Ian is a keen wildlife photographer who has also worked with the British Olympic Association and
the British Paralympic Association. He is a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association and International Sports Press Association.
When did you become interested in photography?
It was on my first trip to China towards the end of 2005. I took photographs of the Great Wall of China, and the Forbidden City and things like that on a 2005 BlackBerry.
So then it moved on a little bit from there, I lived in the south of France for a few years, as I tried to do something about my Multiple sclerosis – trying to enjoy the vitamin D and sunshine – and of course living in the south of France it’s easy to take nice photos of sunsets. I don’t particularly specialise in one form of photography. I photograph because I just love creating images.
I know that photography is really important to you…
The two things that keep me going are my family, of course, and the second is my photography, and particularly photographing wildlife. When you go and talk to the animals you get a sensible conversation! That’s why my photography turned from my hobby into a passion. Then, last October, I decided to photograph a rugby match, just across the playing fields near where I live. I got a lucky photograph that was taken by Rugby World magazine and that was great!
Does being a wheelchair user pose challenges at sports events and so on?
I was at a Bristol rugby match a few weeks ago for example; there is a common courtesy, in most cases, between photographers. I make the most of it. I make the most of being encouraged towards the
front. I can go to a lot more places than ever I could, with walking sticks. I have electrified wheels, and an off-road front wheel, so today I’ll be at a nature reserve by the side of a canal trying to capture the
At a match other photographers will be sitting there on stools. I have the comfort of an air-filled cushion and my coffee cup holder clamped to the side of my wheelchair, so I have certain advantages!
When you apply for accreditation to an event or match, do you disclose that you’re a wheelchair user?
Mostly yes. Some venues are more tricky than others to get access to and I have to plan my access more than others so I do make the point that I am a wheelchair user, but I wouldn’t be invited along if
my photographs were not good enough. Whether I’m in a wheelchair or not, once I’m with my camera in hand, with a subject in front of me, I’m the same as anybody else.
I have to travel light, I couldn’t carry around massive prime telephoto lenses that weigh a ton, so it improves my photography as well, in that I have to use different, more transportable kit.
What’s your dream photography gig?
To be published by National Geographic magazine. My fiancée is Cuban, and we have an ambition to run a disability travel opportunity in Cuba, but part of the marketing for that is to try to get an article published by National Geographic Traveller magazine.