Dean O'Brien's Blog

Day 15: Working at the Coventry Telegraph 12/05/11

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Its an early start this morning.  I am meeting Joe Bailey outside Coventry Crown Court to get a ‘snatch shot’.  This is quite important as the subject is up for quite a nasty crime against two women.  Unfortunately jobs such as this never guarantee a shot and in this case the defendant manages to get into court without being captured on camera by either of us.  Both I and Joe are gutted and all I can do is put it down to experience.  I really wanted to get this shot.  We miss the main subject and in all honesty I blame myself.  If I had not been there Joe would have got him I’m sure.  I can only put it down to experience and something which I will learn from, but I think this will haunt me.

It makes me think of the quote by Reinhold Niebuhr ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’.

We accept defeat and head back to the office.


We are meeting reporter Sandish Shoker at a farm in Allesley to photograph 83 year old Roy Pearce.  Roy had open heart surgery and a pacemaker fitted yet still insists on keeping busy with his rural tasks and gardening jobs.  Joe has a chat with Roy which places him at ease and describes the type of shots which he wants.  The shots are based around Roy’s enthusiasm for gardening and Joe gets them just before it starts to rain.  Job done, we pack up and head off to the next job.


I assist Joe Bailey shooting the Broadgate area in Coventry city centre which is undergoing redevelopment.  Although there is quite a lot of media attention here, Joe talks directly to the person in charge and starts to take control of how he wants his image set.  A small crane is moved in front of the Godiva statue so that it frames the workers underneath it.  The composition of the image starts to come together nicely.  Joe shoots wide on this one to get everyone in and include all the elements.  Although this took around ten minutes to set up, it was well worth it.  Back at the office I look at the images on the screen and see that it pays to step back and think that little bit more when shooting.


I head to the Transport Museum in the city centre where I am to photograph two ladies who celebrate 60 years of friendship next month.  This time Joe Bailey will be shadowing me and giving me pointers.  The shoot will be outdoors and as usual I look to where the light is coming from.  I decided to shoot on the spiral walkway above Millenium Place.  This has planty of curves and ‘lead in’ lines.  I set my camera up and check to ensure that my main focal point is the ladies and not the path or anything else in the frame.  From a creative point of view I feel that this is one of my strongest images that I have taken whilst working at the paper.

Walking back Joe gives me some feedback on how I am doing so far.  He seems impressed with my people skills which he says is half the battle in this job.  It’s a boost as it makes me feel that I am suited to the job.


I am requested to take an image of the front of JJB Sports in Hertford Street in the city centre.  The store has recently closed down so I need to take a few images of the front of the store.  Although this may not sound like the most artisitic of shoots I remember what Joe told me very early on when started here.  He told me never to think ‘Oh that will do, be as creative and artistic as you can’.  I place myself at an angle at take a couple of portrait and landscape images.  The only problems encountered were people loitering in front of the store whilst I was attempting to take the image.  It was just a case then of waiting for the right moment.   Although the store front was in a slightly shaded area I refrained from using flash as it was bouncing back off the sign above the store.  Bearing in mind that the sign above the door was obviously a key part of the image.  I bumped up the iso on the camera and this brightened things up nicely without any unwanted glare.  I head back to the office to upload the images.


Another busman’s holiday.  I’m back at Coventry University for the opening of a new block by the Lord Mayor.  I attend this with photographer Joe Bailey and reporter Cara Simpson.  We get kitted out with hard hats and hi-vis vests.  We are to do the shoot quite high up on top of a building being built.  It’s windy and starting to rain.  Cara tells us about her fear of heights and decides not to venture to the very top of the building.  Luckily Cara can conduct her interview on the lower floors whilst the main shoot will be on top of the building.  Before the shoot takes place we have to wait for the speeches to end.  Whilst here I see a familiar face.  Alison Bushnell is here who I know from the university.  Alison is the  External Press and Media Relations Officer at the university and we have a quick chat.  She seems very pleased that I am doing so well at the paper.

Once the speeches are finished we go to the very top of the building to get the shoot done.  Its windy and the shoot needs to be taken reasonably quick before the weather turns.  Joe decides who he wants in the image and goes about setting up the shot.  The main problem that he encountered here was other photographer’s getting in the way.  Joe spends the time setting up the shot and placing people in a certain order and then battles for comfortable space to take the shots.  However, it all goes well in the end and we head off.

Back at the office I check the paper and see that I have had another image printed.  It is of Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman.  It’s been a great week again here at the paper and I’m already looking forward to next week.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

May 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

One Response

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  1. Hello Dean is the exhibition at the glass gallery still going on this month?
    Please reply. Thanks Chris

    Chris Alford

    June 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

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