I’ve worked in news for two and a half years now for South West News. Being a press photographer is a very hard job. You have no routine, you work incredibly long hours and the news can be tough. Crime scenes, court work and hard personal interest stories do make it hard.
However, I’ve photographed some great events, great people and learnt an awful lot. SWNS is a massive agency and I have got used to having my photos used by the national press on a daily basis. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few front pages in my time and work directly for every UK national paper.
This perhaps is my favourite news photo. It was a crime scene in Yardley and one of the toughest I’ve been too. At a crime scene, particularly a murder in a public place there is always a sense of shock and sadness. Normally forensics are hard to see but the park was quite open and where this guy is dusting for prints is framed well.
I have another blog on the next two pics, click the Antony Sher pic to go to it
Battle Reenactment, this was a fun day. Those fireballs vanish in about a second so I had a guy from the tank team next to me shouting in my ear as to when they would explode.
The Independent wanted the focus to be on the chairmen Ken Samuel who was trying to save the his club Kettering Town from financial ruin. I expected a few shots of him just sat watching but you can see his passion. It made a terrific picture that I really love.
I’ve done this Suicide Sunday event twice. I was really disappointed not to do it this year. The Cambridge students ride card boats down the river and most sink but some do well and its a race. This was from the second year I went and its a good frame of the boats generally sinking and people watching on.
This story went mad. My photos on the front pages and on tv every day that week. Poppy had been wolf whistled for a month by some pretty vulgar builders. (I know I met one down a dark alley one night). The police investigated and it was the first time wolf whistling has ever been investigated by the cops. Poppy only did photos with me so everything that was printed and used on tv was mine. This is very rare on a big story like this. Luckily, we found this nice spot in her lunch break and did a nice set of photos in the 10 minutes we had. I then photographed the builder down a delightful dark alley the next night as he, for some stupid reason, agreed to pose up and said some very stupid sexist things about Poppy and other girls.
It felt good to have done a story like this because being whistled day after day must be horrid. I have been with female friends when they have been stared at and worse by guys in the street and its disgusting. However, the reporting of the story was sensationalised and it was reported in a very poor way. Luckily at the end of the week the guardian did a comment piece saying the real news was actually the institutionalised sexism in our society. That the reporting of the story, and the social media reaction of people criticising, threatening and being openly and utterly sexist towards Poppy showed societies backward view. Poppy is a brave girl who spoke out about a crucial issue in our society.
Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2015/apr/29/wolf-whistling-is-not-the-story-our-reaction-to-sexual-harassment
That was quite long so in short I shot Cameron for the Telegraph and pool so was the only national photographer. No pressure. Three spots in the Dyson factory and about 1 minute to shoot in each and the last one was crap.
Royals, royals royals. We do them frequently and I’ve chucked a few of my faves in. The shot of Prince Charles just worked. I didn’t have access like the other press to photos of him inside Warwick Castle. Work sent me cos they had nothing else for me to do, it was all totally last minute but I got the picture.
The 500mm I was given to shoot this was the worst, most unsharp lens I’ve ever used so the pics aren’t that great.
Typical cute country feature I do every so often. Full blog on that feature if you click the image
Back to forensics, this is something they are mad about getting photos of. Crime scene, and the next question is where are forensics. I assume its down to the white coats and their identifiability of this with serious crime. The forensics in the image below kept walking out of the cordon so I got really close to them.
What can reguarly follow a big crime is a press conference. I’ve only ever been to one in which the parents made an appeal soon after the family member went missing. That was tough. The one below was the parents of Georgia Williams and the police chief speaking to the press into a review of mistakes made by the police on the case. Georgia was murdered in 2013, my 3rd day at work was to go to Telford and work on my own (no journalist) on the murder – easy first week, not.
The sat on a couch photo. I dislike this type of photo. When you work on any human interest story you do a sat on the couch picture. You also do a full length standing, normally in the garden or at a park (clean background), half length, head shot, you pick up collect photos (photos they have related to the story) and do a video interview. This is a ‘good’ couch photo. Big room, big house, so it looks ok. Normally its crap but its a tick box on stories.
However, sometimes on human interest stories, you can get really nice photos. This pic is in the running for BLPA winner. The story about this lady is so bad I’m not going to say what it is. However, she was lovely and very photogenic
These captions which obviously show that these are tough news stories give an idea of what day to day press life is like: hard.
This lady was lovely, I met her son and new partner and they were just a great family. I never ever talk about the story if its as bad as this unless they bring it up. They did bring it up, its tough to hear face to face what people are capable of.
This guy got smashed in the face with a hammer.
Photographing a family altogether isn’t easy because houses aren’t massive. This family were very wary of me initially but we got on very well and did a good shoot. Another horrid story
The sport we cover is more feature based. Interviews with players or managers, features on horse racing jockeys, trainers. So basically mainly portrait based.
Harry Chisman was a fun one. He was really really nice and very calm when his horse was racing but you can see focus in his eyes.
I tried really hard on this shoot to get something that was more than just an action shot, something that showed it was school rugby: the tree on the pitch which shows its not exactly a pro pitch.
Every now and then we have to shoot pro matches properly. Luckily I used to shoot sport so I have the background and knowledge. However, if you don’t play your a saxophone for ages, you won’t be great because you need to practice. I haven’t shot sport or played my saxophone consistently in ages so I am rusty at both.
This was done after work on a Friday night … intense.
And here’s a last couple to end.
We get to go in a plane or helicopter every so often.