Tributes to former Dorset Echo photographer Bruce Litson

The man behind the lens

The man behind the lens

First published in News
Last updated

Tributes have been paid to former Dorset Echo photographer Bruce Litson who has died following a short illness.

He passed away in Dorset County Hospital last Wednesday, aged 53.

Bruce attended Hardye’s School in Dorchester before studying photography and film production at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art.

He became a member of the Institute of Incorporated Photogra-phers and moved to London to work with a leading commercial photographer.

However, his heart was always in Dorset and he returned to the county with the aim of exhibiting his own work.

He got a job working for the now-defunct Dorset County Post and had numerous photographs published in national newspapers and magazines and continued to hold exhibitions.

Bruce was also a hugely talented bass guitarist in a number of bands in the Weymouth and Dorchester area throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s.

He was a founder member of Banty Rooster while still a sixth former at Hardye’s School in 1976 and went on to play with Volt Affection, My God We’ve Created a Monster, Dream Home Collapses and French Girl Frightened By A Man, some of whose names were inspired by Echo headlines.

Former Echo editor Mike Woods was among those who paid tribute.

He said: “He had great artistic talent in doing atmospheric pictures with beautiful composition alongside everyday, run-of-the-mill newspaper event photographs.

“His talent was rewarded when Dorset County Museum staged an exhibition of his work which covered the whole spectrum.

“It was just so, so tragic when I heard he had died.”

Dorset Echo deputy editor Diarmuid MacDonagh worked with Bruce for many years.

He said: “In newspapers we deal in words every day but sometimes it is nigh on impossible to find the right ones to articulate the essence of a person; especially a great friend.

“Bruce was simply the most talented photographer I have worked with but also, perhaps, one of the most complex of people.

“Going on the most mundane of assignments with Bruce had the potential to turn into the most unexpected of adventures.

“We were chased by criminals, cheered by OAPs when Bruce staged an impromptu concert at their Christmas party and shouted at by the news editor for arriving back in the office late (again). But we always made deadline and we never stopped laughing.

“He would often disappear from my side as I sought out a story. While other photographers would line up and take the same shot Bruce would reappear on top of a wall, the roof of a building or from the undergrowth.

“And he always got the picture nobody else had contemplated; the one that frankly, nobody else had the ‘eye’ to see.

“It was always difficult trying to find the words to match Bruce’s pictures.

“No matter how much I tried to polish the prose it was invariably outshone by the brilliance of Bruce’s photographs. He also had an immense charm and the charisma to match his talent.

“He could exasperate beyond reason but the refrain I have heard most since his passing, that ‘Everybody loved Bruce’, was enough to extract him from most difficulties.”

Sadly, his life never ran as smoothly as he or those closest to him would have wished. Bruce didn’t do mundane or ordinary and the mundane or ordinary never alighted upon Bruce.

He tragically lost his baby daughter Beth to cot death and more recently his beloved partner Helen to cancer.

He was endlessly restless in life but it is hoped that he can now find the peace rarely afforded him in recent times.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:27pm Wed 12 Sep 12

Presstostop says...

I'm so shocked. Bruce was a good mate back in the 1970's. A very popular regular at The Kings Arms Dorchester. I just wished that I'd kept in touch. The Litson Lens will be missed by many.
I'm so shocked. Bruce was a good mate back in the 1970's. A very popular regular at The Kings Arms Dorchester. I just wished that I'd kept in touch. The Litson Lens will be missed by many. Presstostop
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Wed 12 Sep 12

Andrew Ridge says...

Bruce was an inspired photographer and quite the best bassist I've ever played with (in Volt Affection). I also heard him play with Banty Rooster, MGWCaM and Dream Home Collapses, who performed a remarkable one-off set of original songs at Dorchester Corn Exchange in 1989.
My heart goes out to his family at this time, especially to Audrey, his mother.
Bruce was an inspired photographer and quite the best bassist I've ever played with (in Volt Affection). I also heard him play with Banty Rooster, MGWCaM and Dream Home Collapses, who performed a remarkable one-off set of original songs at Dorchester Corn Exchange in 1989. My heart goes out to his family at this time, especially to Audrey, his mother. Andrew Ridge
  • Score: 0

5:42pm Wed 12 Sep 12

andy67 says...

Rip Bruce hope its better were you are now.
Rip Bruce hope its better were you are now. andy67
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Wed 12 Sep 12

Crabber says...

I had the pleasure of Bruce's company on nay a night in my capacity as a Club Security Operator. I always found him a funny man full of the joys of life and he always had time for a laugh. He was one of lifes rare Diamonds that one does not find for many years. R.I.P Bruce I shall miss seeing those great shots that you always seemed to get with the 'Litson Lens'
I had the pleasure of Bruce's company on nay a night in my capacity as a Club Security Operator. I always found him a funny man full of the joys of life and he always had time for a laugh. He was one of lifes rare Diamonds that one does not find for many years. R.I.P Bruce I shall miss seeing those great shots that you always seemed to get with the 'Litson Lens' Crabber
  • Score: 0

12:35am Thu 13 Sep 12

andrewwyllie says...

Shocked to hear the news. I was a reporter on the Echo when Bruce was there and I remember him as a truly nice guy, full of energy and life and a real joy to be around. A great and original photographer too.
Shocked to hear the news. I was a reporter on the Echo when Bruce was there and I remember him as a truly nice guy, full of energy and life and a real joy to be around. A great and original photographer too. andrewwyllie
  • Score: 0

11:51am Thu 13 Sep 12

bringbacknelson says...

A top man & a good guy. RIP Bruce.
A top man & a good guy. RIP Bruce. bringbacknelson
  • Score: 0

8:47pm Thu 13 Sep 12

mandydewer says...

I am so saddened by this news - I remember Bruce from our school days and have happy memories.Although we had personally lost touch, my mum always kept me up to date with news from home. My deepest sympathies to his family, Mandy Dewer (nee James)
I am so saddened by this news - I remember Bruce from our school days and have happy memories.Although we had personally lost touch, my mum always kept me up to date with news from home. My deepest sympathies to his family, Mandy Dewer (nee James) mandydewer
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree