DOUG MCNAB, PART OF THE EXCITATIONS TEAM.
My earliest recollections of Doug McNab, are of a cheeky young kid. Who, along with his brother Gus, (well that’s what I thought his brothers name was, turns out Gus was actually Greg but that is another story) were regularly roped into being models for Bowrings Department Store TV and print Advertising campaigns.
Great kids, up for almost any harebrained idea we threw at them. And there were a few of those. Personally I blame the team in Bowrings display and advertising department. Doug’s older sister Deb and a young woman called Robyn, who some of you will now know as Robyn from Excitations. Week after week these kids would cheerfully turn up to their next adventure, modelling the latest in kids fashions.
Not long after this time, Excitations was born. One of our first attempts at competing in the big time was to enter the Australian National Print Awards, at the time the toughest professional photography competition around. Naturally, Doug and Gus (Greg) were convinced to cram themselves into a large wooden box for one of our very first competition entries. An hilarious shoot, and one which I will remember to the day I die.
Time passed, and somehow Doug and Gus started turning up at our Merbein studio, doing odd jobs after school, even running the show on Saturday mornings when we were away.
Doug went on to become Robyn’s permanent wedding assistant. Looking after Robyn, loading Hasselblad cameras, quicker and better than most pros I knew. Doug Mcnab was a great assistant. He instinctively got it. Checking gear, light and doing possibly the most important part of shooting on film… He managed all the light readings and exposure controls for Robyn… Doug could have been a great photographer…. But was too smart for that.
He moved on to a short stint with computer programming before finally settling on a career in nursing. My guess is he would have excelled at anything he decided to do. Meeting a beautiful young woman, Jeannine, herself a country girl, it wasn’t long before we were photographing another wedding involving Doug. Even on his wedding day, he still wanted to help with the photography.
Together, they set up in Melbourne, to live love and build a home. Constructing what we jokingly referred to as the McCastle. A wee bit of the Scottish ancestry coming out me thinks. Two stories, complete with ramparts, a moat and drawbridge. These McNabs date back to the 1100’s and it wasn’t always a case of love thy neighbour . Seriously, I made up the bit about the moat and ramparts. But Doug and father Andy and I suspect others of the clan created an amazing home full of new and innovative ideas, but more importantly filled with love.
Jeannine and Doug juggled two careers and managed somehow to fit in having a family. Hamish, Scarlett and Jemima…. Talk about Scottish heritage.
We have all known for some time that Doug McNab was not going to be with us for a long time. Diagnosed with a terminal illness for which there was no treatment. Doug defied the odds for a long time. When the photo above was taken, he should have already been dead but he kept fighting.
In January this year he visited us for the last time at our studio. With typical twinkle in his eyes and mischievious grin, he pointed to his watch and made a comment that he was still alive way passed his use by date. Later as we stood in the blazing sun trying to fit in just one more story before he left. He commented that it felt so surreal. He knew he was dying but he felt normal…. Mate, in case you didn’t know it. You were never totally normal. Very few men bring as much joy, happiness, caring for others and pure optimism into this world as you have.
Jeannine, Hamish, Scarlett and Jemima you have lost a husband and father. Nothing will help the pain. But just know that he loved you all and he was a very special human being. Bev, Andy, Debbie, Fiona, Leanne, Greg and extended families. Robyn and I are so wishing we were with you today.
Take care guys… we’ll catch up soon.