Launch of first photo and poetry exhibition for Westgate’s 96-year-old Maurice Rutherford

Maurice will hold his first photo exhibition at Cliffs in Cliftonville

A 96-year-old Westgate resident who took to Instagram to share his photos and poems following the death of his wife is to hold his first ever exhibition.

Maurice Rutherford will display his work at Cliffs in Northdown Road for a month from noon on January 12.

The former engineering and ship-repairing technical writer will be showing a selection of Thanet photos, each accompanied by a self-penned haiku.

Maurice, who has published poetry previously, was helped to set up his Instagram account by granddaughter Katy so he could share images of his walks around the isle.

The great-grandad-of-five lost his wife Olive six years ago. The couple had been married for 65 years.

He then moved from Bridlington to his Westgate flat three years ago to be nearer to his daughter. It was then he set out on his walks and began to capture the isle in pictures and words.

Maurice, who is blind in his right eye and losing visibility in the left, said: “My granddaughter set me up with a website and on Instagram in order to keep the brain going even if the body is not working properly!

“I have always been interested in photography and am still able to click a few frames. I have a walking frame now but a couple of years ago I had sticks so would walk along the seafront from Westgate to Margate, which is why I have titled it Love Note to Margate. Then I think about the photos, see what they move in me, and write the haiku, which is  a poem of 17 syllables. Normally haikus don’t rhyme but mine do.”

On one of my stops
On one of my stops
along West Bay: a tempted
girl, pink socks, flip-flops.

Maurice has published a number of poetry collections, notably with Peterloo Poets, Calstock, Cornwall and then with Shoestring Press, Nottingham, from where his latest book, ‘And Saturday Is Christmas’ was launched in 2011. He  says Olive features in many of his ‘traditional’ poems, which can be seen on his website here. He said: “Olive is at the bottom of everything I write.”

 

The exhibition has been organised by friend Dan North, who is a music industry photographer. Clients include bands U2 and The 1975. He has also worked for publications including NME, Q, Kerrang and Rolling Stone and had personal work from the series As I Found Her, exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery.

He met former military serviceman Maurice while doing a fashion photoshoot for brand STORY mfg owned by Katy and says he was ‘fascinated’ by his work.

Dan said: “I did a short film about him and then we stayed in touch. I found the Instagram photos and haikus quite magical. There was something in the photography that caught my eye, some images had masterful composition that really struck me. I asked if he was interested in doing an exhibition and have organised it for him.”

Maurice and Dan will be at Cliffs from noon on January 12 for the opening of I See, Haiku – a love note to Margate.

Find Maurice on instagram here

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