I make no claims to be a photographer. So much so that I was forced to stop taking photos for a short while last year when the dial on my Canon EOS 10D dropped off. I couldn’t figure out how to ensure it was on the “automatic” setting and had to send the camera for repair.
Nor do I understand F numbers or stops – unless you’re talking about pit stops in F1 races – but even then I know just a fraction of a fraction of what my Brother-in-Law Joe Saward knows.
But as a freelance journalist it pays to always carry a camera. My biggest revenue-generating story so far since my return to journalism last year, was because I managed to take some snaps with my Blackberry before professional press photographers (who I had tipped off) arrived at the scene of a fire.
But this week I’ve had a couple of photos published in the Mail Online and the Birmingham Post. I’m quite pleased with the results, but I’m under no illusion that the photos were used, not because they’re great; but because professional news snappers were tucked up in bed when between 700 and 1,000 farmers blockaded the Müller Dairy in Market Drayton (the protest ran from 8.00pm to 3.00am).
Most – but not all – of my journalism so far has been as a religion specialist. But I also do general news and one of the reasons I returned to journalism was because I missed the buzz that comes with covering live news events.
I’ve written a number of stories about the farmers’ protests, and these have been sent agency-style on a national wire service; and I’ve got a specially written story in this Friday’s Church Times following calls by the Farm Crisis Network for a day of prayer this Sunday; and demands from two Archbishops for fair-trade principles to be applied to UK farms as well as those in the developing world.
Since returning to journalism, I’ve had photos printed in the Church Times, and I’ve sold those Blackberry fire pictures to a number of news outlets, but this is the first time since covering Devon and Cornwall back in the early 1990s that I’ve had pictures taken with a professional camera published in non-specialist press.
Here’s a selection of photos – they’re low resolution to prevent copyright theft. News organisations can contact me if they would like high-res versions.