Photograph of Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson, Photography Volunteer

We recently received the sad news that one of RBGE’s longest standing photography volunteers had passed away.

Alex Wilson was recruited as a photography volunteer in 2000 by Debbie White, the RBGE photographer at that time. Alex , a retired biology teacher and an enthusiastic photographer, had an aptitude for botanical photography and, in particular, extreme macro close ups.

One of the most impactful projects that Alex worked on was a botanical poster project with RBGE’s Education Department that produced a series of 12 A2 educational posters aimed at the national biology curriculum in Scottish high schools. With Alex’s experience of Biology teaching, botany, and photography he was the perfect man for the job. He was able to interpret the ideas of the Education staff perfectly into images for the posters.

"Fish-eye" photograph of the RBGE Palm House
RBGE Palm House. Photograph by Alex Wilson.

Alex was willing to turn his hand to almost any type of photography but preferred macro work. He would travel from Bathgate to RBGE once a week by train with his rucksack laden with camera, lenses and a tripod to photograph the flora and fauna that he found at RBGE.  He always had a little bit of information to impart about a new technique or piece of equipment that he had learned or was going to try out. He loved keeping up to date with technological advances, equipment and techniques.

Photograph of students on the digital photography course.
Digital Plant Photography Group. Photograph by Alex Wilson.

After a while, Alex began to teach the digital plant photography course as part of the Adult Education programme at RBGE. He taught the macro plant photography weekend courses for around 10 years. He would take groups of willing students around the garden photographing plants and flowers, helping to develop their knowledge of ISO, shutter speed, aperture, composition and even a little bit of Photoshop. He has inspired many budding photographers with his knowledge and painstaking attention to detail in the images he created.

In 2014 Alex was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  He persevered with his photography for as long as possible, utilising his trusty Gitzo tripod to try to avoid camera shake when taking photographs. Eventually Alex had to give in and stop taking photographs as his hands shook too vigorously. Shortly thereafter he had to move into Linlithgow Care Home. Alex was awarded a Long Service Certificate for his contribution to the work of RBGE at an award ceremony in 2015.

Lynsey Wilson, RBGE Photographer.