View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. People
January 18, 2023updated 19 Jan 2023 6:48am

Former Daily Record picture editor Martin Gilfeather dies aged 84

Martin Gilfeather helped to pioneer colour technology in the UK news industry.

By Daniel Gilfeather

Martin Gilfeather, former picture editor of the Daily Record, has died at 84 following a short illness.

In a career spanning more than 60 years Martin was known to many within Fleet Street, as well as in Manchester and Scotland, due to his involvement with a number of the UK’s top publications as well as an extensive freelance career.

Born in Leith in 1938, Martin’s first role after leaving school came as a copy boy at the Edinburgh office of the Daily Mail in 1954.

His interest in photography took him to Reading Technical College to study, where he also gained his first job working for the Newbury Weekly News.

In 1957, due to his exclusive photographs of a Ban the Bomb march outside Aldermaston leading to publication in Fleet Street as well as in Life Magazine, Martin gained a role with East Mid News Agency based in Doncaster, run at that time by Ron Cookson and Leo White.

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

It was at East Mid that Martin first met the reporter Philip Finn (who would later become head of bureau for the Express in New York) They became a formidable team at the Daily Express whenever they were sent out together, often on jobs where “angels feared to tread” as well as becoming lifelong friends.

Content from our partners
Pugpig named best media technology partner of 2024 by AOP
Cannes Lions: The world's best creativity all in one place
L'Equipe signs content syndication deal with The Content Exchange

In 1960, Martin would start at the Daily Express in Manchester where he stayed until 1965, after which he moved to the Sunday Mirror. Based in Manchester, Martin became one of the pioneer photographers working on the colour revolution, aiming for colour-photographs-on-the-run instead of pre-print inserts.

At this time he was working out of Manchester, flying to Belfast every week to shoot colour features, as the Mirror was experimenting with web-offset and colour printing. That ended when the IRA bombed the plant and the Mirror decided to print its Irish editions in Manchester.

In 1968, Martin was offered the job as Deputy Picture Editor of the Daily Record in Glasgow. However, months later in 1969 he was appointed Deputy Picture Editor of the Daily Mirror in London for a short period before being appointed by Murdoch’s new tabloid The Sun to be its first Picture Editor prior to launch.

In 1970, after having departed from the Sun and after a brief spell at the Daily Sketch at its time of closure, Martin went to set up his own agency in East Anglia in partnership with Geoff Cooper who had been a senior reporter on the Daily Sketch.

Anglia Press Agency operated out of Colchester and was very successful. However after four years, in September 1973, Martin returned to Glasgow as Picture Editor of the Daily Record in its new centre at Anderston Quay and contributed to making it a leader in pioneering colour technology within the UK newspaper industry.

After 13 years in the picture editor’s chair at the Record in 1987, there was a feeling of déjà vu when he was again called to London, this time as group assistant editor (pictures) of the Mirror Group, where he was put to work helping to design various publications and supplements, including the European.

As part of Robert Maxwell’s publisher’s planning group. During this period, Martin, along with John Hill, Revel Barker, David Wadmore and Herbert Pearson, would find themselves in Moscow at the height of Glasnost, redesigning the Moscow News.  

Two years later when problems emerged at the Mirror he left the company and moved on to become a design consultant on the Daily Express in London to work with their colour team, a role which was completed in 1990.

At this point, Martin, with his family still based in Scotland, decided to return to Glasgow and launch his own successful freelance agency Photonews Scotland Ltd, which continued until his retirement in 2014 where he covered news and sport both in Scotland and abroad.

He enjoyed life with Moira his wife and family, leaving Glasgow for Ayrshire coast with views of the Firth of Clyde and a relaxed pace. Martin died peacefully on 3 January 2023 after a short illness with his wife Moira and family at his side. 

Martin leaves behind a legacy of not just being one of the great picture editors, but of being acknowledged by many for his sense of what made a great news photo. His keen news sense for a story being just as important as his skills as a photographer and picture editor.

Martin is survived by his wife Moira, his children Joanna, Matthew and Daniel and his two grandchildren.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network