Delighted to be added to the Souter PR list of partners on their company website. I have worked with Sue and Roger for several years and to be described as “a photographer who puts subjects at their ease immediately, imaginative, friendly.” by them both, is very kind. Always a pleasure to work with and looking forward to doing so again in the near future.
#FramptonQuigg as it became known. A long awaited fight, which I new I wanted to cover. Whether it be for one of my regular agency clients, or a pass in my own name, I knew I wanted to be there to cover it. After a few calls, everyone had their photographers booked so the decision was made, I had to try and obtain a pass for myself. To cut a long story short, I was given a spot ringside, right in the Quigg corner.
Because I had applied for my own pass, it meant that I was in the position of potentially not getting paid for the nights work. That is the job. Many photographers work this way, running their own agencies or just freelancers sending images in on ‘spec’ with no guarantee of payment. It’s hard. Damn hard. Many newspapers now don’t want to pay for images as an order. They’d rather go with agency images and if they like an image that’s sent in then they will use it, so you are pushing water uphill most of the time. Still, as my friend Simon Bellis once said, ‘A picture won’t make money if you leave it on your laptop and don’t send it anywhere.’
I’ve been on both sides of the fence, having been freelance before my time at PA. So many people see the ‘glamour’ of being a photographer, without realising the cost of equipment and other expenses that have to be covered. The respect I have for those who attend sporting events week in week out, with no guaranteed orders, as their full time employment. Well, I’m sure you can imagine. Would you do it? Exactly.
The images didn’t get picked up in the Sunday papers, Monday papers, or online. That’s the gamble. I now have to look at the night differently and so chose to pick out some of the portraits of ring announcer Michael Buffer which will now be sent on to the newspapers, should they ever need a picture of him to illustrate a story. Let’s be honest, he is a man who is photographed every time he enters the ring, so again, it’s about crossing fingers!
Thanks for reading folks. DT.
Another year is almost done and in February ’16 I will have been self employed for two years since leaving PA. 2015 has seen me working with new clients again and covering numerous PR events but still covering the odd news event, plenty of sport and, more recently, portraits to accompany reporters articles for the Daily Telegraph. I feel like I am starting out again doing these. You rarely get more that a minute with the subjects due to them having to go to train or move on to another commitment. This year I have mainly just played around with one light but, with ideas for 2016, I expect, time permitting, to try a few new things out.
I will start though with the image that has meant the most to me this year. I began photographing boxer Anthony Crolla during my time at PA in 2008. He is one of the few sportsmen that I have photographed that I have remained in contact with throughout his career and, as some will know, he was left for dead after chasing off burglars in December 2014, just weeks before his first ever shot at a world title. He went on to fight for the title in July against Darleys Perez, only for the fight to be called a draw after any thought Crolla had won it.
The rematch, in November, resulted in Anthony knocking Perez out in the fifth round. I watched Anthony stood in the corner, waiting for his opponent to get up. You could see his eyes light up as he started to count along with the referee, “6….7…..8” he mouthed as he began to realise he may not get up. At 8 he started to shake his head, almost in disbelief as I too began counting as I watched through my camera. “9……10…..YEEEEEEEEESSSSS!” Sport is about emotion and it poured out of Croll in those seconds after the ref stopped the fight. He came screaming towards the side of the ring were all the photographers were. A man who less than 12 month earlier had been close to death, was a World Champion. Unbelievable.
Below are some of my favourite portraits from 2015. All that’s left is for me to thank you for looking, thank you for your support through 2015 and to wish you and your families a wonderful 2016.
The title of this blog is a quote from my Mum taken from a phone call before yesterday’s card in Liverpool. She seemed surprised that when I went to cover boxing, as I have done since 2007, that there was more than one fight!
Some of the best fights for photographs are the undercard scraps. There a decent number of fights I have covered when I have captured an image from one of the earlier fights and uttered the words, “I hope I get one like that in the man event.” Of course, it doesn’t always happen. Boxing is a sport I love. I’m not an anorak. I can’t tell you who won what when or who holds this belt and that. There are too many for me to remember but there are plenty around the sport who do have that passion and knowledge. A good friend Steve Lillis is a name that always springs to mind. It’s as if there is nothing he doesn’t know about the sport and its history. Hello Steve, if you’re reading.
So onto the night itself. I covered 8 of the 9 fights on the card. The 9th happened after the main event in front of a half empty arena and I was still editing pictures from the main fight between Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding. These are the boxers who I always have great admiration for. They have just heard the roar of a full arena and when it comes to their turn, a large percentage of the fans have headed for the exits.
Of the 9, the British Lightweight fight between Scott Cardle and Sean Dodd was an absolute war. A possible fight of the year. I’ve seen fights like this over 5, maybe 6 rounds, but this one went all the way to the 12th, with the referee stopping the fight with just seconds left, much to the annoyance of the Liverpool crowd, who felt their home fighter Dodd had done enough to warrant making it to the scorecards. Cardle had held onto his belt, but not without injury. A large cut above his left eye, the mark of a sport which really is one of the toughest I encounter. The bravery, desire and determination of boxers seems to get brushed aside by those who still see boxers as knuckle draggers. Far, far from it.
And so to the main event. Two Liverpudlians, proud Scousers. Both undefeated. Smith, a clear favourite with many, but Fielding, a boxer who is always capable of springing a surprise as he has such power in his fists. Fielding arrived in the ring first, followed by Smith. I climbed onto the ring apron to get a picture of him walking in (almost getting knocked off as Fielding leant against the ropes!). Callum’s brother Paul Smith used to walk into ‘Real Gone Kid’ by Deacon Blue. Callum’s choice is ‘Wages Day’, by the same band. Of all the bands to choose for a ring walk. Deacon Blue? Really? Well, I’m converted. The place was rocking. How can you not feel confident in yourself with the sound of drums, piano, guitar and screaming pumped up fans ringing in your ears?
The fight exploded after 29 seconds, as Smith put Fielding down for the first time. He would do it again twice more in he first round and the fight was over, with around 15seconds of the first round left. Staggering. All the predictions were for Callum to win, but no-one I know predicted this.
Another side note from the fight was the Smith Family. Callum became the fourth member of the Smith brothers to win a British Title, creating history in doing so. It was a privilege to cover and personally, I hope to cover a good deal more in the future. Congratulations Callum from myself and my son Will, who still remembers being ushered over for you to sign his glove during a recent visit to Gallaghers Gym.
…..since I posted anything. The new site has received great praise from clients old and new but what have I been covering since it launched in March?
Well it’s certainly been varied! Sport continues to play a huge part and the portrait sessions at various football clubs around the North still give me great pleasure in covering. PR photography creates regular challenges and staff portraits have given me a chance to play around with lighting once more.
I made the top 11 in a ‘Lords-Home of Cricket’ competition, with an image from England v Sri Lanka at Headingley last summer.
There are still times that I get nervous and before photographing Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal was certainly one. I needn’t have worried. A charming, funny and relaxed man when faced with lights and a camera. It’s easy to forget he has probably done these photo sessions more times than I’ve put batteries on my flashes. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/11483566/Louis-van-Gaal-Manchester-United-is-my-last-job-in-football-and-I-will-go-out-at-the-top.html
May will begin with a week of election coverage. One things for sure, these weeks are never dull.
Thanks for reading folks.