FPA Associate Member Profile

James Gill – Danehouse
All Images © James Gill / Danehouse

Career

Highlights

  • 2014 – 2018 Stockport County
  • 2017 – 2018 Cheshire Football League
  • 2018 – 2019 PRiME Media Images
  • 2018 – 2019 Stockport County Ladies
  • 2019 –          Danehouse Photography
  • 2017 – FA Young Volunteer of the Year 
Q&A with James Gill

Canon, Nikon or Sony?
“Canon”

What came first, sport or photography?
“Sport. My football journey started as a very young boy with a trip to Old Trafford, as my uncle was a Manchester United supporter. We saw the Red Devils in action in a pre-season friendly against Sevilla in a fairly routine affair for the home side as they won 3-0. If I remember correctly, we broke one of the fundamental rules of being a football fan – leaving with 10 minutes to go, so we missed David Jones’ goal in injury time. Sadly, it took me five long years of enduring one the most successful periods in their history before I saw the light and started attending games at Greater Manchester’s best football stadium – Edgeley Park, home of Stockport County. It’s been a pretty dismal 10 years since for the Hatters, but a League title win in 2019, in addition to new owners over the summer of 2020 mean that things are finally starting to look up for my hometown team!”

Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote from your time as a football photographer?
“Tough one, this! The obvious answer would be to go with a trip to Nuneaton in 2019, as Stockport County lifted their first League title in 60 years. But I think the single most enjoyable moment of my career so far was being able to cover my first UEFA Champions League game. Manchester City hosted FC Schalke in the quarter final of the competition in 2019, and to attend the Etihad Stadium for such a high profile match as a young photographer was crazy! I’m sure I looked like the most nervous photographer in existence. Fortunately I was able to chat with the ever-lovely Oli Scarff from AFP before the game which calmed my nerves slightly. It can be quite intimidating for a young photographer to be amongst the best football photographers in the country, and I really appreciate it when one of them takes time to talk with me.
I didn’t actually get much in terms of good shots from the game despite City winning 7-0, but as far as match days go, it was probably the most enjoyable game I’ve shot so far.”

First football match photographed?
“My first game shooting with a DSLR was a Cheshire League match (the 11th tier of English football) between Poynton and Knutsford using a newly-bought Canon 1100d. Looking back, the photos were awful, but it opened my eyes to how enjoyable covering football was as a photographer.”

Favourite footballer to work with?
“I’m yet to work with any top footballers on a one to one basis. I hope as I keep building on my career the opportunity will arise in the future.
If I had the chance to shoot a portrait with any player, I would love to do one of Lionel Messi. I’m lucky to have grown up watching one of the greatest ever footballers, and it would be surreal to meet him.”

Favourite football ground to work at, and why?
“This is a tough one. I have always enjoyed the chance to shoot at Wembley, for its size and the history behind the stadium, but I’d say my favourite ground to regularly shoot at is Goodison Park. The match day atmosphere, the proximity to the local housing and the generally stress-free shooting environment that makes every game at Everton an enjoyable experience.”

Biggest Lesson Learnt in the business?
“You can never stop learning. Working under Alex Livesey at Danehouse has opened my eyes to where I could improve my photography and, more importantly, that you can never be perfect. There’s always things to learn, even for those at the top of industry and it’s important to keep learning.”

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