In the autumn of 1994, I decided to “hang up my cameras”. EMPICS was growing as a business – and it needed me at base. I’d tried to bring in senior managers to take on my role – but that was not successful (probably my fault rather than theirs). I also felt it was time to not “run away” to foreign parts every time the bank manager called to chase a reduction in the overdraft!
I’d also had a very enjoyable year taking pictures – covering the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, UEFA Champions League Final in Athens, the Football World Cup in the USA and the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki (where I met my future wife!). Also, I had been successful in the European Sports Photographer of the Year Awards – so was on a high.
Photography is a serious addiction. It’s an absorbing occupation – especially when working in a journalistic capacity. You need to predict the story, visualise what might happen – and then be in the right place at the right time. It was also great fun travelling the world with some very special photographers. It was hard to give up – and I admire my colleagues from those days who are still very active. I still spend half my time watching news and sports events spotting them in the background!
It gave me fantastic opportunities to record important moments in modern history – and to meet/photograph some great people. Among the highlights were The Queen, Princess Diana, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Freddie Mercury, Barry Sheene, Ayrton Senna, Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson.
In the late 1990s, there was pressure within the sports photo industry from sports rights holders (the likes of the FA Premier League, the IOC and individual football clubs). These rights holders could not see the value of photography agencies and individual photographers being given free and unrestricted access to sports events. Rights holders got […]
The sale of EMPICS and our departure from the business coincided with a move to a new village. Knipton is at the centre of the Belvoir Estate – an area of 16,000 acres owned but the Duke of Rutland. The rural idyll is nice – but with so much private land, there are limited public […]
In 1981, I started my first job after school as a Trainee Press Photographer at Mercury Press Agency in Liverpool. I’d not bargained for my first week in employment to involve the coverage of some of the worst rioting on mainland Britain. I’ll always remember the phone ringing late at night after the family had […]
My last “proper job” was in 1983-5. I was a photographer at the Leicester Mercury. It was one of the most enjoyable times of my life. Working within a community, making connections, then gradually gaining trust and respect is a rewarding process.
It’s been a source of great amusement to my close friends that for more than 3 years I have been advising the Duchess of Rutland. The idea that a “Scouser Photographer” could end up in such a role has made many a pal chuckle. I met Emma, the Duchess of Rutland, when promoting the idea […]