An extraordinary collection of early photographic technology and images is being transferred from the British Film Institute to the Fox Talbot Museum at Lacock in Wiltshire, thanks to a £36,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and support from Art Council England’s Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Materials (PRISM) fund.
The photographer who has captured Michael Palin’s many travels since 1988 is bringing an exhibition of his work to the National Trust’s Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, Wiltshire.
Many who have the books of Palin’s globe trotting adventures will recognise the work of Basil Pao who has accompanied the former Python on trips for almost 25 years.
Basil Pao had worked with Monty Python in the late 1970s on the book for Life of Brian. In 1988 when Michael was beginning his first journey ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, he asked Basil if he would be his guide around Hong Kong andChina. His still photographs worked so well with that portion of the journey that Michael invited him to continue the trip with him.
Michael remarked: ‘In addition to showing me round Basil displayed two, no sorry, three advantages that have made him indispensable on all my journeys since then. He loves good food and drink, takes lots of amazing photographs and wears straw hats everywhere, ensuring that I never lose sight of the film crew.’
Since that first journey Michael and Basil have been around the world, over the poles, across the Himalayas and through theSahara.
Basil’s photographs have been used as the illustrations for the books encompassing all eight of these journeys with a ninth in the works. Currently the pair are working their way along the Amazon, with visits to Rio, Brasilia and other cities, to bring us their deeper and idiosyncratic view of Brazil.
Like still photographers on all sorts of film adventures, Basil’s images are better known than the photographer behind the camera. The exhibition at the National Trust’s Fox Talbot Museum contains 30 images of people and places encountered on all of those around the world journeys.
”Basil’s large, rich, colourful images bring you up close and personal with people and places throughout the far flung corners of the world”, said Roger Watson, National Trust Curator at the Fox Talbot Museum. “Most of us suffer from travel envy when it comes to Michael Palin. He’s gone to places we can only dream of. His friend and travelling companion, Basil Pao, unseen on screen, is a world class photographer with an eye for finding the people and places they visit and bring them to life.”