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Auction of Pictures for HIV Trust 2004-11-22

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Health, Humanities, Money, Scotland.
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Staring into the camera lens with clogged mascara, pancake face paint and backcombed beehives, the stars in Mr.Stanley Reilly’s pictures recall a more innocent age.

Ms.Ginger Rogers beams from the back of a limousine, Ms.Judy Garland grimaces a smile in a photograph taken before one of her last performances.

Mr.Reilly was a familiar sight at every premiere and opening in London during the sixties and his pictures recall a time when Hollywood and West End stars were not protected by an army of publicists.

Before long lenses and snatched shots made “paparazzi” a dirty word, the stage door photographers and the talent were on first name friendly terms.

Mr.Reilly remembers joining Mr.Spike Milligan for a drink, chatting to Mr.Elton John about his pre-concert nerves and being one of the first to catch a glimpse of Ms.Elizabeth Taylor’s diamond wedding ring. He said:

‘I photographed these people because I loved stars and I loved the opportunity to meet them. I still do. I am happy to get one or two pictures. I think it’s about respect and not going over the limits’.

A unique collection of images by Mr.Reilly goes on sale later this month when Harvey Nichols will host an auction of 27 prints in aid of Waverley Care, the Edinburgh-based support network for people with HIV.

One of Mr.Reilly’s personal favourites, a picture of John and Yoko Lennon, will be on sale, along with a vintage shot of Mr.Elton John, who supports the Waverley Care Trust. Mr.Reilly said:

‘It is always difficult to make a choice. I think I would have to say the picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. And the one of Elton John too — I was always a great fan’.

The Edinburgh-based photographer is on first name terms with stars like Mr.Sean Connery, Mr.Ewan Mcgregor and Mr.Cliff Richard and still frequents opening nights in the city, particularly during the Edinburgh festival.

He still nurses an ambition to photograph Mr.Nelson Mandela, whose journey has been an inspiration to him.

Yet despite the impressive portfolio, photography has always been a hobby for Mr.Reilly, who is severely dyslexic and hugely shy and led a double life in the 1960s, haunting the West End by night and working as a labourer by day.

Life in an Edinburgh children’s home left Mr.Reilly with a crippling lack of self-confidence and a stammer, and his difficulties with reading and writing convinced him he could not make a career in photography.

For a short time after moving to London Mr.Reilly lived rough, but his difficulties did not prevent him from gravitating towards the West End and the bright lights with a Pentax bought for 100_GBP.

The photograph of Ms.Judy Garland, taken shortly before her death was one of only a handful of his pictures Mr.Reilly sold to the press.

Although he may not have sold his photographs, taking them became a huge source of pleasure to Mr.Reilly.

‘I wanted to have something that I could say I had taken, that I had got — something special’.

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