Masthead header

England and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire

I was very pleased to see my portrait of England and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire used so well in the Mail on Sunday. For more on the star defender and goal scorer in the World Cup 2018 see my previous blog here on photographing him on a visit to his old school in Chesterfield as well as my commission to photograph Liverpool FC Captain and England player, Jordan Henderson for The Times.

 

Portrait of England player Harry Maguire sitting with football in casual clothes looking to camera.

Photograph ©Michael Powell Text ©Mail on Sunday

 

 

Oleg Gordievsky the MI6 spy who helped prevent nuclear war

Russian double agent Oleg Gordievsky is the subject of a new book by  The Times writer, Ben Macintyre. ‘The Spy and the Traitor’ reveals how Oleg Gordievsky reported the Russian leadership’s growing paranoia to MI6 which influenced Ronald Reagan’s public softening to the USSR. It was thought that planned American military rehearsals in the 1980s could be misinterpreted by Moscow as a sign of imminent nuclear attack that nudged the world closer to the brink of war. It appears Gordievsky played a crucial role in preventing that war and paving the way for improved relations between the west and Russia. The book details the nerve-shredding escape of Gorievsky to London in 1986 where he still lives under constant police protection.

No surrender. Double agent, Oleg Gordievsky escaped Russia to live in London. ©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

In 1993 The Times commissioned me to photograph Oleg Gordievsky during and after a very rare interview. The location was only revealed at the last moment and I floated around the West End of London awaiting the address. Eventually, a hotel room was chosen and plain clothes (and presumably armed) officers kept a discreet but watchful eye on me throughout the interview.

Relations between Moscow and London may have improved considerably under President Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost but Gordievsky was (and still is) a marked man. There are many Russian agents that still considered him a traitor. In recent years there have been a number of apparent murders and attempted murders of ex Russians nationals living in the UK including the poisoned Alexander Litvinenko and double agent, Sergie Skripal who survived Novichok poisoning in Salisbury in March 2018.

Ben Macintyre’s book ‘The Spy and the Traitor’ is published by Penguin Randon House.

 

 

Billy Monger returns to racing at Donington Park

Racing driver, Billy Monger returns to racing at Donington Park in these photographs taken for The Times.

It was during a race at Donington Park in 2017 that Billy crashed into the back of a stationary car. He then spent 90 conscious minutes trapped while the emergency services worked to free him. In hospital we was placed into an induced coma and awoke three days later to find his legs had been amputated. He was just 17.

On a dismal afternoon and only 17 months after the surgery Billy ‘Whizz’ was back in a racing car driving at 150mph to compete at the very same track and took time between practise laps to be photographed by me and interviewed by Rebecca Clancy.

He now races a Carlin Formula 3 car with ambitions to one day compete in Formula 1 and has met and received the support of his idol Lewis Hamilton who contributed to a fund that has raised £840,000. Modifications have been authorised and made to his car that enable him to operate gear changes and throttle from the steering wheel while he brakes using a prosthetic right leg. A unique hand operated clutch as been added to enable his starts from the grid.

Billy says he is mentally stronger since the accident though he is still working hard to regain his previous fitness. He is seen as inspirational by many people which at only 19 he says he finds a ‘big deal’. As for his race at Donington he says “I’ll just focus on trying to win”.

 

Billy Whizz returns to Donington Park, the circuit where an horrific crash resulted in the amputation of his legs.

Billy’s stearing wheel has been specially adapted to incorporate throttle and gear padels.

Billy back to full throttle at Donington Park.

Billy with sister, Bonny as he returns to Donington Park, the circuit where an horrific crash resulted in the double amputation of his legs.

 

All text and images ©copyright Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

Women in football

The Times has just published an excellent feature by Alyson Rudd on women in football that centres on female directors of Premier League clubs. My portrait of Huddersfield Town operations director, Ann Hough was prominently used over the two page feature entitled ‘Powerful women who sit at the top table in man’s world‘.

When photographing Ann in the impressive John Smith’s Stadium I was struck by her blue loafers which I assumed she was wearing for the photographs being the club’s colour. Actually, it was coincidence. Still, a nice touch which is why she has her feet up in the picture. We added a club scarf just to emphasise where we were. I used a short telephoto lens with very wide aperture to isolate her and introduce some splashes of out of focus colour in the background. Off-camera flashes from left and behind lift the heavy shadows and give rim light to her hair.

The other women in football featured are Michelle Walder of Brighton & Hove Albion photographed by my old friend Marc Aspland, The Times Chief Sport Photographer and Denise Barret-Baxendale of Everton F.C.

 

Ann Hough, Operations Director at Huddersfield Town FC in the club

Ann Hough, Operations Director at Huddersfield Town FC in the club’s stadium. ©Copyright Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

The Times cutting showing Ann Hough, Operations Director at Huddersfield Town FC in the club

 

 

World Cup Portraits (Part 1)

More editorial photography and portraiture here. In the run up to the World Cup I shot a number of footballers including a couple of England team profile pieces for The Times. At that time we didn’t know how prominently Liverpool F.C’s captain, Jordan Henderson and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire would feature but both have proven themselves essential selections in Gareth Southgate’s squad. I photographed Jordan at Loughborough University where he took part in a training day with students. These editorial photography commissions are often demanding as time and options are limited. It is essential to know one’s cameras and lighting inside out and be constantly looking for an opportunity to provide a good choice of shots that illustrate the story while hopefully producing something creative and a bit different. You really can’t afford to fiddle and faff with bits of kit while your subject is being grabbed by all and sundry demanding selfies. I covered Jordan’s training session on a long lens then had a few minutes to set up some lighting in the goal mouth while I had his full attention. Later I shot him in the gym using a short telephoto 85mm lens with a very wide aperture to isolate him from the gym paraphanalia whilst introducing some splashes of colour. Finally, after the Times interview I was only able to shoot him in a meeting room. So, faced with a near empty room save for a white board, table and chairs I set about trying something a bit more creative. Here he is lit by a flash to left while another flash with a red gel is directed onto the wall behind him. A third flash is firing at the lens and a starburst filter gives the……er, starburst effect. Jordan wanted to see what I was up to and declared the shot…. “very cool”.

Liverpool FC Captain and England player, Jordan Henderson. ©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

Harry Maguire was also photographed on a visit from his club, this time to his old school in Chesterfield. Something must be in the school water as his two brothers are both ex pupils and professional footballers. Again, there was a fun skills test which produced this lovely shot of a hug from Harry which The Times used nicely over seven columns.

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire visits his old school in Chesterfield. ©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

Cutting of The Times showing Harry Maguire with children

 

Later, I spent a little time with Harry using the school lockers and classrooms as backgrounds. He even managed to show his skills in the school quadrangle while a PR tried to keep up holding a flash for me.

 

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire.

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire on a visit to his old school, St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield. ©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire on a visit to his old school, St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield. ©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire on a visit to his old school, St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield. ©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire

©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire

©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire

©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

 

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire

Leicester City and England player, Harry Maguire (second from left) on a visit to his old school with sister, Daisy and brothers Laurence and Joe, also professional footballers. ©Michael Powell / michaelpowell.com

The Japan team had an agonising defeat last week at the hands of Belgium. One member of the team, Shinji Okazaki is a familiar player to followers of the Premier League. The Leicester City player appeared three times in the finals. Here’s my previous post featuring my portrait of Shinji as used in The Sunday Times.