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Fleet Street photographer James Gray has died

JOE BUGNER 1970 Boxer Joe Bugner, right, chats to Mail photographer James Gray…BOXER . REXMAILPIX.

Sad news in this morning. News photographer James Gray died on Saturday 7 November 2020. He was 81 years old and was living in Brandon Suffolk.
‘Jimmy’ started his photo life at Keystone photo agency on Fleet Street and then staff at the Daily Mail as Royal photographer before going freelance.
At one point he moved to Scotland and bought a lighthouse to run as a B&B.

The Daily Mail sent PAN this photo (and the one above) of Jimmy “On a story about him taking a picture of the Loch Ness Monster in 2001!”

On a 2001 LOCH NESS MONSTER story for the Daily Mail semi-retired photographer James Gray (54) and Peter Levings when they were out fishing on the Loch. ‘A living shape rises from the waters of Loch Ness near Invermorriston.’ James Gray

One of the last great characters of the Fleet Street era – his fellow photographers say Jimmy was a great operator and always great company on a job. … and this from a relative: ‘He always had projects on the go, whether it was doing up old cars or classic motorbikes ….that was something he had always done when he had the time…he could turn his hand to most things.’

PAN has heard a few good stories of Jimmy – if you would like to add yours please use the comments box below. Any photos of Jimmy shooting please email me at and I will add them here.

This shot of Jimmy was sent to us by Ann Keough – ‘Jim on top of Nelson’s Column….no Health and Safety regs in those days.

If you know where his freelance images are – please send a link ! Updated: Greg at Shutterstock (from the Rex years) sent PAN this link to James’s images on the site.

Jimmy seen here in the middle of the press pack 17th November 1966
A mob of press photographers clamour to photograph the winner of the ‘Miss World’ beauty contest, 23-year old Rita Faria, previously ‘Miss India’, after the competition in London. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Thanks to Photographer David Levenson for providing a few details on James’s life, Mo at the Daily Mail and Matt at the Hulton Getty archive for providing the Jimmy photos.


  • Going by all the comments on Facebook, Jimmy was a giant character in Fleet Street of old, even if he was short of statue in real life. RIP Jimmy

  • Jimmy started at Keystone as a dispatch rider and very quickly became a photographer with them, the story i recall was when I was a pimply young man on the news desk there, Jimmy was asked to do some snow pictures, he stated he would on condition someone went with him to push the car if it got stuck in the snow, I was chosen for the task, which is funny as all who know Jimmy he was a small chap, I am even smaller so we looked like something out of the circus, he had an old Morris traveller which was freezing, we had lunch in a greasy spoon cafe, then went to a very posh tennis club to do pictures of the snowed up courts, escorted by a very posh lady Jimmy announced he had left his gloves in the “restaurant” where we had been i don’t know how i didn’t burst out laughing.

  • Jim was my Brother in Law & he took me with him on a shoot which involved a boat !
    I told him not to worry , if a camera went overboard I’d dive in to retrieve it !
    “Forget the cameras !” he replied , “You’re here to save me if I go in!” You may know , he wasn’t a great swimmer !
    I spent many days sea fishing with Jim , sometimes near Bradwell & sometimes off of Stackpole Quay.
    Through Jim I met a Page 3 photographer , whose name I forget & another Royal photographer called Arthur .
    RIP Jim !

  • Jim was my cousins ex husband but we always stayed in touch. He always had a story to tell….what to believe now that’s another story. He actually took my wedding photos…so no posing ….all action shots in black and white but how great they are when l look back at them!!
    I can remember visiting a little Bar in Turre, Spain with my husband and we got chatting to a fellow Brit who just happened to be a press photographer who knew Jim well….come back to my place l will show you a few pics. A lovely rustic villa just out of the village and full of amazing press photos….had a great afternoon listening to stories and talking about Jim….a very small world but l felt proud that he spoke so highly of him.
    Such a shock to learn of his passing and his children will be devastated but a great way to go…..will always remember you

  • James was my Dad. I must say there are not many people like him and I am very proud to say that he is my father. I wish I had more time to spend with him, but we made the very best of the time we had.
    He was the most adventurous, smartest and honest person I know and he had an incredible humour. It was never boring with my him! I guess he drove almost any car and motorbike available in Britain and knew how to repair all of them. And he certainly loved his cup of tea every day. I really miss him.
    I hope he is in a better place now.

  • Jimmie was my Dads brother. I have just found out today about his death? I’m so very sad to hear this alful news. My sympathy’s go out to his family. Rest in peace Uncle Jimmie xx

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