Sunday, 6 July 2008

Making headlines

I was driving westbound along the M8 on Sunday evening after my shoot with Kaz when I noticed a fairly huuuuuge plume of smoke just as I approached the Riddrie exit. I'm not normally the rubbernecking type, but I indulged myself on this occasion, probably in large part because I had a bagful of camera gear next to me.

It turned out to be a disused school building in Provanmill that was ablaze. My first shots were a bit nondescript, but I decided to try and get closer. I guess they don't have many DSLR users down that way, because the crowd was pretty convinced I was from the press, especially the massed kids. "Whit paper ye fae, mister?" "Take mah picture!" Despite their attention, I ran off about 150+ shots, and I had a gut feeling they were OK.

When I got back home, I googled around quickly and found a telephone number for the Evening Times, one of the big newspapers in Glasgow. They forwarded me on to the pictures desk, who recommended that I sift out my best three or four and e-mail them over. I figured I didn't have anything to lose, but to be honest, I didn't have my hopes up. The pictures desk is probably swamped with people like me every day, many of whom will have better talent, better equipment, and better fortunes than me.

Well, I never heard anything until about 3pm, when a man from the Manchester Evening News called. The Evening Times had used the image, but they now needed my permission to syndicate it to the Daily Mirror, one of Britain's biggest selling tabloids (the MEN apparently does that kind of thing). I kept my cool, said sure, and then jumped onto the Evening Times website double-quick. There were my photos! One, two, three, and... is that the fourth one? On the front page? Turns out that some moron kids had been throwing stones at the firemen when they first arrived, elevating a routine blaze into a front page story. And front page stories need photos.

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