May 1, 2012

Australian cricket

Shooting the PM

Philip Brown
 © Philip Brown
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Hello, my name is Philip Brown (please call me Philip), and I've been photographing cricket for a long time, well about 25 years, in fact. I'm really pleased that I've been asked to share some of my cricket images with you in Shot Selection in the coming months.

I first photographed cricket in Australia before I moved to England in 1989. I received a lesson in covering cricket when I was sent to my first Test match at the SCG in 1988. Chris Broad (Stuart's father) scored a century (139) but "lost it" after he was dismissed by Steve Waugh. He knocked over his stumps with his bat before leaving the field. I missed the photo, but the doyen of cricket photography, Patrick Eagar, a lovely bloke, captured this moment perfectly and was welcomed with open arms by my newspaper's picture editor back in the office. Patrick's images graced the pages of Sydney's Sunday Telegraph the following day. Lesson learnt, concentrate Philip!

This black-and-white image is from June 1989. I was covering the Ashes tour for newspapers back in Australia (including the Sunday Telegraph who must have forgiven my earlier incompetence). The tour started in early May and the Aussie team didn't leave the UK until the end of August so it was a long trip.

The second Test match against England was played at Lord's, and on the Saturday I spotted the then-Australian prime minister Bob Hawke watching proceedings from one of the tavern boxes.

Later, I saw him and his entourage leave the box so I raced down the stairs from my perch in the hope that I could get a photograph of Mr Hawke. I caught up with this group just as they entered the back door of the Lord's pavilion. I thought my best tactic was to march in with them as if I was part of this esteemed group. Before long we were all in the Australian dressing room while the Test match continued outside. Soon the prime minister was sitting out on the balcony with some of the players, and I moved out on to this very small balcony to take some photographs. Allan Border was padded up so I assume that he may have been the next man in.

AB appears nervous in the photo, but I think he was nervous about what Dean Jones would say to the PM rather than at having to bat against Foster, Dilley and Jarvis. I was bloody nervous too, imagining I would be "collared" and thrown out of the pavilion, and possibly the ground, at any moment.

The next day I remember there was a shot of the balcony featuring Hawke, the players and me on the front page of a UK national paper taken from about a hundred yards away so I was extremely confident that my exclusive "close-up" version would do well in the papers back in Australia. I didn't have to wait too long and saw the main Sydney paper the next time I visited the office - there was my photo, very small, on page 26. Page 26! Were they kidding? Page 26! It was about the size of a postage stamp.

I still really like the photo. I can't imagine any prime minister marching in to a dressing room and plonking himself down next to the captain for a chat during a Test match these days. Can you?

I don't have the exact details of this photo but I'm fairly sure that it was taken on a Nikon F3 (or an FE2) with a 50mm lens, probably taken at 1/500th of a second.

I sent a large print to Bob Hawke in Australia after the tour had finished and got a nice letter back. Now where is that letter?

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An Australian freelance cricket photographer based in England, Philip Brown has photographed over 150 Test matches around the world

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Posted by John on (May 16, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Good photo Philip. I was a spectator that day at Lords. Great memories of that game and of course the whole historic series.

Posted by David Wells on (May 4, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

Typifies Philip's insightful photography that always captures unique moments in the game, on or off the field wherever he is in the world.

Posted by Don Sobers on (May 1, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

it's a once in a lifetime shot - wonderful. AB's 'you know this bloke is prime minister?' look is great.

Posted by Don Sobers on (May 1, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

it's a once in a lifetime shot - wonderful. i love AB's 'you know this bloke is prime minister?' look.

Posted by Krishna on (May 1, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Priceless picture Philip. Can understand the nervousness of AB given that Dean Jones was doing the talking. Pictures like these justify the saying "Pictures speak a thousand words".

Posted by Bon on (May 1, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

nice

Posted by Pranesh on (May 1, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

Nice way to enter the dressing room Philip... I remember the 2007-08 Indian tour of Australia, the Australian PM walked in and chatted with the Indians. Anil Kumble was wearing training shorts, and it seemed very odd for some reason....

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Brown
An Australian freelance cricket photographer who has been based in England for over 20 years, Philip Brown has photographed over 150 Test matches and numerous one-day and T20 tournaments around the world. Possibly his proudest moment was winning a gold medal for barbecuing burgers and hot dogs at the Murrumbateman show.

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