Friday, February 12, 2010

Death of a legend

Action curling photography is something that seems to be taken for granted these days. But it was not always so. Images of curlers in action in the Scotch Cup and Silver Broom years, for example, exist thanks primarily to the efforts of one man, Michael Burns snr. He took the photo above of the Scottish team in action at the 1983 World Championship in Regina.

Burns was born in Edinburgh, moving to Canada when he was a year old. Photographing horses and horse racing was his main interest. He became the official photographer of the Canadian Curling Association in 1958, and then the Scotch Cup and the Air Canada Silver Broom. His son, Michael Burns Jr, followed his father in the business.

As very much an amateur photographer, I have known and admired the work of both for decades. Burns snr was particularly helpful to me in my early writing efforts in the early 1980s, when I visited him in Toronto, and both father and son were great supporters of the Scottish Curler magazine. In the days before digital, I remember they had a darkroom set up in the Kelvin Hall for the Glasgow Silver Broom in 1985, and their official photos of the event went around the world.

You can see a photo of Michael snr here. His funeral is in Toronto today. He was 84.

Michael Burns jnr and snr are on the ice on the left, for once missing 'the action' in this photo taken during the opening ceremony of the 1982 Silver Broom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Russ Kriwanek of Wisconsin was the photographer who took this prize winning pic!

The top photo is an Air Canada Silver Broom photo by Michael Burns, from my own scrapbooks.