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Friday, 22 January 2010

Who took the Myra Hindley Photograph

 I always wondered who took the iconic police photograph of Myra Hindley. Then I got this comment on a previous post.

"I am the daughter of Clifford Scott, a photographer from Manchester. My Dad was called on by the police to take a photo of a suspect back in 1965. This suspect was Myra Hindley. He had no idea she had been arrested for murder (he thought she was a prostitute). His version of events is that Myra wouldn't co-operate so he swore at her. The result is that iconic photograph ... when I see it, I see someone who has been insulted by my Dad!

Sadly, Dad died a couple of years ago, otherwise I would put you in touch with him. He only told me about the photo a few years ago, and I was gobsmacked. I knew he'd had a photographic studio in Stalybridge but thought it was all weddings and babies. Apparently, Greater Manchester Police had a pool of local photographers to call on, if their photographer wasn't available. My dad was a Yorkshireman so didn't express too much emotion about the whole thing when I asked him. I suppose it was a few months after that he would have found out what she had actually been arrested for. At the time, he had three children (I was born in 1967) so I am sure it hit home that Hindley's crimes were abbhorent. We regularly used to go to Ashton market and I know they picked up one of their victims there. I grew up with the Moors Murders being a shadow over Manchester, but it took years for me to understand that we had a family connection to this terrible event.  It's a gruesome claim to fame really.

Which all says something about how photographs come about, who takes them, what they become and how different people see them. Thanks Sara.

usual disclaimers apply


Darrell Eager said...

Thanks Colin. I often think that many times the backstory of an image is more interesting than the image itself. In this case at least.

colin pantall said...

The picture's chilling to my mind - it's the most chilling British crime picture. The Hindley Brady story is very familiar to everyone here and is just horrific - and the picture is part of the story. It reminds me of Arbus for some reason.

Anonymous said...

I understood it was a police photographer , Bryan Harding,who took this photo.

colin pantall said...

Thanks, Anonymous, have you got a source or any further information to verify that?

Anonymous said...

No information further other than he was approached by Channel 4 some years ago when they did a programme. Sadly,he died about 5 years ago. He worked for Cheshire police force.