Before settling in a lovely Portland, Oregon suburb, bon vivant John Livingstone enjoyed an idyllic many-decades career in Carmel as a respected master photographer, author and restaurant reviewer.
He had the pleasure of meeting and photographing many fascinating characters and their events; keeping some of the nicer ones as friends.
He admits his fifty-year career was recently “capped by a gracious letter from England’s Queen Elizabeth” in response to a photograph he took on her Coronation Day, some sixty two years ago in a Swanage, Dorsetshire pub.
During World War II, The Anchor Pub was Pfc Livingstone’s favorite off-duty destination along with his army buddies in the small English Channel town.
Revisiting Swanage in 1953 John was having a beer in his favorite pub while listening to a radio broadcast of the Coronation Ceremonies. He noticed two elderly men listening proudly and intently to the broadcast on the pub radio, and in the pub’s dim natural light propped his camera on the pub’s counter to take a slow shutter exposure of the two gents with a portrait of the new Queen bordered by British bunting on the wall behind them.
The photo, entitled “Coronation Broadcast” won First Prize in an international competition the following year, and was exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution and the Pentagon.
Sixty years later, in 2013, he sent the picture to the Queen in commemoration of the sixty years of her reign. The Queen, via her Lady-in-Waiting, responded, writing,
“The Queen wishes me to thank you for your letter which you sent in celebration of the anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation.
The Queen was interested in your wartime service spent in Swanage and that you revisited the town at the time of Her Majesty’s Coronation. Your thoughtfulness in sending a copy of the splendid photograph you took on that historic day is greatly appreciated.
“The Queen was deeply moved by the affection shown to her throughout her long reign and Her Majesty was touched by the sentiments you expressed.
“I am to thank you once again, for writing as you did.”
A few days later the former Carmel photographer received a cordial letter from the Queen’s archivist, stating that “Coronation Broadcast” has been made part of the Royal Photograph Collection at Windsor Castle.
“It took me sixty years to get around to it, but better late than never,” Livingstone quipped.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer fellow.
“All works are signed by John Livingstone and include a certificate of authenticity.“
John’s book of Carmel in pictures
“Carmel By Itself: Portrait of a Unique American Community“
is available at Amazon.
(And if you buy John’s book through this link,
you can help support this website since we will get about 25 cents !)
Note: While I was aware of this momentous event some time ago, let me apologize for how it took me until now to find the time to properly publish it.