17 July 2011

Photographing Jimmy White

I've been a fan of snooker for over 25 years.  My first memory of snooker was watching the Steve Davis vs Dennis Taylor 1985.  I was one of the 18 million that stayed up to gone midnight to see the conclusion of the match.  I was only 15 at the time, it was a school night, my parents didn't "get" snooker, so I was forced to watch it on a tiny 4" black and white telly hidden at the side of my bed.

My first memory of Jimmy White is watching the Mercantile Credit Classic where Jimmy won his first ranking tournament beating Cliff Thorburn 13-12.  I remember it so well for two reasons, firstly because at the height of tension in the final frames Jimmy called a foul on himself that the referee didn't spot.  I'll never forget that act of extreme sportsmanship.  The other reason I remember is so well is because I'd started watching the final session at my Nan's house, but just a few frames from the end we had to drive home, longest 15 minutes ever!

The shoot was for a Jimmy White iPad / iPhone app called iWhirlwind, and we were shooting at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.  The shoot came about because of contact made via Twitter, with Jim's business partner Jamie Trump during the 2011 World Snooker Championships.  A few short weeks later, and here we all were.

I've photographed quite a few famous people on stage, and quite a few fitness celebrities, this was my first proper shoot with someone as well known as Jimmy.  I didn't want to come across as a fan, but I did have to ask Jimmy and Michaela Tabb to pose for one quick picture with me.

My job for the most part was to keep out of the way of the video cameras, and just to photograph Jim in action.  My first time photographing snooker, and I was quite pleased with the results.  My Gran (who died 4 years ago) would have been proud of me, she was a big Jimmy and snooker fan.

It was the most surreal shoot I've ever done.  For a time I was re-spotting the colours for Jim as he was warming up while the video cameras were being set up.  When I arrived home that evening it almost seemed as if the day was a dream.  Being a self employed photographer is not the easiest way to make a living, but on days like this, oh so worth it.

Thank you Jim for a great shoot, looking forward to seeing the app, although I will have to borrow someone's iPad!

Thanks to Neil Sheppard for coming along to help, although he didn't really do anything!

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