Roger Bam­ber

Since join­ing the Daily Mail in 1965, Roger Bam­ber has worked for The Sun, The Ob­server and The Guardian, and twice won the Bri­tish Press Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year. His pho­tos are renowned for their vis­ual im­pact and dis­tinc­tive, wry hu­mour. Visit www.roge

NPhoto - - Contributors - Keith Wil­son

Roger re­veals how a chance en­counter prompted him to re­flect on one of the most for­ma­tive pho­tos of his ca­reer.

Lon­don’s Fleet Street in the 1960s was the place to go for young pho­tog­ra­phers as­pir­ing to join Bri­tain’s na­tional news­pa­pers. In 1965, 20-yearold graphic de­signer Roger Bam­ber trans­ported his port­fo­lio there to show to leg­endary Daily Ex­press pho­tog­ra­pher Terry Fincher who told him: “The Mail is pa­per of the year and they’re look­ing for peo­ple, so go there.” He got hired, and so be­gan a ca­reer stretch­ing for more than 50 years, pho­tograph­ing ev­ery­thing from war zones to rock and roll.

His first as­sign­ments were more se­date, in­clud­ing a trip to Brighton in the sum­mer of 1967, where he re­calls: “I was asked to pho­to­graph the sports day at St Dun­stan’s home for the war blind.” Roger took up po­si­tion just be­yond the fin­ish line of the run­ning track. In front of him, back to cam­era, a man pointed a bleep­ing mega­phone to­wards the run­ners. “It just bleeped a noise and they ran to­wards it, and this man was the only one who came any­where close to it! He was so ath­letic run­ning to­wards a bleep­ing mega­phone, and beau­ti­ful in his stance.”

The sprinter was for­mer captain Jack Fuller of the 22nd SAS Reg­i­ment, blinded in 1952 in Malaya aged 24. The photo was pub­lished over half a page in the

Ex­press. It wasn’t Roger’s first pub­lished pic­ture, but it was sig­nif­i­cant. “I’d pho­tographed Ce­cil Beaton with his pic­tures, that sort of thing, but I re­gard this pic­ture as one that made my ca­reer,” he says. “I’ve got a rep­u­ta­tion for this style and this for­ma­tive pic­ture helped me make a name for my­self.” “Oh my God, that’s my hus­band!” In 2015, this pic­ture was part of a ret­ro­spec­tive ex­hi­bi­tion dur­ing the Brighton Fes­ti­val that cel­e­brated Roger’s 50 years as a pho­to­jour­nal­ist. One af­ter­noon, an el­derly woman there ex­claimed: “Oh my God, that’s my hus­band!” Roger ex­plains: “Her name was Pat, she lived in Ar­gyll­shire, but she was in Brighton to visit a friend who lived nearby. The friend was out shop­ping and hap­pened to pop into the gallery… She recog­nised the run­ner in the pic­ture.” She brought Pat to see the photo, and, wit­ness­ing her re­ac­tion to the im­age, Roger “just took the pic­ture down off the wall and gave it to her.”

The cou­ple met and mar­ried sev­eral years af­ter Roger took the pic­ture, and Jack died in 2007. “He be­came a phys­io­ther­a­pist, so with­out sight his hands did the work. To meet his wife was some­thing else. It lifted my heart enor­mously. I loved the fact that this woman turned up. It brought back mem­o­ries of how I started, and it has be­come a clas­sic shot of mine. I’m proud of it, I’m proud of what I’ve done.”

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