FPA Member Profile

Andrew Fosker – Seconds Left Images
All Images © Andrew Fosker / Offside / Wired Photos  / BPI / Rex / Shutterstock / Seconds Left Images
Q&A with Andrew Fosker

What came first, Sport or Photography?
In my early school years playing sport (Football, Rugby & Cricket) was my first love. It was during secondary school that my passion for photography developed. I bought my first SLR (1980?) during this time. I think having played a sport helps, as understanding the game can definitely help your photography.

Who did you look up to when you were young and who has helped you most during your development?
When I started professionally Mark Leech at Offside was the person who gave me his time the first opportunities to shoot football for which I’m really grateful. He has continued to be an inspiration. In terms of features and portraiture Neil Tuner was always my go to, as he was generous enough to share all his lighting techniques online but the key was that these were real life editorial shoots not a text book theory lesson in isolation. I was also lucky enough to have huge support from Rugby World Magazine who gave me endless opportunities to shoot features, covers and live sport.

One change for the better to improve football photography for the next generation of photographers?
To have a some sort of egalitarian system to license football photographers which doesn’t rely on trying to find cuttings from pictures on remittance advice that was published >10 months earlier & not allow unlimited, unverified, unpaid photographers on one licence.

Favourite football ground to work in and why?
This is really hard to answer, as some of this is down to sightlines, technology and positioning and the rest is just personal nostalgia. Being from West London, Brentford’s Griffin Park, Loftus Road and Craven Cottage are up there but this is more about familiarity and history really. I love the new Tottenham Stadium and having worked there for NFL UK too, it’s hard to beat for positions, technology and their media facilities.

A favourite football memory?
As a 10 year old season ticket holder at Wycombe Wanderers (then non-league) we were playing Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough (top of League Divison One I think?) in the 1975 3rd Round of the FA Cup on the sloping Loakes Park Pitch. Wycombe managed an ‘amazing’ 0-0 draw. I ran on the pitch at the end to get Jack’s autograph and thrust my programme towards him but I had failed to bring a pen with me. We lost the replay 1-0 and I can remember being heart broken. As a photographer, no thanks to the ball thrown back from the stands, smashing my head into my camera spitting open my eye.

Favourite footballer to work with and why?
Probably more recently Denis Odoi (Fulham) or Albert Adomah (QPR) just because they are very funny with no airs and graces and would do anything you asked during a shoot. I’ve worked with David James on a couple of shoots and he was great company with many stories.

Canon, Nikon or Sony?
Canon professionally – My first SLR though, was a Yashica FXD Quartz (in 1980), then Minolta (to became Sony’s DSLR business after their acquisition). Canon SLRs (EOS-3) sometime in the late 1990s. First DSLR 2003, First Pro DSLR – Canon EOS 1D Mark II (2004?)

First football match photographed?
Mid to late 1980’s: Lots of University / British Colleges’ Football while a student in London – Selling hand printed Black and White 10 by 8s to the first team (a team I was never good enough to play for) to pay for my summer holidays. Manual focus, with a very slow (f4.5 max) 80-200mm lens always on HP5.
First Premier League game would have been Arsenal v Portsmouth (1-1) at Highbury (2003) for Offside during the Invincibles’ Season. Sheringham scored for Portsmouth & Henry for Arsenal and I ‘ran’ my film down to the Offside Office in Islington (walking from Highbury) after the match (dev & scan) and the Sunday Telegraph used a picture the next day which seemed like a massive thing to me at the time. Probably a shocking set of pics but a great memory.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
I was a Primary School Teacher for 13 years before giving up in 2001 to try and make a living in photography. Not sure I could go back even if I had to, as 20 year out is too long. I would like to write but have never really taken this seriously (as you can see!).

Best advice to youngsters?
This is a real cliché but if you think you know everything then you won’t improve. Keep learning, admit your mistakes and practise. Try and be humble and make sure you aren’t just restricted to shooting live sport, as you need to have the personality and skills to shoot anything if you want to make a living. Don’t upset important people in the business and say yes to all work with the exception of anything that rips you off. Ask for help/advice but give as much as you get & don’t beat yourself up if you miss a key moment, just try and get something better.

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