It’s the old tale, isn’t it? You’re pulled into a corner of a classroom for the end-of-school interview by the Careers Adviser. You tell them how you see it and they say, ‘What, you? A Press Photographer? Really?’ And before you know it you’ve been advised, turfed back out, and you’re on the floor. ‘What will I do?” you ponder. ‘It seems anyone can be a careers teacher.’
My hopes were dashed. I was told specifically that “it’s a man’s profession, Rebecca. Think on because it’s not for a girl. However, my supportive English and History teachers promoted and encouraged me to apply to The National Council for the Training of Journalists for the ‘pre-entry course’ – and I was accepted!
I repaid my teachers’ faith by winning the top proficiency test and two prizes: a signed copy of ‘Pictures on a Page’ by Harold Evans, editor of The Sunday Times, and one of my heroes – and a cheque for fifty pounds!
Yes, there was a thick glass ceiling to be pushed through, but it was a great start for me, and I’ve been lucky. Lucky enough to pursue a professional global career covering major news, sports and features for over 30 years.
Over the last thirty years I have regularly covered major sporting events, including:
Football: The Premier League, FA Cup finals, Champions League finals including the historic Liverpool v AC Milan match in Istanbul
Rugby: 6 Nations, Rugby Union World Cup, Japan
Cricket: England cricket tours to the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
Golf: The Open, Ryder Cups in Spain, Ireland and the USA
The Boat Race – Oxford v Cambridge
Racing: Royal Ascot, the Derby
In 2012, I had the opportunity to come home to Pembrokeshire, and I grabbed it. Based here, I cover major news, sport, and features for the global agency, Thomson Reuters.
I love sports photography and it has taught me a huge amount about capturing the moment. Being back home has opened up a new world of nature photography, and it is my passion. All my skills honed over many years of capturing sporting action come into play. I’ve also developed a necessary patience.
Pembrokeshire teems with wildlife. Nature is all around, dragging me out there, sometimes in extreme conditions, but it’s a pull I can’t resist. Thirty-odd years on and I am still learning.
I’m grateful to all those who helped me get started and to the many generations of photographers and journalists who have supported my professional career. Thankfully, the glass ceiling has largely gone, and now there are exciting career opportunities in professional photography available to all, irrespective of gender.
- First female photographer to join the Birmingham Post and Mail Group in 1977
- First female photographer to join The Press Association in 1987
- 1993 Royal Photographer of the Year
- 2007 Picture Editors’ Award – Sports Picture of the Year
- 25 years as a Staff Photographer with The Press Association
- Freelance at Reuters since 2012
- The only British photographer on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s plane, covering her tour to Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain
- Flying to the White House to photograph President Clinton
- Meeting and photographing Nelson Mandela
- Covering the Nato Summit and photographing President Barack Obama
- Photographer on the Royal Tour to Malta by HM the Queen and Prince Philip
- The Commonwealth Games, Auckland, New Zealand,
- The Olympic Games, Atlanta, USA
- The World Swimming Championships, Rome, Italy