Remembering Diana

20 years ago today I was awoken to the news that Diana,Princess of Wales had tragically died in a car crash in Paris France,with her new partner,Dodi Fyaed.DSC00019

Like everyone in the world at the time,I was struck with grief,I’d found it disappointing that her marriage to Prince Charles had failed, but her death was really something else to take in and still to this day it hits hard.

At the time I was freelancing photography to my local and regional newspapers, that also gave me access to worldwide agencies, via a new service, they called it “Wire”

I had to go back to work the following Monday,but still carried my cameras everywhere I went, this was in the days of film and my camera of choice was my trusty Nikon F4,I also had a Nikon F90xpro as a backup too.

Picture opportunities on a local level now became my point of interest, the loss of such an iconic person as Diana,meant that opportunities as a working freelancer would be in abundance, all I had to do was find the pics, then Boom,came the inspirational moment.

A bridge across the river Tees in Thornaby near Stockton on Tees had been named the Princess Diana Bridge,and working in the area gave me the opportunity to get there and look for the pictures.

It didn’t take long, flowers in tribute being laid, people crying in public, such was the out pouring of grief, it was felt throughout the country,I myself feeling the grief, just decided to get the pictures, concentrate on getting the pictures, concentrate on what was happening in front of me, but…get the pictures, then the worst happened.

Members of the public spotting me getting photos inspired outrage, the International press had created outrage at press photographers getting pictures and I faced almost a “lynch mob” who threatened me, pushed me around and threatened me with being thrown over the bridge into the river below,I now felt fear, the publics thoughts on Photographers,especially at this time must have reached an all time low and I now feared for my own safety.

I managed to get away after shooting a roll or two of my fuji Superia and headed to the newsdesk to process what I had shot and get these images onto the “wire service”

I took a long look then at the work of freelancers, staffers,and came to the conclusion of packing it all in as a press, freelance tog, perhaps it wasn’t worth it, until my picture editor said..accept it,shit happens, the whole country is in mourning, tomorrow is another day, now can you get me some more? Tomorrow is another day, and life goes on.

The image you see is from one of my 35mm negs, its 20 years old so suffering damage, but it’s the picture that went worldwide as a young lad in his Middlesbrough football shirt prayed in front of the floral tributes with his parents.

If you’ve taken the time to read this to the end,I’d like to thank you, it’s a lot longer post than I like to make on my blog, and I know it’s not my little D70s related post, but something that’s still at the heart of me a photographer, and what I’ve done in the past.

Thanks for reading,I welcome your comments below

Ritch

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