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Former regional daily chief photographer dies aged 86

John EsplinA regional daily’s former chief photographer described as the “consummate professional” by former colleagues has died aged 86.

Tributes have been paid to John Esplin, left, who worked for the Greenock Telegraph between 1977 and 1994.

John’s photography career had begun as an amateur with the Greenock Camera Club, before setting up his own business and freelancing for national newspapers.

George Munro, who succeeded John as the Telegraph’s chief photographer, said it was a “great privilege for him” to work as his assistant.

He told the Telegraph: “Press photography requires a different skill set from that of a commercial photographer, and I was lucky to work closely with one of the best in the business and someone who had quite literally ‘done it all’.

“John was the consummate professional, and expected the same from all those who worked with him. I was very lucky indeed to have worked with John, and I’m thankful for the fact that he selflessly shared his methods and skills with me over the key years of my development in the job. His integrity and professionalism was such that he had the final say on who should succeed him at the Tele, and I was lucky to be that person.”

George added: “John was known and loved by Inverclyde people across the social spectrum, and I was always deeply impressed with how he seemed to know just about everyone in the community. I owe John a great debt for all he taught me, and how he helped me to best understand what makes a great picture and how to strive to that end.”

Former Telegraph editor Ken Thomson described John as “a true photo journalist who was always full of enthusiasm”.

He said: “He always knew the angle in a story, and would come up with a picture to complement it.”

Greenock-born John had completed National Service with the Royal Air Force in Yorkshire, which led to a lifelong link with the RAF Club in the town.

He is survived by wife Nan, Alison, son-in-law Jim, grandchildren Craig and Lynn and great-grandchildren Ross and Nicola.

Alison said: “He loved his job at the Tele and meeting so many people, and he always had a great time at the RAF Club.”

John’s funeral was held at Greenock Crematorium at noon yesterday, which would have been his 87th birthday.