Photographer’s Credential for the French Open, Roland garros

Me Me Me – Life in Words and Pictures

An old interview (plus photos!) with Pete Sampras

I had my first pictures published in Blues & Soul magazine when I was still at school and around the same time I wrote a monthly column for Black Echoes music mag (about rare 12” singles) for a few pence a word.

As a fledgling writer/photographer I was proposed for membership of the National Union of Journalists by the late/great Malcolm Muggeridge (still got the letter)…

Old NUJ card

… and my first grown-up cheque came via Editor Eric Bailey at SHE Magazine, for a words & pics feature on (Saint) Mother Teresa and her Sister’s in Calcutta.

Missionaries of Charity, Calcutta/Kolkata

In tandem with tennis writing for magazines (below), I wandered into teaching the game almost by accident (a longer story). I spent the best part of 20 enjoyable years coaching and my regular ex-pupils (and families) remain friends to this day.
My experiences as a tennis coach formed my rock-solid belief in what sport can and should be, which is pretty much the opposite of what it’s become (can you hear me biting my tongue?).

Miami Open Credential, which then was The Lipton

I got my first tennis photographer credentials for Miami and the French Open in 1988 (I think) and have been an intermittent visitor ever since.

I provided pictures, tournament reports, player interviews, features and instructional articles for tennis magazines in Europe, the USA and Britain.

Full tournament report for Tennis Mag

I wrote (and illustrated) my own monthly technical analysis series in the (then) top German tennis magazine, Tennis Revue, sold a series to the WTA’s ‘Inside Women’s Tennis’ mag, was a finalist in (the late Gene Scott’s) Tennis Week ‘Great American Tennis Writing Awards’, unloaded my tennis cock-up photos to the BBC’s ‘A Question of Sport’… and other such pointless fluff.

Cover for Tennis Revue, Germany, for whom I had my own instructional words & pictures monthly column. I love this image – Agassi’s hair fits the curve of the racket – sadly, the original (and copies) have been lost….

I covered tennis tournaments primarily to shoot hi-speed sequence photos for instruction, and I’ve built up a personal archive of many thousands – hence the tennis book.

From the outset, I was an uneasy journalist, particularly with the restrictions on style, comment and the rise of the accursed ‘advertorial’.

For the past decade or more, photography has provided a healthy alternative to prostituting my pen, and whilst cataloguing much of the North of England (and beyond) in its best light, I’ve been chipping away at more sizeable writing projects – as you’d expect from a camera-toting word-vendor, very script comes fully loaded with a pictorial list of ideal locations.

Hopefully, the best writing is yet to come.

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