Ian Torrance: Lifetime Through A Lense

IAN Torrance receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at tonight's First Scotrail Press Photography Awards in Glasgow and I couldn't be more pleased.

He might be a Hibs supporter but despite this obvious handicap, he isn't just a legend in UK photo journalism but a dear old friend.

Torrie first took me under his wing when I was still a 28-inch waist, first at the Daily Record office then in Edinburgh's George Street and later Glasgow, keeping me right when needed, ending the day with the occasional swift half.

Any time you were paired with the big chap you instantly knew you were on a story likely to walk into the paper.

He could sniff a free cup of tea from 1000 paces, really cared about stories with a human interest about them and always had a story to tell.

Yet despite having worked dozens of jobs with Ian over the years, one day sticks out more than most.

It's when I arrived in Macedonia with fellow snapper Toni Nicoletti for the Daily Record during the war in Kosovo, the relief party for Ian and then chief reporter Anna Smith who'd been in theatre for weeks already.

Arriving at the hotel room there were the usual hugs and shakes of the hand.
But the looks on their faces warned us of what was to come.

We spent a long night listening to horror stories of what they had witnessed in the Brazda refugee camp and beyond, of their anger and frustrations, of how the sea of misery before them outweighed anything they'd ever witnessed before.

If it had been anyone else, I'm not sure how I would have reacted. Because it was Ian and Anna, you knew it was going to be bad.

Years later and back in Edinburgh, it was Ian again back on hand to help with images when Planet Hearts was launched – costing us nothing more than inter city banter.

Because that's the kind of guy he is.

Not only a triple photographer of the year winner, not just an MBE, not only a top newsman but a true gentleman to boot.

And I can think of no-one more deserving of this latest gong.

Here's to you Ian. But your team's still mince.

Categories: Awards

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