Life Of A Cricket Photographer
Life Of A Cricket Photographer
Graham Morris (Cricket photographer) gives expert video advice on: What age do cricket photographers retire?; Are there busy and quiet periods during the year?; Do you meet the players away from matches? and more...
What age do cricket photographers retire?
You can do it as long as you can really. There was a chap who died just recently called Bill Smith who was the Arsenal photographer and MCC photographer. He was well into his eighties and still photographing things. You can do it as long as you can. It's how much you want to put up with, that's the thing. How much you want to go to football matches and be abused by crowds and that sort of stuff. That's the bit that would wear you down. I always see cricket as a game you can sort of grow old gracefully in, because if you look at the game, if you look at the people playing it, amateurs as well as the professionals, professionals can go on well past a lot of other sports. Then you look at clubs and villages all around the country, you have people in their seventies and eighties playing cricket. It's a great game. It's one of those games, it's such a good social game as well. I'm quite happy with cricket. That's the nice thing about cricket. Because you can go through to just about any age, I would have thought, and still be felt to part of that scene.
Are there busy and quiet periods during the year?
Well, it's busy when the cricket's on, and it's not busy when there's no cricket on. It's quite simple, really. If you only photograph cricket, then from April to September, it's absolutely flat out. I suppose a way of summing it up would be my mileage. I bought a new car last year at the start of the cricket season, that was April. At the end of the season, September, I had 22,000 miles. From September to April again, a few hundred. Well, a fair bit of that time, out of the country. But then the following April to September, I'm now back on another 22,000 miles, easily. So it's flat out in the summer, April to September, then quiet periods in the winter, if you're not touring.
Do you meet the players away from matches?
Yes you tend to. I mean now there's a bit more the bubble. Yes, so you don't, you don't so much now, but that's the ECB's doing that, it's the media people you know that don't. Or maybe it was Fletcher when he was around. We don't want him talking to people. But yes, when you do, you get them well. You know, they're a good bunch. So, over the years, yes you have to, but now, I don't know maybe, the people upstairs think that's frowned upon, I don't know. But, not quite so much now.
Who is your inspiration?
The photographer I admire is Patrick Yager who's been doing this for a bit longer than I have and does really come out with some wonderful pictures, really is a very, very good photographer. Going back to when you were saying before about what first got you into the job, it was interesting - I was working on a newspaper and I got sent along to just cover something I knew nothing about. It wasn't even a game it was just to photograph somebody at a particular match. I went down to Canterbury and had to photograph this one person and he was a cricketer and got down there and in those days I was used to photographing football and footballers and various other sports and you're never really made to feel welcome. But I got down to Canterbury and this chap that I had to photograph said right okay now what would you like so I said "sit right like this and that" and some of the other players - they all joined in quiet happily and very jolly, laughing and joking doing pictures with no problems. "Anymore you would like to do" to "do some more" and I'm almost suspicious. Normally they're telling you "right that's it finished now go", but in cricket I thought wow this is great and at the end this chap said "is that it? is there anything else you need to do?" I said "no I'm fine, I'm happy with that; thank you it's great". He said "we're all going out for a drink now would you like to come?" I though wow this is the job i need - this is great. It was Chris Cowdrey and after that I thought wow - I was touched by this.
Who was your favourite cricket player when you grew up?
Kyle Melbourne, I would have thought. Who would be taking it back a stage before what we were talking about Freddy and then Bathe. I suppose Kyle Melbourne would have been the similar sort of character going back a, not even a generation, but even before that. So yes, I quite like Derrick Randall; yes I like Derrick Randall. And then just coming a bit... not when I was kid because he was playing. You know, I photographed him playing. But then you get to meet some of these guys afterwards and realize how good they are. John Lever. What a great life that would have been to play with John Lever. I feel a laugh a minute.
What is the worst thing about being a cricket photographer?
Well the worst thing about the job I imagine is sort of just the gear, the equipment, just humping it around and just spending hours on motorways and all the rest of it. Carrying the stuff. The abuse you get. I mean, I shouldn't say this. In fact, I'm going to end up fuelling it - but like all photographers in this country - all the pea brains out there who as soon as they see you with a camera, you're instantly responsible for Princess Diana's death and all the other abuse you get thrown at you. But that's their problem.
What is the best thing about being a cricket photographer?
It's really healthy. Well, you might get hit by the odd cricket ball. But you're outdoors. A lot of people see it as a combination of two hobbies--photography and cricket--which I suppose it is, but it's gone beyond that. Oh yeah. I've had worse jobs. A lot worse.