Brian’s legacy to our town and its peo­ple

Macclesfield Express - - BRIAN OL­LIER: A TRIB­UTE - STU­ART GREER

THE widow of Brian Ol­lier has led trib­utes af­ter the pop­u­lar photographer’s sud­den death.

Brian turned his boy­hood pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy into a suc­cess­ful ca­reer last­ing half a cen­tury.

He re­tired last year and planned to travel the world with his de­voted wife Mar­garet.

How­ever, in July Brian dis­cov­ered he had stom­ach can­cer. He died on Fri­day af­ter com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing surgery. He was 69 years old.

News of Brian’s death has shocked the town, prompt­ing more than 100 trib­utes on the Ex­press Face­book page, as well as dozens of emails and calls.

Pay­ing trib­ute, his wife Mar­garet said: “Pho­tog­ra­phy was all Brian ever wanted to do. He could take any type of photo but it was por­traits that were his real love.

“Dur­ing one of the an­nual baby com­pe­ti­tions he took 1,200 por­traits in just 10 days which is an amaz­ing fig­ure. Brian loved ev­ery minute of his work and was com­mit­ted to spend­ing as long as it took to get the right shot. He took the pho­tos of gen­er­a­tions of the same fam­ily. I like to think that most homes in Mac­cles­field will have an where.”

Born in Mac­cles­field in 1945, Brian grew up on Chapel Street with his mum and dad Florence and Colin.

As a boy, Brian de­vel­oped his love of pho­tog­ra­phy prac­tis­ing his art around the town and on school trips, de­vel­op­ing his im­ages in the cup­board un­der the stairs at home.

Brian’s abil­ity even earned him his first paid job at the ten­der age of 13, when he was booked for his first wed­ding.

Af­ter leav­ing Cen­tral School he got a job at the Mac­cles­field Ex­press as a ju­nior photographer.

In an age be­fore cam­era film was used, Brian’s job re­quired him to used glass plates to cap­ture im­ages for the big news sto­ries that week.

Mar­garet said: “He was sent out on his bike on six jobs with six plates. It left no room for er­ror, so Brian had to make sure he got it

‘Ol­lier’ some- right first time. It taught him about try­ing to get the per­fect pic­ture first time, some­thing he car­ried with him for his whole ca­reer.”

In 1964, although just a teenager, Brian set up his own stu­dio on Sunderland Street in a shop rented from his god­mother Lena Whit­taker.

He spent the next 50 years tak­ing thou­sands of por­traits, wed­dings and com­plet­ing cor­po­rate jobs. The stu­dio moved to Mill Street in 1980 and early last year to Queen Vic­to­ria Street.

Dur­ing those five decades Brian re­tained a strong con­nec­tion with the Ex­press and be­came a main­stay of the pa­per with his pop­u­lar Look­ing Back col­umn. Out­side of his work his other pas­sion in life was his fam­ily.

He met Mar­garet at Krum­bles disco in 1970 and the pair be­came in­sep­a­ra­ble.

They moved to a house on Brook Street and Mar­garet left her job as a cook to help run the stu­dio.

Over the fol­low­ing decade Brian found fame and suc­cess in his orig­i­nal pastel por­trait style and the cou­ple trav­elled the world at­tend­ing lec­tures and sem­i­nars.

In 1983 they de­cided to set­tle down and were mar­ried, and by 1992 were busy with three chil­dren James, Joe and Sarah.

Brian re­tired in July 2013 and planned to travel the world with Mar­garet in their mo­torhome be­fore fall­ing ill.

Mar­garet said: “Brian saw great changes in pho­tog­ra­phy through­out his ca­reer, fi­nally em­brac­ing dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy. He never lost his en­thu­si­asm for his art and leaves a legacy of thou­sands of im­ages span­ning al­most 50 years.”

Brian’s son James also paid trib­ute.

He said: “I am such a proud son. He will be sorely missed by us all.

“Luck­ily we are sur­rounded by won­der­ful fam­ily and friends, and that thought also helped ease his pass­ing, know­ing that peo­ple are there for us when he couldn’t be.”

The stu­dio is plan­ning to cel­e­brate 50 years in busi­ness in De­cem­ber this year. If you would like to pay trib­ute or read more com­ments by those who re­mem­ber Brian, go to our Face­book page at face­ mac­cles­field­ex­press.

●» Brian Ol­lier and, inset left, with Lord Snow­den ear­lier in his ca­reer

●» Brian, right, takes a snap

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