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Nikon Owner Issue 11

A WINTER'S TALE by Gillian Greenwood

The dark knight Simon Marsden is our host at the first ever Nikon Owner Magazine Christmas Dinner with a special screening of The Twilight Hour directed by Jason Figgis.

On Saturday, December 6th, 2003, the Nikon Owner held their first festive Christmas dinner. The ‘Ghostly Christmas Dinner’ held in the sumptuous surroundings of The Castle, Saint Hill Manor, West Sussex, was also the occasion for a singular screening of Sir Simon Marsden’s hauntingly beautiful film, The Twilight Hour, directed with graceful and poetic skill by Irish film-maker, Jason Figgis.

This documentary followed Simon Marsden, the internationally acclaimed photographer of the fantastic and the supernatural, as he explored some of the bleakest and most haunted buildings in Ireland. We saw him shooting images in and around the plethora of Ireland’s ruined castles, dark, inhospitable mansions and foreboding mausoleums, whilst amassing ghostly and occasionally uneasy material for his eighth book, The Twilight Hour.

Simon Marsden has turned the photography of haunted buildings and melancholic landscape into an art form, exploring hidden recesses of the psyche whilst on his itinerant and far-reaching investigations of the spectral universe. Simon’s images can be found in many prestigious collections, including the Getty Museum California, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and his books include Visions of Poe, Phantom of the Isles, The Journal of a Ghosthunter, In Ruins, The Haunted Realm, Beyond the Wall, and Venice, City of Haunting Dreams.

Jason Figgis works with his younger brother Jonathan in their Dublin-based film company, October Eleven Pictures, on films which deal with potent issues such as violence, consequence and redemption. The Figgis brothers wrote their first storyboards as movie-mad children. Jason admits “I’ve always had an interest in the macabre”, and Jonathan resubscribers as a child being fascinated by every Hammer House of Horror movie ever made. They are currently working on an upcoming feature 3Crosses, a modern film noir about three Polish-Irish brothers, one of whom is murdered.

The backdrop for the Christmas Dinner was the magnificent Great Hall of The Castle, cobweb-covered candelabra, and a cold misty other-world created by a profusion of special effects.

The venue, staff, sound and lighting crew for this event was generously provided by Mr. Bob Keenan of the L. Ron Hubbard Foundation. The evening was introduced by editor Gray Levett.

Our venue Christmas lights decorate this beautiful Castle
Our venue Christmas lights decorate this beautiful Castle
Gray Levett greets Heather Fox and Allan Withers (Lowepro U.K.)Catherine Lawrence and Tom Hooley
Bob Keenan talking to director Jason FiggisRobert Sanger, Debbie & Steve Hughes
The Big Read. The subscribers gatherSimon Marsden signs his book for Allan Withers

From top left:

  • Gray Levett greets Heather Fox and Allan Withers (Lowepro U.K.)
  • Catherine Lawrence and Tom Hooley
  • Bob Keenan talking to director Jason Figgis
  • Robert Sanger, Debbie & Steve Hughes
  • The Big Read. The subscribers gather
  • Simon Marsden signs his book for Allan Withers

The event was completely sold out and we were also delighted to welcome the legendary technical guru, Scott Andrews from Nikon Inc. U.S.A., who had flown over from Washington, D.C.. Scott Andrews is responsible for NASA, The White House Press, National Geographic, The Explorers’ Club, as well as being an adviser for and a distinguished subscriber of the Nikon Owner.

The idea for the Christmas Dinner was initiated by subscribers Robert Sanger and Steve Hughes, who have been instrumental in creating the successful social meetings with subscribers which began about six months ago.

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