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The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards : Chairman's Awards Winners

Only a few have received the Chairman's Award and it's a group of professionals who are legends amongst us. Phil Coburn was the first to recipient and set the bar high. His dedication to our industry cannot be questioned.

He has been joined along the way by Joan Sisley, Horst Faas, Kent Gavin, Paul Delmar, Richard Young and Kenny Lennox.

This year the award went to two more who have spent a life time in our industry and have contributed many a free hour to the success of the Guild and these awards

Bob Kirwin, The Times

Bob Kirwin started life as a freelance photographer recording the London night life in the 1970s.

He moved into picture editing for the Argus South African group of newspapers then to the Associated Press where he was deputy to the legendary picture editor and photographer Horst Faas.

He moved onto the Daily Mail before moving to Frankfurt in 1985 where he setup and headed EPA, Europe's first European news photo agency.

He then joined The Times in 1989 as deputy Picture Editor and then picture editor stayed there in senior management roles until his retirement.

Truly a lifetime devotion to our industry and a lifelong supporter of the UK Picture Editor's Guild.

Dave Ofield, Evening Standard

Dave Ofield started as a messenger for picture agency Sport and General, followed by Barratts Photo Press as a photographer and then onto became Picture Editor for Sport and General and London News service before moving to the Daily Star when the paper launched.

In 1987 he joined The Evening Standard as Picture Editor and remained in that role until 2016 serving under six Editors.

He retired last after thirty years as picture editor of the Evening Standard. An achievement I think it would be hard to imagine being repeated in today's climate and uncertainty.

He built a team of award winning photographers including Jeremy Selwyn, Cavan Pawson and Dave Benett .

Famous for his calm exterior despite the uncertainty of the situation with deadlines looming Dave recalls to colleagues "It's easy to get yourself into trouble but how you get out of it is the real skill". His relationship with photographers is unequalled and to quote long serving Standard photographer Jeremy Selwyn said "He's been tremendous''

Sometimes however things can go wrong. When Tony Blair was about to arrive to guest edit the paper the photographer assigned to cover could not be found. Phone calls to other photographers to attend in the office immediately proved fruitless - all the while making sure the Editor didn't know the problem!

Whilst maintaining a calm exterior blind panic was developing underneath so the pic desk sure shot came into play in the hands of Dave's number two. Jeremy Selwyn managed to get in before the end of conference to save the day but the sure shot picture published in the first edition. As Dave says "It's easy to get yourself into trouble but how you get out of it is the real skill".

Jeremy Selwyn says that the most common phrase Dave has said to them all when ringing in after a job is "is that it?"

He says he is also master at cutting off the phone and leaving the photographer talking to himself for five minutes!

There was also the time when Cavan Pawson was covering the gulf war and was unable to get embedded with the army so was instructed to "busk it".

In true Fleet St fashion, Cav hired a Toyota SUV welded a roof rack on for extra fuel and followed the British Army into Iraq from Kuwait.

When the vehicle was returned with the welded roof rack, no windscreen, four flat tyres and various dents in the bodywork the picture desk was presented with a bill near enough for a replacement vehicle. Somehow Dave managed to square it with the Standard's management.

"I've been very fortunate to have worked with some great photographers. I couldn't have done it without them."

All we can say to Dave and Bob is ''is that it?''

Ken Lennox

He is one of Britain's most respected press photographers with an illustrious career spanning 59 years, but one of Ken Lennox's earliest memories is being thrown out of the Scottish Daily Express building as an enthusiastic teenage photographer.

Ken was only 13 when he sold his first picture - a shot of a local barracks being demolished in Glasgow published across half a page in the Express, earning him his first byline and a fee of £13 10s - as much as his father earned in a week.

Enthused, Ken turned up at their offices every week with his latest offerings. Eventually he was barred from the building. "I was a bit of a pest!" he laughs today.

Undeterred Ken spent school holidays working for the Glasgow News Agency and when he reached 18 the Express realised what they had missed and offered him a staff job - the youngest photographer they had ever appointed.

Ken was soon given his own patch in Aberdeen and made his name photographing the Royal Family. He captured the first pictures of Princess Diana at Balmoral and the Queen Mother described him as her favourite photographer.

After moving to London he worked for the Express, Today, the Daily Star and the Daily Mirror, taking pictures amidst famines and in war zones, of the Royal Family, of celebrities and politicians - in fact, pick a major event of the last few decades and Ken was probably there!

He was named British Press Photographer of the Year four times and famously took the only shot of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher leaving Downing Street in tears. One of 300 photographers there to capture the moment, Ken noticed her briefly glance up to the window of her private office and flinch when she saw her staff looking down crying.

As she climbed into her car, Ken dropped down from his ladder. He recalls: "As the car started to move forward she leaned forward for a last look. I got one frame. If I hadn't known her and noticed that little flinch, I wouldn't have got off the ladder."

Time Magazine have called it one of the 20th Century's greatest images, though it wasn't to everyone's taste...

When the official biography of Margaret Thatcher came out, the publishers contacted Ken asking if they could use the picture on the back cover. Ken was invited to the book launch and, surprised to see the picture hadn't been used, asked Mrs Thatcher why not. She replied earnestly: "Mr Lennox, what photo?"

"The one with a little tear in your eye," he explained.

"Over my dead body, Mr Lennox!" she replied.

Ken has never shied away from controversy; being sued by Michael Jackson after taking the shocking images showing the condition of the singer's face after extensive cosmetic surgery.

But his personal career highlights were taking the pictures that made a difference to the world. He convinced Bob Geldof to visit Ethiopia, his subsequent photos of Bob surrounded by starving children proving some of the most iconic images from the Band Aid era.

He photographed ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Lenny Henry in a run-down African hospital to highlight the work of Comic Relief, the Russian Coup in 1991 and spent several months embedded with the British Army during the first Gulf War.

Ken's passion and determination to get the best possible picture he could was legendary. When it was announced he was to join the Sun as its Picture Editor, two of the photographers discussed the appointment.

"Is he any good?" asked one.

"Well, he thinks he is." the other replied!

Ken stayed at News International from 1993 to 2000, first at The Sun and then as Executive Picture Editor of the News of the World, before picking up his cameras once more, this time as a freelance photographer.

Awarded an honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2010, Ken is still freelancing today, taking pictures for a variety of clients, including Ernst & Young Global, Blue Rubicon, Lexis, Mischief, Vauxhall and Highland Spring. He also lectures on photography on cruise ships and at local photography colleges and works as an advisor for the Royal Photographic Society.

Still as hard-working and enthusiastic as ever, he even recently agreed to be the first prize in a photography competition organised by an Italian beer company, offering a one-to-one personalised mentoring session.

Though as Ken said afterwards to the winner, with his usual self-deprecating sense of humour: "I bet you'd rather have won the second prize of a crate of beer eh?"

Richard Young

Richard Young is considered to be the forefather of celebrity photography.

Celebrating 40 years in photography this year as both a portraitist and photojournalist, his unerring ability to capture the moment and present a candid, inside view into the world of celebrity has resulted in iconic images in publications throughout the world.

When Richard Burton celebrated his fiftieth birthday at a party organized by Elizabeth Taylor his party was gatecrashed by this man.

Richard has been the subject of documentary tv series, had a multitude of exhibitions and is the creator of two million images the latest of his four books RY40 is scheduled to be published this year.

Paul Delmar

Starting out as a press photographer in 1961 with the Dudley Herald and then to County Express in the West Midlands it wasn't until a move to the Birmingham Post and Mail in 1972 saw Paul Delmar start become prominently know among his Fleet Street contemporaries. At the Post and Mail Paul covered many of the Foreign assignments across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

His iconic shot of a young Margaret Thatcher carrying a portrait of Ted Heath under her arm after she deposed him as leader of The Conservative Party has been used and reused, even by Lady Thatcher herself.

However it was not until he put his cameras to one side in 1979 did Paul's effect on national and international photojournalism begin to really show. He took up a post in Sheffield to train photographers.

Take a look around the picture desks of every national newspaper and international wire service, not to mention the regional agencies and newspapers where you will be hard pushed to find someone, a picture editor or photographer, who hasn't been through his lessons.

His extensive knowledge and enthusiasm made it easy for him to convey the real lessons of being a jobbing photographer to his eager students.

His motto "Never assume anything" still rings loud in the ears of many of us. The frustration of watching him literally tear a lovingly made print into small piece before your eyes only for the remaining part of the picture to be better than what you started with was a valuable lesson about cropping and not getting emotionally attached to your own images. He concentrated on catching his students out at every opportunity, making them street wise and aware so that when they started their careers they were really ready to face the daily battles of securing images in their publications and were always one-step ahead of their rivals.

With close ties to Kodak, Nikon, Canon an Fuji he was able to show his students the very latest technology even before many newspapers shot in colour or went digital, he truly was ahead of the game at every level .

Since retiring from position of Head of Photojournalism two years ago Paul's role has been taken on by former students to ensure his legacy to the industry continues.

Paul has been honoured by the Royal Photographic Society and Nikon for his commitment to raising the standard of training for newspaper photographers

"In the first week he made press photography sound like the most exciting job on the planet, I was hooked."
Eddie Keogh

"Paul Delmar holds a truly unique place in British photojournalism. His importance to countless young photographers and the warmth of our appreciation to him in return can never be under estimated."
David Boyle

"Paul was a fantastic motivater and its because of his enthusiasm and support during the course that provided me with the job I love to this day. "
Richard Ponter, Scarborough News

"Paul shaped the lives and careers of press photographers everywhere, an inspiring and unique teacher. "
Ceri Oakes

"Paul's encouragement and incredible enthusiasm gave me the kick-start I needed to get into this industry."
Leon Neal, AFP staff photographer (London)

Kent Gavin

Kenneth George Gavin ( I will explain later), did his National Service in the RAF from 1959-1961, realised that he was never going to make the grade as a professional footballer and play for his beloved Arsenal, being born just a stones throw away from Arsenal's ground in Highbury it was his and thousands of other young boys dream in those days back in the 1920's(only kidding Gavers) to play for the team they supported, although of course according to young Kenneth he was very close to signing schoolboy forms for them.

After football his next love was photography so, in 1961 he started to freelance for Keystone Press then latterly as a staff photographer for them. It was whilst working for Keystone that he met the Daily Mirror's legendary Picture Editor Simon Clyne,whom picture edited the paper for 18 years from 1950 until his retirement in 1968, it was January 1965 and in the previous year Kenneth had bombarded Mr Clyne with pictures,portfolios and letters requesting a staff job on The Mirror, these days I think it might be called harassment ! In March 1965 Kenneth was sent on e Royal Tour of Ethiopia and The Sudan for Keystone. The Mirror sent their royal photographer Freddie Reed on the same tour, however on that tour Freddie became ill with gall stone problems and was sent home by the Queen's doctor no less. The Mirror published virtually all of Kenneth's pictures from the tour, on returning from the trip Kenneth contacted Simon Clyne reminding him that the Mirror had used all his pictures, he was then invited back to the Mirror offices to see Mr Clyne, Kenneth George Gavin was then offered a staff job at The Mirror being told by Simon Clyne that "It looks like you have the job by Royal Appointment"

Whilst Kenneth was was working his notice period at Keystone he received a call from Simon Clyne asking if he could cover an England v Scotland international football match at Wembley, the Mirror the next day run a spread of pictures with a byline 'Pictures by Mirror cameraman Kent Gavin', Kenneth of course was delighted with the spread but contacted Mr Clyne to query the byeline, to be told "Don't worry lad, I have changed it,Kenneth Gavin is too long,Ken is too short, everybody will remember the name Kent Gavin, Kenneth replied "imon, with a staff job you can call me what you like" and I suspect over the years he probably did, so the legend that is Kent Gavin was born.

So began one of the most illustrious careers on Fleet Street, Gavers worked for the Mirror as a staff photographer for 39 years, for eighteen of those years under quite possibly the greatest picture editor of them all Len Greener, a formidable team, Gavers retired as a staff photographer in 2004, his retirement party held in the trophy room at The Arsenal Stadium of course,was attended by the great and the good including his great friend Joan Collins whom had photographed countless times over the years.

Gavin is possibly the most un-retired retired person of all time , freelancing regularly still to this day for The Mirror, still pestering me for assignments (especially if it involves the word Arsenal) as he did all those years ago to Simon Clyne, despite being the winner of 143 photographic awards including, British Press Photographer of the Year(four times, Royal Photographer of the Year(seven times)Royal Photographer of the Decade (twice),World Press News Feature Photographer of theYear,Ilford News picture of the Age at 25th Anniversary Photographic awards, despite all these he is till as enthusiastic as he has ever been, it is a great privilege for me to have worked with him, I am sure he will be thrilled and honoured by tonights events, surely now, more so than ever he must have a trophy room bigger than his beloved Arsenal's. Gavers have a great night, and yes, you can do Southampton away in January.

A tribute to Kent Gavin from Daily Mirror Assistant Editor (pictures) Ian Down

Joan Sisley

Joan Sisley holds a niche position in the world of the visual media and photographic industry generally.She has worked in the media for more than fifty years, first as an award-winning journalist, then crossing over to the picture world .Joan was the first woman to be invited to belong to the profession's own UK Picture Editors' Guild.

She joined the Guild nearly thirty years ago and was awarded an honorary membership four years ago.Over the years she has held several offices within the Guild, including being vice-chairman and chairman of associate members. At present she is a committee member and social secretary.

She has lectured on the power of pictures in the media, held master-classes for both American and British universities and been on the judging panel for major photographic competitions

A former newspaper award-winning features writer she worked for several years with the Kentish Times Group and went on to become a group features editor for its ten regional papers - a new role created for her. During that time she pioneered a regional arts council theatre group and arts centre and a Rural Theatre Guild with her paper sponsoring an annual Oscars for the best productions and performances within the county.With the encouragement of her managing editor she was also instrumental in forming an early example of town-twinning with a town in Germany. She always had a strong sense of how photographers should play a bigger part in the life of a paper and developed their work to illustrate features and major stories.

She won best-feature award for the South of England organised by the NUJ ,which offered as part of its prize a stint on a national paper, but remained working in the county of Kent until her two children became older

And then, deciding to face the commute, she took up a position in-house within The Post Office as a feature writer for the company,and was later promoted to head up the Features Bureau.

When the government utility split into the Post office and British Telecom,she joined the latter and became one of its few women executives , (rare at the time )with a role that included responsibility for the chairman's visual media profile.Her department was highly involved in handling the visual coverage during the privatisation period.

She always had a vision of how the visual would become all-important in the future and went on to set up a new picture department within corporate relations, and became its first picture editor- a newly created post. This was a pioneering venture that sought to set up direct links between corporate life and the visual media which broke through many barriers .The integrated picture programme with supporting libraries- and later its own commercial arm Telefocus - formed links with European libraries and institutions and led the way, becoming the recognised corporate definitive.During this time she was invited by the EPA to organise a high-level exhibition in London of 50 years of Europe in Pictures, with eight European countries providing pictures and attended by their diplomatic staff, including ambassadors.

While in this role and with the encouragement of the Chairman, she was instrumental in enlisting B T sponsorship for the revival of the premiere Press Photographer of the Year awards which had been dust-gathering for a decade. She had the distinction of being awarded the British Institute of Professional Photography's sole Presidential Award for two years in succession because of her work in this revival.

Horst Faas

Legendary photographer and picture editor Horst Faas was a passionate and enthusiastic member of the UK Picture Editors Guild.

His career spread over many years and three decades were spent in war zones around the world such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Born in Berlin, Germany, Faas began his photographic career in 1951 with the Keystone Agency, and by the age of 21 he was already covering major events concerning Indochina, including the peace negotiations in Geneva in 1954.

In 1956 he joined the Associated Press (AP), where he acquired a reputation for being an unflinching hard-news war photographer, covering the wars in Vietnam and Laos, as well as in the Congo and Algeria. In 1962, he became AP's chief photographer for Southeast Asia, and was based in Saigon until 1974.

His images of the Vietnam War won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1965. In 1967 he was severely wounded in the legs by a rocket-propelled grenade. In 1972, he collected a second Pulitzer, for his coverage of the conflict in Bangladesh. Inside Bangladesh, photographer Rashid Talukder considered it too dangerous to publish his photographs and he released them more than twenty years after Horst's photographs had appeared.

Faas is also famed for his work as a picture editor, and was instrumental in ensuring the publication of two of the most famous images of the Vietnam War. The notorious "Saigon Execution" photograph, showing the summary execution of a Viet Cong prisoner by Saigon police chief Nguyen Ngọc Loan, taken by Eddie Adams in Saigon on February 1, 1968 was sent under his direction.

Nick Ut's famous "Napalm Girl" photograph caused a huge controversy over at the AP bureau; an editor had objected to the photo, saying that the girl depicted was naked and that nobody would accept it. Faas ordered that Ut's photo be sent over the wire.

In September 1990, freelance photographer Greg Marinovich submitted a series of graphic photos of a crowd executing a man to the AP bureau in Johannesburg. Once again, AP editors were uncertain if the photos should be sent over the wire. One editor sent the images to Faas, who telegrammed back, "send all photos."

In 1976, Faas moved to London as AP's senior photo editor for Europe; he retired in 2004. In retirement he organised reunions of the wartime Saigon press corps and ran international photojournalism symposiums.

He produced four books on his career and other news photographers, including Requiem, a book about photographers killed on both sides of the Vietnam War, co-edited with fellow Vietnam War photojournalist Tim Page.

Phil Coburn

Phil Coburn, along with his Sunday Mirror writing partner Rupert Hamer were victims of an I.e.d.

Sadly Rupert lost his life and Phil lost his legs and broke his back in this tragic attack on them whilst they were embedded with US forces on assignment in Afghanistan.

After 4 months in hospital he returned to work.

Phil's determination to overcome adversity has seen him return to work at the Sunday Mirror as a photographer and continue to bring his skill to a variety of assignments for the Sunday Mirror.