Iconic images are what you expect when you see the work of someone like Lee Thompson, and he doesn’t disappoint. Lee was there and photographed Colonel Gaddafi’s corpse. This interview provides and amazing insight to Lee’s work. Enjoy 🙂
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Lee Thompson, I am 29 years old. I’m a London based freelance photographer and my main two clients are The Sun and Christian Aid. I’ve been working as a photographer for eleven years and my job takes me all over the world.
What made you get into photography?
My Father was a very keen amateur photographer so from an early age this inspired me to take it up as a hobby. I got my first SLR camera when I was 16 and took it everywhere I went.
How did you get started?
After finishing school I did a BTEC course in photography at Mid-Cheshire College in Northwich. I went out and shot everything from protests to homeless people and my work landed me a job at my local newspaper, the Chester Chronicle. I went on to work at the Chester Evening Leader before moving to Bristol and working for South West News Service. It wasn’t long before someone recommended me for regular shifts at The Sun newspaper and I have done this for the last five years.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I cover news and features for The Sun newspaper which can be anything from photographing a celebrity to covering more serious stories like the Revolution in Libya. This year I have been to 14 different countries including Japan for the Tsunami, Egypt and Libya for the Revolutions and Turkey for the recent earthquake. I also work for Christian Aid which normally involves me going to different parts of Africa with a celebrity.
What gear are you using?
I use two Canon 5D MK11 cameras with various lenses including a 24-105 f4, 70-200 2.8 and a 300 2.8 plus many other bits and pieces.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Probably my new 70-200 MK11 lens which has to be one of the sharpest zoom lens around.
How are you marketing yourself?
Despite doing regular work for The Sun I’m always marketing myself with Twitter @snapperlee and Facebook. I also have a blog http://leethompsonphotography.co.uk/blog/
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
I took this photograph of Colonel Gaddafi’s corpse with the bodies of his son Muatassim and his ex-defence minister Abu Bakr Younis in a fridge in Misrata, Libya. After hearing of the news of Gaddafi’s death I was in Libya by the following morning but never expected to see his body. I waited for people to leave the fridge to get a clear shot but to my annoyance the man to the right of the picture kept waving his hands telling me to get out quickly due to disease – and although I thought he’d ruined it I think it makes the picture. Due to how dark the fridge was I took about ten frames at 20th of a second at 6400 ISO and one was sharp!
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
All through my career people have been saying that press photography is finished as an industry and that you can’t get in to it anymore, don’t listen to them! You can and it’s just as good as it ever was. My advice is to get on to a local newspaper as a trainee as soon as possible. Also – contact photographers in the business and get as much work experience as you can.