Exclusive! Roger Bamber: out of the ordinary
Twice British Photographer of the Year; twice News Photographer of the Year
TopFoto is now the outright owner of the late Roger Bamber’s photographic archive, a photographer whose career spanned the golden age of photojournalism continuing into the 21st Century.
2015 marked Roger Bamber’s 50th year as a leading photojournalist. He landed his first Fleet Street job on the day he arrived in London with his student portfolio in 1965. In those days the Daily Mail was a broadsheet and they signed him up to cover news and features. He was 20 years old.
Four years later in 1969 he was poached to join the launch team of Rupert Murdoch’s new idea – the tabloid Sun newspaper. He stayed for 19 years, covering war, rock and pop, hard news and features all over the world.
The tabloid formula eventually became too constricting. In 1988 he left to go freelance and worked for The Independent, The Observer and a host of magazines. But most importantly he became a regular contributor to The Guardian which showcased his work so regularly that he was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from the University of Brighton “for his distinguished photo- journalism and the wealth of images of Brighton inspired by the city”.
His work brought him a clutch of accolades, including twice Photographer of the Year (once for a Sun portfolio and once for a set of Guardian pictures – a double thus far not repeated by anyone else...), twice News Photographer of the Year and he couldn’t remember how many times he’d been Features and Arts Photographer of the Year but knew it was more than 11.
The unifying element in all his work is his distinctive graphic style, wry humour and boundless originality, all of which worked across the broad range of publications he filled with punchy pictures which made people think and look twice.
Just before he died, Roger Bamber finished his fascinating autobiography with a foreword by Eammon McCabe.