Obituary: Michael Wickham

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The Independent Online
Terence Conran [obituaries, 7 February] painted an engaging portrait of Michael Wickham, the photographer, as Surrealist charmer, romantic philanderer, and enormously generous bon viveur, writes Fiona MacCarthy. He fails to mention what a nightmare Wickham was to work with.

In my early days of journalism, as a young assistant on House & Garden magazine, I was sent out on an assignment with the maestro to photograph a house in Chislehurst. We left Vogue House in mid-morning, wending an increasingly erratic route through the southern suburbs, stopping off at pubs and paying an unscheduled visit to Michael's old chum Geoffrey Dunn of Dunn's of Bromley for more drinks and reminiscence.

We arrived at Chislehurst late in the afternoon, set up the shots and Michael took the pictures, arriving back exhausted around midnight. The next day the whole process had to be repeated as Michael had forgotten to put in any film.

House & Garden was edited in those days by Robert Harling, the brilliant and irascible typographer and novelist. Relations between the editor and photographer became increasingly strained, culminating in a punch-up in the office. I think it was Harling who ended up in hospital.