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On PPHP: Jeff Wright – my time as a press photographer – 1960’s / 70’s

JeffWrightOnPAN
Above: Returning from a round of Saturday jobs in 1961 with a top hat purchased for one shilling. | At a reunion in 2009, forty years after the Evening Mail launch

Press photographer Jeff Wright dropped our Press Photo History Project an email after researching press photography in the UK, and finding an article his friend Peter Smith wrote for us “My Life in Fleet Street” – after putting both photographers back in touch we asked Jeff to write about his 15 years experience as a press photographer which he has done in detail with photos and even a found a copy of a 1969 memo from the Evening Mail stating how the department’s work was to be organised.

• Photographer: Jeff Wright
• Date of birth: June 30th 1944
• Current location: Broughton in Hampshire

“It all began in July 1960 when the world of work came calling. Aged barely sixteen, I had just left my local secondary modern school in suburban Middlesex, having failed to get a single O Level, and failed to get a job as an apprentice at London Airport servicing aeroplanes….
….I was ushered from the front office – as newspaper receptions were called – into a tiny back room where every wall surface was stacked with green bound back copies of the newspaper. Photographic manager Alan Soper was to have my fate in his hands.

To this day I have no idea why, but the interview must have gone well. It would have been obvious to Mr Soper that my photographic skills were minimal – just a short stretch with the school’s photographic club one evening a week learning basic developing and printing, in a darkroom that was really the storeroom of the school’s chemistry lab.

A few days later, the telephone rang. It was the Weekly Post with the offer of a job and could I start in a couple of weeks. Blimey.
• Read Jeff’s full report with more images and a rare surviving memo from the E Mail stating how the department’s work was to be organised on the PressPhotoHistory.com