Photographer, Jim Hamilton, Dies

A former chief photographer at the Evening Times newspaper has died.

Jim Hamilton died this afternoon, following a long illness. He died in hospital. It's understood he was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis.

Says friend and colleague, John Young, a former picture editor of the Evening Times and also former group multimedia editor of the Herald and Times newspapers: “I had the pleasure of working with Jim, or 'Bammy Hammy' as he was affectionately known by his colleagues in Albion Street, and greatly admired him as a photographer and also as a human being. He won many awards for his photography over the years and possessed a keen eye for the decisive or humorous moment which he would capture perfectly with his camera.

“Jim was a larger-than-life character always full of fun and vitality. He was a favourite photographer among celebrities and politicians who knew that having their picture taken by Jim would mean two things: They would look their best and they would enjoy the experience. Jim loved life and lived it to the full.

“When I started as a junior photographer on the Evening Times in 1987, Jim had just been promoted to the post of chief photographer. I was greatly impressed by his enthusiasm for his art back then and I pleased to say that he still retained that enthusiasm for a 'good picture' when he took early-retirement in 2000, when the Herald & Times moved up to Renfield Street.

“As the newspaper group reorganised to cut cost the post of chief photographer was done away with, it's perhaps appropriate that Jim therefore was the last one.

“Apart from photography Jim had three other loves in his life: his wife Morag – his childhood sweetheart, his daughters – Margaret and Elizabeth – and golf. Morag sadly passed away in June two years ago which, not surprisingly, had a profound effect on him. Jim lived in Kirkintilloch and was a member of both Kirkintilloch and Hayston golf clubs; he liked one more for the golf course and the other for its bar.

“Like everything else he did in life, Jim swung a golf club with gusto and, although his swing could never be described as orthodox, it was at times effective and he won his fair share of prizes at Evening Times' golf outings. The best hole Jim always played though was always the '19th' where he sit back and enjoy a cigarette or two – when you still could – and a few 'family-sized voddys'.

“He was a great character and a gentleman and will sadly be missed by his family, friends and colleagues. We are however fortunate that he leaves a rich legacy of his work which can be found in the picture archive of the Herald & Times.”

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“Such a privilege to have worked with Jim. Always stylish and witty, he and Morag brought a touch of glamour to our sometimes grubby trade. When you were out on a job with Jim it was great to have a colleague who could charm the birds off the trees.” Alan MacDermid

“I couldn't have chosen a better companion than Jim to be marooned with in a blizzard in the early '70s on the way back from a job when my car got caught in an ice-up on a high moorland road in the north of England. About 50 drivers and passengers were rescued by a farmer, spent the night in a barn and were lifted out by military vehicles and taken to Appleby in the morning where Jim, my wife and I parked in a hotel with the best bar in town while it snowed for four days. At last we heard a railway snowplough was getting through and Jim was on the platform as a locomotive like something out of 'Dr Zhivago' chugged past. Up went the camera – but no click. 'My God', said Jim. 'It's frozen! You'll have to phone them – they'll never believe me.' I got the car back two weeks later when the road was finally dug clear. The police told me it started first time.” 
David Gibson, ex-Evening Times.