Picture Power: Radio 4

Portraits of Five Leading Press Photographers

There’s a series of five 15 minute radio shows on the above on Radio 4 c/o this link on iPlayer.

The first tells the story of James Hill, a British winner of the Pullitzer Prize and World Press Award, photographing this year’s royal wedding.  As a war photographer, Hill finds the assignment unusual and at first does not have a long lens to go for the classic balcony shot.  However, after 7 hours on the Queen Victoria statue he succeeds and his images make the front covers of the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times.

Jane Mingay of the Telegraph, took one of the definitive images of the London bombings.  In this episode she was photographing the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 at Ground Zero.  She tells of how the ceremony affected her, she was crying and felt quite intrusive – however, despite the challenges of the circumstances, the time difference, (which affected filing deadlines), and a relatively poor position she still managed to obtain a published image.

Lewis Whyld, a staff photographer for the Press Association, found himself covering the Tottenham riots – a matter of luck as he happened to be near enough to cover them.  Whyld tells the story of how frightening his 12 hours on the scene were.  He saw another photographer grabbed by a mob and two other photographers being beaten up and their cameras smashed.  As a result, for safety reasons, he chose to shoot a number of images on his Blackberry,  Much of his story is about using his initiative.  Lighting was very poor and when he did get his cameras out he made use of the police helicopter beam as a giant spotlight – similar he also used the flames from burning buildings as a lighting source. He remained clear, during his 12 hours on site, about what he wanted to photograph – he tries to show the story on someone’s face – eg worry in the eyes of a firefighter – a sense of despair lit by the fire when people were trapped in a burning flat.  This photographer’s story is dramatically told by the BBC and the dramatic photographs made the front covers of the Guardian, Daily Mirror, Sun, NY Times, Boston Globe and others.

Geoff Waugh has been a ‘freestyle’ sports photographer since 1990.  He is a fan of cycling and his images are full of colour and drama.  He shoots from back of motorbikes – and he’s not strapped on!  He emphasises that there’s no second chance, he switches cameras incredibly fast, ‘blink and its gone’.  Recently he’s been shooting polaroids of the crowd for a book – and these are being really well received.

Mike Goldwater returned to Rwanda to visit the people he photographed during the genocide – for which he won a world press award. (17 yrs ago).  He’s photographing the survivors of the genocide and this time he took a tape recorder with him as well.  Goldwater believes that it’s important to record, to be a witness but, if he feels a picture will untruthfully exploit someone, he will not take it.  He was a colleague of the recently deceased Tim Hetherington at Network.  That agency closed in 2003, in Goldwater’s words it as ‘destroyed by digitisation’ – they couldn’t digitise their 1m  plus images.  Goldwater now focuses on the convergence of media and captures stills, video and sound.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s