Graham Finlayson

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Graham Scott Finlayson (1932–1999)[1] was a British photojournalist who first worked for the Daily Mail and the Guardian, and later freelanced.

Life and career[edit]

Finlayson started work at the Southampton Echo, but after national service he worked in Manchester, first for the Daily Mail and from 1959 for the Guardian.[2][3]

Finlayson was generous in photographing the Hallé Orchestra.[2]

Finlayson was able to photograph L. S. Lowry, usually uncooperative with the press, and had a particularly successful working relationship with the writer Arthur Hopcraft.[4]

The Guardian did not restrict Finlayson to the Manchester area, instead sending him on assignments to such places as Ireland, Spain, Cyprus, Borneo, Nigeria and Indonesia.[3][5]

In 1965 Finlayson left the Guardian and Manchester to freelance, basing himself in Hampshire. The timing was good, as the colour supplements of Britain's Sunday newspapers were starting up. He did well among them, and later successfully covered sports (in which he was not interested) for Sports Illustrated.[2][6] He also covered architecture, industry, fashion, and travel.[7]

Toward the end of a warm obituary for Finlayson, Bob Smithies wrote that he "suffered from melancholia [. . .] he was never sure of his worth, satisfied with his endeavours or convinced of his value to those who valued him"; after heart trouble in the early 1990s he gave up photography and moved with his wife to France. He died of cancer in 1999.[2]

Even while Finlayson was still working as a photographer, his earlier work had become little remembered. Martin Harrison credits a 1983 exhibition at the Photographers' Gallery, British Photography 1955–65 (curated by Sue Davies), with saving his work (as well as that of John Bulmer and others) from obscurity;[8] much later, Harrison would go on to show it in a 1998 exhibition titled The Young Meteors.


Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • "Graham Finlayson: Early photographs". The Newsroom, The Guardian and Observer Archive and Visitor Centre (London), January–March 2005.[7][3]
  • "Graham Finlayson: Simply Black and White". The Lowry (Salford), April– 2006.[9]

Joint exhibitions[edit]



  • Graham Finlayson: Simply Black and White. Salford Quays: Lowry Press, 2006.


  1. ^ a b Photographs by Graham Finlayson, Guardian News & Media Archive. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Robert Smithies, "Through a lens lightly" (obituary), The Guardian, 27 February 1999. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Exhibitions: Graham Finlayson: early photographs", The Guardian Newsroom, [February 2005]. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  4. ^ Conrad Astley, "The big picture: Graham Finlayson", The Manchester Evening News, 29 August 2007. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Graham Finlayson", The Guardian, GNM Archive (n.d.). Accessed 16 February 2013.
  6. ^ Search results for Finlayson, Sports Illustrated archive. Accessed 17 February 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Press release: Graham Finlayson: Early photographs", The Guardian Newsroom, 8 February 2005. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  8. ^ a b Martin Harrison, preface to Young Meteors: British Photojournalism, 1957–1965 (London: Cape, 1998; ISBN 0-224-05129-6).
  9. ^ Alastair Sooke, "Viewfinder: 'Bantry Bay Pub' (1959) by Graham Finlayson", The Telegraph, 8 April 2006. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  10. ^ "The Lowry celebrates 100 years of Guardian photography", M&H News. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Guardian photography exhibition extended", The Lowry, 24 February 2009. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning – a sensational new Lakeside exhibition", University of Nottingham Alumni Online, 23 October 2012. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Actress to open photo exhibition of factory life", Nottingham Post, 25 October 2012. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  14. ^ Anna Douglas, ed., "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Exhibition Guide" (PDF), Lakeside Arts Centre, the University of Nottingham, 2nd ed., January 2013. Accessed 16 February 2013.