Dougie Shearer‘s grandfather, D.B. Peace, was a pioneer of cinema in Orkney, opening the Electric Theatre in 1912. Dougie was born in that same year so grew up steeped in the world of film and photography. It’s therefore unsurprising that Dougie developed an interest in photography. He had been recording local musicians and releasing the recordings through the label Phoenix Recordings, and had started to take photographs for the record sleeves. This move into photography resulted in the setting up of Phoenix Photography in 1965, later to be joined by his nephew Donald Shearer.
Phoenix photography covered events in Orkney until the late 1980s, with Dougie winding down in the mid 1980s and Donald carrying on for a few more years. In addition to social photography they recorded many major events in the history of the islands such as the construction of the oil terminal on Flotta. Dougie Shearer kindly gifted his entire photographic collection to Orkney Archive in the 1990s. He died, aged 89, on 16th March 2002.