It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Dickie Pelham!
First I want to thank Scott and Brad for allowing me to be a guest on his blog.
I became aware of Scott some 20 months ago after too many soccer/running injuries. I had ankle surgery that kept me out of work for 6 months, so I signed up for Kelby Training to really learn about Photoshop, and this is the best thing I have ever done.
I am the Chief Sports photographer of The Sun Newspaper in London, England. The Sun has the ninth-largest circulation of any newspaper in the world and the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in the United Kingdom. It has an average daily circulation of 2,409,811 copies in January 2013, and it is my job to fill the pages seven days a week with the best sports pictures. I have covered six Olympic Games, five World Cup football finals, and more World Title boxing fights than I care to remember.
It all didn’t start at The Sun. I finished my final year at school at the age of 16 years in 1980. I am now 49. I went to work on the Monday morning after finishing school on the Friday before, starting at the very bottom of the tree. I was cleaning and scrubbing out developing and fixer tanks, and everyday, between making the morning tea and coffee for the boss and delivering the day’s pictures to the national newspapers that was located in Fleet Street very close to the office, three years later I started covering soccer with that agency with my first Nikon that I saved up for.
Then the big break… I was called up to the big office on the 4th floor and told, “There is your new kit. You are going into the big wide world of show business news and sports photography.” I continued to do this for 3 to 4 years and then moved on to an agency called Alpha which specialized in photographing the Royal family. You may say that is a big difference, but really it’s like sports photography, waiting around for that one moment and using very long lenses, but this helped me for what now has become my profession.
This month is a milestone for me. I have just clocked my 24th season in sports photography at The Sun. As I write this blog in my hotel room in sunny Israel, after being away covering England’s end of season tour to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 7 days and on to Tel Aviv for another 7 day, knock-out tournament with England’s under-21 soccer team, I write this blog in my hotel room after 16 days on the road.
I am going to share one great moment with you, and it involves somebody you may have heard of: David Beckham once of Manchester United, Real Madrid, and LA Galaxy. Here is the story… A classic moment when England captain David Beckham scores with a sensational 30-yard free kick, three minutes into injury-time.
Because Germany only drew with Finland, the goal means England automatically qualified for the 2002 World Cup finals. Later that year I won sports photographer of the year with the picture from that game. Beckham was training with England and I had a copy of the picture and presented it to Beckham, and of course he signed one for me. He joked with me that is was a great picture, but I joked with him that he did all the work. A month ago Beckham announced his retirement, and I felt I wanted to pay tribute to a great ambassador to the game, so I posted this tribute of my own. Later that night my inbox had a message via David’s agent thanking me for the tribute.
Last thing I want to say in this blog is my other love is boxing. I get to spend many hours covering boxers training, starving themselves to make weight for their bouts, putting their minds and body through so much pain. I was once allowed into a gym to cover a training session with a boxer who I will not name, but he was fighting for a world title. It was a routine training and sparring when suddenly he was hit by a freak right hook and knocked to the ground. Now, you may think what a picture weeks before a fight, but being very good friends with that boxer, I never mentioned a word or printed the picture that could have ruined him and ruined his chance of winning the title. He went on to win his dream fight and the title. After the judges declared him the winner he came over to me and thanked me for not mentioning what had happened. All the other journalists and photographers asked what was going on, but I kept our secret safe.
To see more of Dickie’s work, visit DickiePelham.com.