Rebecca Naden is a professional photographer based in Pembrokeshire, Wales. She spent twenty-five years in London as a staff photographer working for the Press Association before returning to Wales to work primarily for the global agency Reuters. Rebecca is a sports specialist and has covered every major sport including Premiership football, nineteen England cricket tours, three Champions League finals, two Olympic Games, two Commonwealth Games, twenty plus Wimbledon Tennis Championships, twenty plus Open Golf Championships and the England World Cup rugby 2015 Championships. However, Rebecca has a passion for wildlife and nature and has just started to use her thirty years of experience in taking sports action photographs to photograph wildlife.
This is an article about me written for the Institute of Welsh Affairs – iwa.wales
“At the men’s 100m final at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, 800 photographers from around the world jostled for position, each hoping to take the defining shot of the Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey crossing the line to break the world record and take the gold medal ahead of Frankie Fredericks and Ato Boldon. Among the 800 were only three women. Rebecca Naden was one of them.
By that point, however, Naden can hardly have felt out of place. After all, she was used to shattering glass ceilings. Her career to that point had taken her through a few of them: when she left Pembrokeshire in 1977, aged 18, there had never been a female on her Midlands college course; she was the first ever female photographer on the Birmingham Post and Mail; then, when she joined the Press Association, she became the first woman in 140 years of the organisation’s history.
Naden spent 25 years documenting news for the Press Association, capturing some of the most iconic images of our time: Thatcher in the bushes, looking at us through binoculars; John Major checking his watch while Bill Clinton’s speech went on; the Blair family entering Number 10; Princess Diana with a young William and Harry; Cameron and Obama looking skywards. But it is in sport that she has forged a reputation for being one of the very best, making gender an irrelevance in the process.
‘You have to get the pictures, always,’ says Naden, matter-of-factly. Her sports work includes some of the best and most famous shots of the icons of world sport: the slideshow she shows us includes Rafael Nadal, Michael Phelps, Seve Ballesteros, David Beckham, Andrew Flintoff, Tiger Woods, Jamie Roberts, Paula Radcliffe and Dan Carter.
Following the 2012 Olympics, Naden came home to Wales to become Reuters’ only Wales-based photographer. Last winter, she endured 84 days of rain photographing football matches, mainly at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium, where she turns up three hours early to ensure access to a socket and an Ethernet cable for her boxes and bags of equipment. She begins her talk by unpacking her kit, to demonstrate, mostly, the lack of glamour. She sits on her special fold-up plastic stool and pretends to be in Swansea, sitting in the rain. ‘When people talk about how close I am able to get to famous footballers, sitting at the side of the pitch, they think it’s all very glamorous. But is it?’ she asks us wryly, ‘Is it?’
Looking at the consistent quality, innovation and drama in her patient art, we are inclined to think that, despite the rain, it absolutely is.
(Full article can be found here: http://www.iwa.wales/click/2016/10/two-great-photographers-happen-women/