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.
My life changed in 1997. Two young investment bankers – Jonathan Klein and Mark Getty – had decided that the industry they would like to consolidate was photo licensing. This decision proved to be a profitable choice for them – and made millionaires of many photo agency proprietors along the way. It was a stroke […]
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 […]
The entry of Getty Images and Corbis (100% owned by Bill Gates) into the photography business in the mid-90s set us on a fairly inevitable course of a trade sale. Getting venture capital and angel finance on board at the end of the 1990s also dictated this route. It was a testing process. From 1997 […]
I lived in a council house on the ring road in Liverpool (Queens Drive) – and had very supportive parents (although I might not have thought so at the time). I went to a Catholic Boys’ Grammar School, St Francis Xavier’s – I and was very religious (up until the moment I was 18 – […]
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.