and choreographer; founder of Ballet Rambert
- Marc Chagall — Jewish painter
- Richard Burton — Welsh actor
- Stanley Baxter — Scottish comedian
- Jacques Tati — French film maker
- Paul Tortelier — French Catholic-Jewish cellist
- David Brown, Aston Martin cars
- William Lyons, Jaguar, Austin cars
- Walter Owen Bentley, Rolls Royce/Bentley cars
- Nicholas Fairbairn — Scottish lawyer and British politician
Orr wore a distinctive kilt and photographed in a portrait style similar to Yousuf Karsh. He recorded the last glimmers of a confident Scottish society in flamboyant style. His later life was spent with his wife, Jenny, on the Scottish Clyde coast island of Cumbrae.
- Thomson, Patricia (24 April 1999). "Sydney Harrison". Glasgow Herald – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- "Stephens Orr (active 1960s), Photographer". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 31 January 2014.