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 1985, I was a 22-year-old press photographer in a well-paid and rewarding job at the Leicester Mercury. I had excellent colleagues – and a very comfortable life. However, it was not enough for me – and I wanted to work for National Newspapers and create my own business. So I set out to create […]
At the end of the 1990s, sports rights holders were increasingly restricting the access of photography agencies and individual sports photographers into events. The story was not a new one – up until 1972, only one photographic agency was allowed in to a cricket ground to photograph test matches. Things were looking like turning full […]
I first heard the term “funemployment” back in 2009. There was an article in the LA Times that summed up the “situation” I was in after selling my business, EMPICS. It had been a challenge to give an answer when, in your 40s, and people ask politely what you do – or forms arrive that […]
In 1992, I was approached by Peter Robinson, FIFA’s Official Photographer for many years – and a personal friend. He had been asked to find a photographer to work with UEFA and TEAM Marketing on their new concept of the UEFA Champions League. He felt as FIFA’s photographer, he could not get involved – and […]
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 […]