Photographer Mary McCartney says the most important thing she learnt from her late mother Linda was to have a passion for your subject.

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Mary McCartney [© C Cheesman]

Linda McCartney launched a career as a rock photographer after photographing The Rolling Stones in New York during the 1960s.

Her daughter Mary, who is now a professional photographer, focuses on portraiture and candid reportage.

She was a guest speaker at Photo London, where she was in conversation with Philippe Garner, international head of photographs at Christie’s.

Afterwards, Mary – daughter of musician Sir Paul McCartney– responded to a question from Amateur Photographer. She was asked if there were one piece of advice her mother had given her that she has taken forward in her own career as a photographer.

Mary, replied: ‘She didn’t give me a lot of advice, but I did have that time where we were both photographers… where I’d take her for lunch and I would grill her about her past career.

‘So, she didn’t give me advice as such – she wasn’t like that – but I would say that all the things she photographed she had real passion for, and when she didn’t have a passion for it she wouldn’t involve herself in it.’

Mary would say to her mother, who died in 1998, that she couldn’t believe she had taken all those pictures of Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors and Jim Morrison.

‘It was like she was one of the only people there wanting to take those pictures because she loved music so much,’ Mary added. ‘And then they loved her because she took such great pictures for them and was fun to hang around with.’

So, it’s having a passion for the subject?

‘Yeah, that’s why I still love more than ever what I do because I never get bored of it, because it’s quite a challenge…

‘Just take pictures of things you are really interested in, don’t waste time on anything else, if you can.’

Earlier, Mary said she still uses her mother’s 10×8 Polaroid camera, explaining how she ‘loves the quality of Polaroid’.

During the Photo London talk, Mary also spoke of her experiences photographing the Queen to celebrate her becoming the longest-reigning British monarch last year. The portrait shows the Queen at work reading government correspondence.

‘I think they asked me because she didn’t want any pomp and ceremony,’ said Mary.

‘She wanted it to be like a normal day, so the press secretary said could I come and just do it in available light…’

Mary explained that the ‘high-pressure’ shoot took just 10 minutes and was captured on film ‘because I thought it would have a nicer quality than digital’.

She added: ‘I was so nervous that I was going to say the wrong thing…’

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Photographer Mary McCartney in conversation with Philippe Garner, international head of photographs and 20th century decorative arts and design at Christie’s [© C Cheesman]