David Eustace, Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University is a world-renowned photographer, director and curator, and is regarded as one of Scotland’s most influential creative minds. Having left school at 16 and served in the Royal Navy as well as HM Prison Barlinnie, David has gone on to carve out a career that has seen him undertake commissions around the world and have his work exhibited in New York, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. David has been a client of Bruce Stevenson for several years and we spoke to him about his career and views on insurance.
David, what type of style or methodology do you think defines your photographic work?
Hopefully a quiet considered moment that somehow connects a viewer and a subject although they are often strangers. Composing elements within a camera frame is really no different to curating or designing a boardroom, office or indeed a home. It is all simply an opinion. I was asked some years ago by Panasonic, what makes me a better photographer than another. I don’t believe I am. I construct a frame the way I see things and I’m fortunate that many seem to like the way I see things. It’s not better, however. It’s an opinion and really that simple.
Who has been the most interesting celebrity you have ever photographed and why?
I dislike the word ‘celebrity’ as it can cheapen the achievements of some incredibly talented folk. In the same breath, the term can give a sense of stature to folk who have done a great deal of very little. I’ve worked with many diverse folk from The Rothschild family to beggars in Beirut. I find all people have something to offer if you’re prepared to see beyond the surface...celebrity is surface. In terms of ‘interesting’ folk there’s been so many and I do feel fortunate for such experiences.
You grew up in Glasgow and lived there until your 50’s. What made you choose Edinburgh as the location for your new home?
Both Glasgow and Edinburgh are incredibly close in terms of miles and I see this as a benefit of a small country where our largest city is just a short drive from our capital city. I love both Edinburgh and Glasgow for very different reasons, both linked by memories. In no time both cities will meet in the middle and I wonder if we’ll still see them being so far apart. I hope not. I spent the majority of my 30’s in London and my 40’s in NYC and feel what you hope for will often find you.
Your home almost has a living gallery feel about it. When did you start collecting art, photography and other items of interest?
It’s my home first and foremost. The ‘things’ I’ve collected over the years are most often related to memories, associations, or simply objects and art that makes me smile fondly each time I pass them. I’m also very much attracted to history and of course aesthetics in form, shape and structure all of which touch and inspire something within – which is not really quite so easy to put into words.
You’ve started offering ‘Masterclass weekend stays’ in your home. Clearly, with so many valuable items within your possession, having the right insurance cover must have been an important consideration?
There’s much that can never be replaced but it’s simply foolish not to try and protect what can or at least give some form of insurance that allows the opportunity to replace in some form. I do not just collect things... I hope for memories and I do believe that Bruce Stevenson understands the difference.
What specifically drew you to Bruce Stevenson as an insurance broker?
The recommendation of a trusted friend really is the greatest sales vehicle.
Have you any tips for people who are thinking of collecting photographic prints as an investment?
Be careful, as the choice of work may not mature as you do. Be careful when others tell you the piece will increase in value. No one really knows. Be careful of trends and fashions. If a work, however, touches your soul then ignore the previous advice and go for it as it’s already of great value. All about balance, provenience, period, vintage, authenticity and another dozen things including an artists and dealers principles. But be careful and appreciate the difference between The World of Art and The Art World.