Phil O'Connor Profile
In May 1981 I took a photo of Steve Joughin winning a stage of the Milk Race as it hurtled into Bournemouth, some months later I managed to get it published in a cycling magazine, by now my racing career was petering out as fast as my photography career was beginning and that photo of Joughin had started a chain of events that continues to this day…….
I freelanced until March 1988 shooting lots of cycling but also running, ice hockey, football, rugby and basketball for local papers until I got a job at Sporting Pictures and remained there for the next four invaluable years. Working alongside Fleet Streets finest photographers I photographed numerous sports events including the Seoul and Albertville Olympics.
I left in March 1992 to create a brand new transparency library at Cycling Weekly. Cyclesport was created not long after I joined and these two magazines became my commitment until May 2006. At this point it was 25 years since I had taken the photo of Steve Joughin so I realised it was time to move on.
Returning to a freelance world that was very different to the one I had left in 1988, the beginning was a steep learning curve but one that I fully embraced. I shot numerous motorbike track days, took portraits for The Daily Mail and worked as the Project Photographer for the A3 tunnel and also photographed over 40 weddings!
With the advent of digital photography the world of sport event photography had taken off and I found myself drawn to this time and time again and wanting to put to good use my sport photography skills in a new way. Initially I shot some running and swimming events then also some sportives in 2007. I had now decided that this was the way forward, instead of spending all day on a mountain waiting for one good shot of Bradley Wiggins I would exercise the same skill on hundreds and thousands of amateurs and try and give them the same quality of photography I would have put into the shot of Bradley. The same dedication is put into our websites as we work hard to make finding your photos as easy as possible.
Now I am out every weekend possible shooting amateur sports events and my enthusiasm for photography is as keen as ever, nothing beats getting a cracking photo of someone enjoying their hobby especially if they write to you and say how much they appreciate the image. As my list of events to cover has grown I have had to find others to work alongside me and now have a good team of photographers to call upon. Many of them have a running or cycling background as well as a love of photography and have me encouraging them to shoot to the highest standards to keep our customers happy.