FPA Member Profile

Adrian Dennis – AFP
All Images © Adrian Dennis

Career

Highlights

  • The Wokingham Times – 1980’s
  • Studied: Journalism (BSc.) – University of Florida 1989-1994
  • Photographer – Gainesville Sun (USA) 1990-91
  • Photographer – The St. Petersburg Times (USA) – 1992
  • Photographer – The Eugene Register-Guard (USA) – 1993
  • Photographer – The Independent (London) – 1996-2000
  • Photographer – AFP & AP – 1998-2000
  • Photographer – AFP 2000-present
  • FIFA World Cups (3)
  • UEFA Euro Champs
  • FA Cup Finals (10+)
  • UEFA Champions League Finals / Europa League Finals
  • Premier League (every season since 2000)
Q&A with Adrian Dennis

What came first, sport or photography?

Sport came first for me! I spent most of my youth racing motorbikes, playing rugby or running and jumping for my local athletics club. I wasn’t great at football – I scored three own goals once – all in the same game which scarred me forever!

Who did you look up to when you were young, and who has helped you most with your development?

Like a lot of photographers of my generation, I started part-time at a local newspaper The Wokingham Times. The staff photographers taught me a fair bit, but I really learned the ropes from an old studio photographer at the factory where I worked. He showed me how to develop and print my film and I spent most of my lunch hour for two years eating my sandwiches under a red light.

If I wasn’t in the darkroom at lunchtime then I may have been in WH Smiths flicking through Visions of Sport – photo books produced by the good folk at Allsport. I never did buy one.

One change for the better to improve football photography for the next generation of photographers?

Hmmm tough question. But I think this may apply to professional photographers in general – being a photographer is a proper job! It requires skill and concentration sometimes with a little bit of luck! But most people see us on the sidelines and think we’re on a day out! 

So to answer the question, when rules are put in place around football pitches a bit of thought should go into “How will this effect the imagery produced and how photographers work.”   

Favourite ground and why?

Has to be Loftus Road. I have supported QPR since I was little. I even have Stan Bowles signature on a Barclays Bank paying-in slip! I went to my first “proper” game with my Dad. QPR versus Millwall and I spent most of the match wondering why several angry men were trying to climb over the fence and into the seats. My Dad wasn’t that impressed I’m led to believe.

Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote from your time as a football photographer?

No, not really. The Alzheimers is kicking in these days. I’ll get back to you.

Favourite footballer to work with?

Not much to add here either. Really only dealt with them through a long telephoto lens.

Canon, Nikon or Sony?

Canon. I still have my F1’s and a T90. 

First match photographed?

Probably something along the lines of Wokingham Town or Maidenhead United. Although once I started to take photography seriously I wrote a few letters and managed to get in at QPR and a few other lesser grounds like Highbury and Stamford Bridge. 😉  

If you weren’t a photographer what would you be?

Firefighter. Although I wouldn’t mind having a go at train driver too.

Best advice for youngsters?

Look and learn. Watch how some of the older hands do things. Then look at tons and tons of images – copy em if you can. And then start to form a style.  

Biggest lesson learnt?

Don’t lose your temper at a match. It never ends well!

What awards have you won?

Luckily for me I won a couple awards after the Olympic Games in London. I’m particularly proud to have won The Picture Editors’ Guild and the Sports Journalist Association Sports photographer of the Year awards.

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