Portrait photographer looks back in Banburyshire show

Eminent British portrait photographer, Donald MacLellan, charts 25 years of capturing famous and influential faces in his one-off free retrospective show at the Heseltine Gallery, Chenderit School, Archery Road, Middleton Cheney, 7 to 25 March 2018.

Stars of film and stage line up alongside figures from politics, business and the arts in this rare chance to see 40 striking works by this nationally-renowned Banbury portrait photographer. Mr MacLellan will also be on hand, in a series of events during the exhibition’s run, to offer amateur and professional snappers insights from his pioneering approach and to work with Chenderit students.

The selection of past portraits, gleaned from four acclaimed 21st-century shows, will present well-known names and unsung heroes, ranging from Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris (Eve Moneypenny inSkyfall and Spectre) to Sir Ian McKellen. Three of the original exhibitions were solo shows at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London*: Mr MacLellan is the only photographer in the NPG’s history to have achieved this accolade.

“It’s a great opportunity to celebrate and remember the individuals and their stories and share my photography experiences with the Banbury community,” says Mr MacLellan. “Every portrait tells a tale about the person, opening up aspects of their character and involving particular technical challenges.”

Born in 1967 in the West Highlands of Scotland, Mr MacLellan moved to Banbury in 1997. Passionately believing in making the visual arts accessible to everyone, he has chosen to mount this, his first retrospective show, at Banburyshire’s prime community art gallery. It will be co-curated by his father-in­law, Chris Craggs, who lives in Middleton Cheney and sits on the Heseltine Gallery’s Friends committee.

Mr Craggs says: ”We have numerous wonderfully creative people in the area. It’s fantastic to share their work in this purpose-built space. We hope our regular visitors will encourage new friends to support us.”

The official show opening will be on Sunday 11 March, 11am to 1pm. On Friday 23 March, 7.30 to 9pm, Mr MacLellan will present his insights into techniques and experiences at a ticketed Meet the Photographer evening, organised by Middleton Cheney Library Supporters Group.

Mr Craggs explains: “Although the village library is under threat of closure, the Supporters Group continues to offer a range of events, this time collaborating with the gallery to encourage greater community participation in the area.”

Entry to the exhibition and opening event is free. Tickets for Meet the Photographer are £6 (adults) and £3 (children), available from Middleton Cheney library or online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/MCLSG . Copies of the portraits on show can be ordered from the exhibition catalogue.