FPA Member Profile

Bradley Ormesher – The Times
All Images © Bradley Ormesher / Today / Daily Mirror / The Times

Career

Highlights

  • 1978-1980 Studied photography at Southport College of Art.
  • 1980-1983 Worked for father full time.
  • 1986-1995 Staff Sports Photographer – Today.
  • 1995-2008 Staff Sports Photographer – Daily Mirror.
  • 2008 –       Staff Sports Photographer – The Times.
  • FIFA World Cups (5)
  • UEFA Euro Champs (5)
  • FA Cup Finals (25)
  • UEFA Champions League Finals (8)
  • Premier League Matches Approx (4030)
Q&A with Bradley Ormesher

What came first, football or photography?
“Football came first, because I was a season ticket holder at Liverpool, watching from The Kop when I was 12. My interest in photography came from my dad, Harry when I was about 15. He was the Liverpool FC photographer and I started printing his photos, then started going to the matches with him. After a while I did the away matches on my own.”

First football match photographed?
“I can’t remember, but the first photo I had published was from Liverpool vs. Manchester United at Anfield on 14th April 1979. It could well have been my first match, but the published picture was Kenny Dalglish scoring the first goal with a header in a 2-0 win.”

Favourite football ground to work at and why?
“Old Wembley. I loved old Wembley because it was always a big game.”

Favourite footballer to work with, and why?
“One of the easiest and most enjoyable was David Beckham in his heyday; he was brilliant. Not only was he fantastic when being photographed, but he also wanted to see the pictures, and would suggest poses and locations. 

Sir Alex Ferguson was also great, which for a Liverpool fan is tough to admit. In 1999 – the year Manchester Utd won the treble, then won the World Club Championship – I was with John Dawes in Ferguson’s front room on Christmas Eve rearranging the furniture and putting up lights to photograph him and all four trophies. He opened a bottle of red, then went upstairs and put his kilt on for the photos!”

Who did you look up to when you were young and who has helped you most during your development?
“I looked up to my dad, and I was lucky because he was a very good photographer, but also John Dawes. When I started out, and we were manually focusing on a 135mm f2, John’s negatives were fantastic. In the end JD became a bit of a caricature, but when I started out his goal mouth stuff on his 135mm wide open was tremendous. I’ve never seen anyone with more sharp frames than him. In his heyday he was fantastic.”

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
“Not a clue, but when I was young oil rigs attracted me. I don’t know if it was the month on or the month off!”

Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote from your time as a football photographer?
“Not many people know this one, but one of the most surreal moments was the day Kenny Dalglish resigned as Liverpool manager, and I was in his front room playing piano to his wife, Marina and Janet Hansen! That afternoon, while the pack of photographers were camped outside the front gate waiting for Dalglish to return from playing golf, the cleaner came out, asked me in and I sat there playing the piano!”

Canon, Nikon or Sony?
“Nikon film, Canon digital.”

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