Top snapper shares his stories in Hitchin talk

Andrew Hyde, Marc Apsland and Simon Maddison. Picture: David Atkins.

Andrew Hyde, Marc Apsland and Simon Maddison. Picture: David Atkins. - Credit: Archant

One of the UK’s top sports snappers shared some of the secrets of his trade in an enthralling illustrated talk at Hitchin Camera Club.

copyright Marc Aspland/The Times

copyright Marc Aspland/The Times - Credit: Archant

Marc Aspland, the chief sports photographer of The Times, visited the Queen Mother Theatre to chat about his career and the stories behind some of the pictures featured in his new book The Art of Photography.

Marc, who has covered five football World Cups as well as capturing England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph in Sydney, said: “I’m overwhelmed people would give up their evening to hear me. The point of me coming is to try and help people take a better picture.

“What I’m trying to do is show everyone the thought processes behind taking a shot. The great photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson spoke of the ‘decisive moment’. I like that concept.

“One of the reasons I love being a sports photographer is the ‘decisive moment’ is gone in an instant.

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“I was lucky enough to take an iconic photograph of Jonny Wilkinson and Martin Johnson moments after Jonny had clinched victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Sydney.

“I was on the pitch and took a photo of them together hugging in triumph. I was so near to them I could hear what they were saying.

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“It was a really personal moment in the midst of such a powerful release of tension – if I had missed that shot I couldn’t go back to them and ask them to do it again. Likewise Jonny’s drop kick which clinched the victory!

“That’s why I love it – because you only have a millisecond to capture the ‘decisive moment’.

“Sport’s such a powerful medium. I was with Simon Barnes – the former chief sportswriter of The Times – in Turkey just after an earthquake left thousands dead, injured and homeless.

“He and I travelled four hours into the interior because we heard there were orphans who were being looked after at a football stadium – we found them.

“It was pretty harrowing. But I managed to capture a picture of the only smiles I saw in my time there – when someone threw the orphans a football.

“That’s the power of sport and the power of photography.

“My photograph of those orphans smiling through football is the only picture I have in my house.”

Hitchin Camera Club chairman Andrew Hyde said: “It was fantastic to have Marc at our club. Please visit our website for more information.”

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