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Andrew Arthur
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Interesting comment about the clothing. When I covered the PGA Championship the entire US team had a new pair of trousers every day. And these were designed to look like an explosion in a firework factory. I tell you what, from the length of a hole you could tell who were the Americans!Those trousers were the talking point of the match. After the fact that the UK won for the first time in umpteen years. Led by Tommy Horton they played their very best and I had some great pictures! All in black and white at that stage, there was minimal demand for colour. At the first St Mellion B&H there was a slight incident. I went into the Press room and signed in, collected the paperwork and went off to work out the plan of action. While I was doing this a rather untidy looking character wearing a beret came up to me and without preamble said "Who are you working for?". I was very surprised, I had no idea who this guy was but he had a massive bag full of equipment and I noticed that his cameras were those old Pentax 6x7 SLR's, truly massive things with lenses like mortar barrels. Clearly a pro but quite scruffy. So anyway I told him the name of the magazine I was working for ( I'd better not say) and he said "Oh are you? That's very interesting!" in a rather threatening way and I thought, well who on earth IS this guy? I'm trying to do a job of work and this dude comes up with all these remarks. So I said "Don't worry about it!" at which he turned round and stamped away snarling "I'M not worried about it". I just thought, well strange old world and got on with the job. Next day I logged in to the Press room, signed for the paperwork (Press releases, meal passes, a schedule etc) and the Press room Manager beckoned me over. "I've had a complaint" he says "You've been very rude to one of the leading golf photographers and he's threatening Union action". This is the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), who can be very stroppy when they have a mind to and clearly something was going on. So I pointed out that this dude had simply steamed up and started snapping at me without even the courtesy of a hello or good morning and I had him down for a crank!The PR man was inclined to dispute this and things looked bleak, then one of the other journo's spoke up and confirmed that the guy had been very rude, very abrupt and he wasn't surprised that I had taken offence. This changed things somewhat so the PR man said. "Look this man is one of the top golf freelances and he's very upset". So I said well I am a professional photographer but I don't belong to his Union. Apparently they were trying to enforce a Closed Shop so that only a favoured few got all the work. The PR man was quite helpful and advised me to keep a low profile, avoid any other journo's in the Press room and just tactfully get on with my job. So that's what I did. But afterwards there was a bit of a fuss and in the end the magazine put my name forward for membership of the NUJ. It was the best way forward for me in the end and avoided further confrontation.
Toggle Commented Oct 14, 2010 on The Nikon in the Grass at The Online Photographer
I'm glad you liked the story, I had a lot of fun doing it. The cameras were an Olympus OM1 and OM2 with mostly a Vivitar 100-300 f5. That's about the longest lens you can viably hand hold in general conditions. Yes, I am afraid the end was very abrupt (but also I was running over my word count!)the fact is that between Sept 1987 and April 1988 my market just dried up. That's no weddings, down from 35 a year to zero. Not even a passport picture. There is not much golf in the winter here, certainly no major tournaments and I went about 3 months without making a sale of any kind whatever. No press commissions at all because they were all told to fulfil their needs from staffers and not freelances. Basically every editor's freelance budget was cancelled. Some magazines closed altogether. It was very sudden, I was getting all these Dear John letters from people I had supplied for years.
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Oct 10, 2010