FPA Member Profile

Dave Thompson – Freelance
All Images © Dave Thompson / Freelance

Career

Highlights

  • 1993-1995 BTEC National Diploma in Photography at Stoke-on-Trent college
  • 1995-1997 HND National Diploma in Documentary Photography at Stockport College
  • 1997-1999 Full time photographer at Smith Davis Press in Stoke-on-Trent
  • 1999-2007 Freelance photographer for Manchester Evening News, Press Association, Action Images & Associated Press
  • 2007 – 2014 Press Association
  • 2014 Freelance
  • UEFA Euro Champs (1)
  • FA Cup Finals (2)
  • UEFA Champions League Finals (1)
  • UEFA Europa League Finals (3)
Q&A with Dave Thompson

Do you use Canon, Nikon or Sony?
“Sony. I moved three weeks before Lockdown 1 (Not the best timing) after 20 years using Canon.”

What came first, sport or photography?
“Sport through school, I guess. I used to love playing football and had a trial with Stoke City when I was 15 – their loss! Photography came when I had to decide on a career path and was sent as a trainee photographer to the Crewe Chronicle. Leaving an office at 9am and not returning until 3pm was the biggest attraction. The photography was an excuse to not be in an office. Never did I think I’d have done it for so much of my working life.”

Who did you look up to when you were young, and who has helped you most with your development?
“I’m not one for researching loads of photographers. At college I had to write a dissertation and I was lucky enough to travel down to The Guardian and have Eamonn McCabe give me an hour out of his day to just talk about photography. If I did it again I would realise just how privileged I was. I don’t think at the time I realised quite what I had done.

Throughout my career, various peers have been a great help to me. People I have worked alongside. John Giles, Phil Noble, David Davies and Mark Robinson would be the stand-out ones.”

Do you have any favourite memories or anecdotes from your time as a football photographer?
“I remember jumping around the house when I got a call from Associated Press to ask if I could travel to Madrid to cover Real Madrid v Arsenal in 2006. Thierry Henry scored in a 1-0 win. My first big ‘gig’. Carl Recine has a great story about this match, too.”

First football match you ever photographed and the first one you shot as a professional
“I rang Stoke City on the morning of a pre-season friendly against FC Xanthi, explaining to them that I was a student and wanted to come and photograph the match. Amazingly they said yes. That was the first match I ever shot. My first paid match would have been as part of my salaried position at Smith Davis Press, and would have been either Stoke City or Port Vale.”

Best footballer to work with?
“Joe Gomez at Liverpool always springs to mind. So relaxed, and just seemed to enjoy having his picture taken, without vanity.”

Favourite football ground to work at, and why?
“I loved Stoke City’s old Victoria Ground. The heaters in the roof of the Bernabeu are still one of my favourite things in football!”

Best advice for young photographers starting in the industry?
“Talk to people. It might be hard, but introduce yourself to people. It’s the only way to build relationships.”

Biggest lesson you learnt in the business?
“NEVER forget your waterproofs, and set the camera to not shoot without a card in!”

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