Friday, 13 March 2009

A right Royal Friday 13th

My royal press pass from today, Camberwell, 2009 © Magnus Andersson

I'm not generally a superstitious person but I always get a bit nervous about this date in the diary. As always happens though, it turned out be another normal Friday, at least up until midday, when I found out that I had the chance to go on the Royal Rota! The opportunity to photograph a member of that strange family is never one to be passed up.

Prince Harry and an adoring crowd reflected in the bus windows at his 'fathers' wedding in Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

My first break in the industry came while I was a still a first-year photojournalist student at LCC, when I'd managed to secure a unique spot for the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla in Windsor. My then girlfriend (and now close friend) works across the road from the Guildhall where the wedding was taking place and the BBC had paid £5,000 to use half of their balcony, perfectly elevated above the thronging crowds on the high street. The other half was mine to use, for free! Thanks, Mandy!

Marching band before the wedding, Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

I called around to various agencies and explained the situation, and Clive Dixon at Rex Features was the first to say 'yes, we want the pictures, what do you need?' So they lent me a monstrous 400/2.8 and a body to go with my other two bodies and student kit. Its worth remembering that I'd never even handled a 300/2.8 before, so it was a steep learning curve. I met up with Clive in the morning, did some scouting, mounted my first ever remote camera on the railing and learnt that Rex had a whole bunch of photographers there that day. All of a sudden I was part of the team!

Prince Nazi Harry gives the thumbs up, Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

The pictures came out OK, even though I was shooting with new gear, shooting and processing RAW for the first time, and I filed from my girlfriends computer, right next to BBC's temporary studio which was set up in the office. Quite perplexing to be able to watch yourself shit yourself working, screened on a TV right next to you...

The man who is 2nd in line to the throne waves at me, Windsor, 2005, four years before holding the door for me © Magnus Andersson

Today, Prince William came to Camberwell to visit St Giles' Trust, a place which helps ex-offenders get back on track after prison. As usual, these are highly orchestrated events where the media is always kept at an armslenght, which means it is nigh on impossible to get a decent shot, from the angle you want, with the background you need, and the right people in the shot. But still, we attend in the hope of at least getting a memorable picture.

Sniper police man with binoculars observing the crowd from a church roof top, Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

To be quite honest, I don't support the idea of a Royal family, I say be-gone-with-them and redistribute the wealth to the people again, but I'm not in charge so that might have to wait a while. Anyway, if you can get them looking funny, you've got your shot, never mind the occassion! Below is my contribution; a mug shot (boom boom) of Chazza aka Prince Charles from 2006 in Deptford.

Mug shot of horse face Prince Charles in Deptford, 2006 © Magnus Andersson

PS. some of you might recall this incident where I held the door for Dame Kelly Holmes. Today, the person who is 2nd in line to the throne, held the door for me! Yes, Prince William held the door for a foreign anti-royalist photojournalist. Hear, hear! Sadly I cant show you any pic's from today's shoot as they haven't gone to press yet, and even then I probably wouldn't show them as it was all bit per your usual 'royal' assignment.

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