Alan Buckley is one of Oxford’s best and best-known poets, and rightly so. He is also fantastically striking and emotionally open – both of which make for great photographs – so it is a real pleasure to work with him. Long known as Oxford’s tallest blondest poet, he has recently changed dramatically – so much so that some people don’t recognize him at all.
I took this brooding portrait of him in February 2010 outside the Bodleian Library – I love the grain, texture and angularity of his hair, the knotted worn wood, his stubble and jacket, and his incredible cheekbones. It captures an era of Alan, and has become the iconic image of him in publicity materials online and in print.
Jump forward nearly three years to November 2012 when he commissioned this new portrait for a new phase of life. The blond has gone and the hair is growing, final length as yet unknown. We discussed the feel we were after: intense and shadowy, and we decided on a clean, minimalist studio setting. This has become Alan’s new profile portrait.
It’s evidently the same person – same incredible cheekbones, same emotional openness – but this poet is in motion. I recommend you follow him and listen in, for he has words to say.