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‘Genius’ photographer who turned down national move dies at 84

A “genius” regional daily photographer who turned down the chance to work with his legendary former editor on the nationals has died aged 84.

Tributes have been paid to Colin Theakston, pictured below, who spent 44 years with the Northern Echo.

During his time with the Echo, he served under the employ of Sir Harold Evans between 1963 and 1967.

Sir Harold hoped to take Mr Colin’s talents to London after the photographer had contributed a powerful image of North-East history to his bible for press photographers – Pictures on a Page.

Colin Theakston

Now editor-at-large for Reuters in New York, Sir Harold said: “As soon as I got to the Sunday Times I offered him a staff position, alas he turned it down for family reasons. He was a lovely man and had a touch of genius about him.

“I have treasured the print he made for Pictures on a Page, a launch on the Tyne of a destroyer, men in the corner, atmospheric mist giving a sense of distance.

He added: “I would gladly cooperate with the Northern Echo to preserve his photographic legacy. He along with Ian Wright and Bill Oliver captured the social history of the 60s revolution.”

Former Echo photographer Ian Wright has also paid tribute.

He said: “Colin was the quiet man always on the fringes when a gathering of press photographers met to cover a major event – a royal or Presidential visit, a disaster, a murder. The reason – first, he was always seeking out something different from the pack.

“He was a considerate and compassionate photographer – not in the subjects face or kicking in doors. He had a titanic passion for the people of the region and his knowledge and deep understanding of its people was reflected in his stunning images, particularly miners and ship workers.

“He was never rushed, always calm under pressure. This enabled him the opportunity to produce the type of images so admired by his editor, the now renowned Sir Harold Evans, who had this image framed on his wall at the Echo. Today it hangs in his Manhattan study.”

Colin retired to Barnard Castle and passed away earlier this month.

Friends and former colleagues are invited to attend a service for Colin at Darlington Crematorium at 2.45pm tomorrow.

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