Oli Scarff: How I won photographer of the year award

On Tuesday Getty Images’ Oli Scarff was named photographer of the year at Press Awards 2011 for a photo described by the Metropolitan Police as the ‘most powerful crime image they have ever seen”.

It was the second consecutive year a Getty Images photographer received the award following Matt Cardy’s triumph in 2010.

The most arresting image in Scarff’s three-photo portfolio was the image of a stabbing that took place at the Notting Hill Carnival last year.

‘I had just finished transmitting my pictures of the festivities and decided to see what further photos could be taken as the Carnival wound down,’Scarff told Press Gazette.

‘As I returned to Ladbroke Grove I noticed a significant police presence and after taking a few pictures of the revelers, I saw a group of police running up the street and decided to follow them.

‘About 100 metres up the street I came upon a crowd of people watching a fight taking place. Instinctively I took a couple of frames at the same time one of the people involved in the fight ran past me.

‘Soon after I noticed a man in the street bleeding heavily, after photographing him being treated by paramedics I went to send the pictures and noticed that I had captured the assailant fleeing the scene.”

Scarff’s other images included a mass of patriotic revelers celebrating outside Buckingham Palace during last year’s royal wedding and an image of Rupert Murdoch leaving his apartment after the Milly Dowler phone-hacking revelations.

Explaining how he got the royal wedding shot, Scarff said it was taken from a very small platform on the roof of Buckingham Palace.

‘I was sharing this space with three other photographers and a large BBC TV camera, so needless to say space was tight.

‘As the crowds came forward to surround the memorial, it made for an amazing sight and as we looked down on such a huge mass of people, the roar from the crowd in celebration as the Royal couple kissed, hit us like a wall of sound.’

Commenting on the Rupert Murdoch photo, he added: ‘Before capturing this photo, I had spent days waiting for Rupert Murdoch to leave his London flat – even for just a fleeting moment.

‘As his Range Rover sped past, dangerously close to the waiting ranks of photographers, I held my camera as close to the glass as I dared; desperately hoping that Rupert was sitting on my side of the vehicle and waiting for the critical moment to press the shutter.

‘As he flew past in his car he gestured towards us and one second later it was all over.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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