Paul Stewart

20.04.06

Had a phone call last night from the Daily Express and have to meet Jo MacFarlane at the London Air Show and photograph her flying the simulator for the RAF’s new Typhoon fighter. Appointment is for 10am, but leave a bit earlier than one would expect, as traffic is always a nightmare on the A4 into town and even though the show is not yet open, parking at Earls Court is normally a complete pain.

Having been happily surprised by the lack of traffic because of the school holidays, the parking is, of course, worse than anticipated.

Meet Jo and the PR who has organised the event and we disappear into the cavern-like hall in search of the simulator.

The RAF personnel are, as ever, a delight to work with and get some good pictures which I wire back to the Express.

I have come to the conclusion that the availability of 3G and Wi-Fi has, at least in London, made things a lot easier.

21.04.06

Early morning and I am tying up some loose ends on a ‘Secret Squirrel’ which I can’t go into here, as it has not been in the paper yet. Then up to the Old Ammunition Factory, which is the editorial studio I run with my wife, Vivien.

A while ago, I started writing for various photography trade magazines, specifically reviewing equipment from a news photographer’s point of view, and for about a year I edited HotShoe International.

Today, I have some portable studio flash to look at, plus some new high-speed memory cards that need to be assessed.

This can be a bit techie, but it does let me know what is new on the market before most and gets me some interesting toys to play with.

22.04.06

Phone in to the Daily Star Sunday to see what’s occurring today and find that everything in London is covered, so I don’t need to do a ‘double’ today. Try to have a quiet day, but spend quite a bit of time checking with various contacts on the celebrity picture front to find out what’s happening this evening, when I will be on the desk.

Have quite a bit of paperwork to sort out for the Chartered Institute of Journalists. I have now been on its council for about a year and I also chair the Institute’s photography division, represent it on the UK Press Card Authority and have been negotiating on its behalf (along with colleagues from the BPPA and NUJ) with the Metropolitan Police over the recently published Police Press Guidelines.

This quick bit of paperwork actually turns into about five hours and a dozen phone calls. So much for the morning off.

Around 3.45pm, I leave for my regular Saturday night shift as night picture editor of the Daily Star Sunday.

Get into the office about 4.30pm and check the state of play with the day desk and quickly get the day’s papers in to read myself. Then start looking through the wires to see what is going on. I know there is a possibility of a Coronation Street related party this evening and that I will have to keep an eye out for pictures arriving from that. Once ‘the first’ is away, it’s just a question of keeping a weather eye on the wires and waiting for the ‘foreigners’ to drop.

A couple of good stories in the other papers, but we are not doing any big changes as we have a full paper which looks pretty good. Get out of the office about 12.30am and have to dodge barriers being put in place for the London Marathon, but I am buoyed by the fact that Sunday should be a day off.

23.04.06

Well, it should have been a day off, but the News of the World had a story about Princess ‘Pushy’ of Kent having an alleged toy boy. So, it’s off to KP (Kensington Palace) to see if I can get a today picture of her.

When I get there, I am the only one and, of course, as anyone who knows KP will tell you, there are four possible exits. So it’s really a case of best guess and wait. There is no sign, so after a long wait, I get stood down by the desk and make a very weary way home.

24.04.06

Would be nice to have a day off today, but this has already been booked for a masterclass at the studio where I am giving a couple of trainees a day course on editorial photography.

This includes everything from how to caption and send your digital image through, to how to interpret the brief from a picture editor.

I show them the difference between the sort of pictures I would shoot for the Daily Star Sunday and the sort I would shoot for the Express.

One of the things I always try to get across to people is that the pictures are actually going to get used on a page, whether that be paper or electronic, and that one should shoot with the page in mind.

I find that having gained experience over the years, I enjoy passing on the knowledge and skills. That’s why I give masterclasses, seminars and college lectures. I finish the day with a portfolio review for today’s trainees.

25.04.06

Lots more paperwork and phone calls to deal with for industry related matters. Sometimes I feel that if I actually got paid at a reasonable rate for the voluntary work I do for the industry, I could give up work and still pay the bills. Also spend quite a bit of time talking to new clients for our PR and Pack Shot Service that we run at the studio, and book in a new client.

Call my son Graham, who is both IT manager and a photographer for Retna Pictures, about some prints I need making for a client and also about a set of celebrity pictures he may have available. Edit up a magazine story I shot last week and send it off to the editor. Having expected a shortish day, leave the studio office about 9.30pm.

26.04.06

Early call from the Express about a scandal which has broken about John Prescott and his two-year affair. Grab the Mirror to get an idea of the story and am struck by the thought that everything that Prescott seems to do comes in twos (two Jags, two Jabs and two-year affair). I am overcome with admiration for the Mirror resisting the headline ‘Two Shags’.

I am sure I could not have.

Race down to Hampshire, but unfortunately, although we have all the addresses, the ‘players’ are not around and it appears to be a fruitless day.

Bit of a quiet week, really.

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