FPA Member Profile

Javier Garcia – Back Page Images
All Images © Javier Garcia / BPI

Career

Highlights

  • 1994 – 1999 Freelance sports photographer covering Fulham FC for local newspapers
  • 1999 – 2003 Freelance sports photographer, agencies and national press
  • 2003 – Current: Owner Back Page Images Ltd
  • 2016 – 2020 Director of Sports Photography –  Shutterstock Inc.
  • 2020 – Current: Chief Sports Photographer, Shutterstock Inc.
  • FIFA World Cups (1)
  • UEFA Euro Champs (4)
  • FA Cup Finals (20)
  • UEFA Champions League Finals (7)
  • Premier League Matches Approx (900+)
Q&A with Javier Garcia

First football match photographed?
“Something involving Fulham FC in the mid 1990’s for the local paper.”

What was your career path?
“I worked at the BBC between 1991 and 1999, and cut my teeth in sports photography during that period after a chance encounter with former Allsport photographer David Leah at a British Embassy function in Mexico City in 1990. I loved sports photography, but never thought I would ever be involved. The 1980’s and 90’s were spent mainly watching Fulham photographer Ken Coton sat near the goal with an 85mm and marvelling at his craft in the match programmes. The fare on the pitch was far less engrossing in those days…

I took the plunge and left the BBC in 1999 to try my luck as a jobbing freelancer and it was the best thing I ever did. Poorer, but so much richer, I set up BPI in 2003, where I ended up building a great team of photographers and scaled the business at a time when picture rates made it worthwhile. In 2016 I became Director of Sports Photography at Shutterstock, responsible for the output of our team, before taking up the role of Chief Sports Photographer in April 2020.”

Who did you look up to when you were young and who has helped you most during your development?
“Nobody in particular yet everyone too… I saw plenty of names in the papers and magazines in those days, and simply loved poring over images in print, wondering how they got there. Shoot! and Match magazines probably whetted my appetite as a youngster without me realising.”

Favourite football ground to work at and why?
“Craven Cottage and, a close second, Estadio Mestalla, home of Valencia. I’ve got a thing about white shirts and black shorts, clearly.”

Biggest lesson learned?
“Stick with your plan, Garcia. I’m referring specifically to the World Cup Final in 2006…”

Canon, Nikon, or Sony?
“Lifelong Nikon, a brief flirtation with Canon, and now holding Sony gear hostage until I make my mind up.”

Best advice for youngsters?
“Expect the unexpected. ALWAYS take risks. Consistency will extend your career.”

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
“Probably convincing myself that the BBC final salary pension was worth it as my career nose-dives…”

One change for the better to improve football photography for the next generation of photographers?
“Re-establish the importance of sports photography at a time when some colleagues and administrators don’t comprehend its value.”

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