Legendary Sun snapper Beverley Goodway originally wanted to be a doctor – but after being turned down by medical school, he ended up devoting his career to anatomy of a different kind, writes Dominic Ponsford.
Now, after 33 years with the paper, most of those as its main page-three photographer, he has retired. And to those who claim his life’s work was about objectifying or demeaning women, he says: “They haven’t looked at it properly, then, it’s not about that at all. My terms of reference are to make someone look as gorgeous as possible and the fact that they are topless is almost incidental.”
Goodway started working for a news agency at the age of 21 in 1965 and was offered a contract on the
Daily Mail after just six weeks. The Mail had been impressed with one of his photos which had appeared in The Guardian.
“It was more down to the person I was working for – they set it up, I just took the photo,” he says.
He then worked on The Times – mostly, he says, taking dull pictures of company directors and MPs. Keen to get into fashion photography, he took a job at the old broadsheet Sun around 1968.
“When that was taken over, everyone who wanted to was taken on by the new Sun. I thought I would go on for a couple of years and then go freelance. That was 33 years ago.”
Page-three work followed the Murdoch takeover and the transformation of The Sun into its current tabloid form. Initially, page three consisted of bikini and lingerie photos, but after about a year the tops came off.
“It was a natural progression,” says Goodway. “In those days, fashion shots were really only an excuse to get a picture of a pretty girl in the paper. Rather than looking for excuses, The Sun just said, here’s a picture of a pretty girl.
“I soon found that I got a much bigger picture than with a fashion spread, so I moved over to page three.”
For the past 25 years, Goodway has been on page three full time, photographing a girl a day. Bespectacled, bow tie-wearing and well spoken, he has the air of a shy academic. “People used to say, ‘you don’t look like that sort of person’,” he says.
When asked what advice he would give to aspiring photographers, he says: “If you come back from a job with a quality picture, you’ve got your self respect.”
As for his favourite model, he chooses 1980s pin-up Linda Lusardi. “Linda was a natural and totally professionalâ€¦ she also had a great bum which looked fantastic in a thong.”
The Sun celebrated Goodway’s career this week with a series of articles.
by Dominic Ponsford