FPA Member Profile

Carl Recine – Action Images / Reuters
All Images © Carl Recine – Action Images / Reuters

Career

Highlights

  • Stoke City
  • CamersSport
  • Action Images/Reuters
  • FIFA World Cups (3)
  • UEFA European Championships (4)
  • FA Cup Finals (9)
  • UEFA Champions League Finals (10)
  • PL Matches (2000 approx)
Q&A with Carl Recine

What came first, sport or photography?
“Sport. I have always loved football, and football photography was the closest I could get to being a footballer. My dad took me to my first match – Stoke City vs. Leighton Orient – in 1984 when I was seven years old. It all started will me photographing my mates in the park, as it was all I could do in terms of photographing football.

Then I did a B-tech photography course at Stafford College, followed by a degree course at Stafford University, where I dropped out because I was sick of taking pictures of flowers. When I got there it was almost like a fine art course, and I didn’t get on with my lecturer, who said I would never make any money photographing sport.

For eight years I worked for Stoke City. They were in the third division, and I covered all their matches – home and away – at those small grounds with all those crap floodlights. It was the best training ever.”

Who did you look up to when you were young and who has helped you most during your development?
“No single person, but the Allsport (now Getty Images) books – Visions of Sport and Visions of Football – were my bibles. I still have them, and I told Robbie Jay Barratt to buy them recently, which he did. Those books still stand the test of time, and I still think they are fantastic. Those images were mostly manual focus, very little photoshop – the pics all look like they should. Incredible books. If you are a football photographer, or want to be, you should buy Visions of Football. Brilliant…”

One change for the better to improve football photography for the next generation of photographers?
“Just being allowed to get on with our job would be nice. Stewards, restricted positions etc. Sometimes it seems like photographers are seen as some kind of weird enemy, but all we are trying to do is get pictures.”

Favourite football ground to work at and why?
“Allianz Arena – Bayern Munich. Great wire-room, great positions, great car parking and a free bar after the match in the Mercedes lounge!”

Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote from your time as a football photographer?
“I was freelancing for Camersport for three years, and Steve White was absolutely brilliant for me. He gave me advice and encouragement, and there was no pressure and I could do whatever I wanted.

He sent me to Real Madrid vs. Arsenal in 2006, where Thierry Henry scored the winning goal and celebrated right in front of me, but because it was two minutes after half-time I had forgotten to put a card back in the camera and I missed absolutely everything. I was at the side of the pitch kicking the ad boards because I couldn’t believe what I had done. Even though I had missed the winning goal and the celebration, Steve still paid for the entire trip, and said just learn from it.”

Favourite footballer to work with?
“Steven Gerrard during a shoot for Lucozade – absolutely brilliant. He came out of the dressing room and introduced himself, even though I obviously knew who he was and he was first class. I spent an hour with him and he did everything I wanted, and he was so polite and so professional and an absolute pleasure to work with. When the players are like that the pictures are so much better, because everyone is relaxed and he was brilliant.”

Canon, Nikon or Sony?
“Always Canon”

First football match photographed?
“Stoke City vs. Bolton Wanderers at the Victoria Ground.”

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
“I have wanted to be a photographer ever since I went to college and started thinking seriously about what I was going to do with my life. I worked in a warehouse to get the money for camera kit, travelled to away matches with Stoke City, getting in during the early hours, then up early to go to work the next day. I really wanted this more than anything, so I was always going to be a photographer. I was always going to do this.”

Best advice for youngsters?
“Look at more photos. Not Instagram, but proper photos taken by proper photographers, without filters. Proper moments and incidents. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. I think everybody is really nice in this industry and would all give up a huge amount of their time to help and support somebody. Don’t be scared to ask, nobody is going to have a go at you, and we have all been there and started off at the bottom.”

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