Monday, July 23, 2007

Royal Profile: Tim Graham

Tim Graham has been photographing the royal family over 30 years. He may not be as well known a photographer as Patrick Lichfield or Snowdon . And you may not recognize him but, chances are, if you follow the royal family, you've seen his work.

He started his career working as an assistant in a Fleet Street picture agency and slowly started taking over photographic assignments, including the royal family. However, his career as a royal photographer got off to a shaky start when he covered the Queen Mother's arrival at an engagement. He had shown up early to get a prime position. and 'as she stepped from her car and I went to take the picture, I found to my dismay that my flash did not fire. My not-very-well-stifled grown alerted the Queen Mother and she stopped to ask if I would like to take another shot. I was eighteen years old, just started in the job, and it is an incident I have never forgotten.' He worked for several years on Fleet Street, and after three years as a staff photographer with the Daily Mail, he left to become a freelancer in 1978.

A love of travelling sparked his interest in photographing the royal family. In 1968 he covered the first of many royal tours, when the Queen and Princess Anne visited Austria. Since then he has traveled with the royal family to over a hundred countries. His photographs have appeared in every major magazine, newspaper, on stamps, TV documentaries, posters, and he has won on several occasions, the Martini award for best royal photograph of the year. Such is his reputation that he has been invited to take official photographs. In 1982 he took the official 18th birthday photographs of Prince Edward, and in 1983 the Prince and Princess of Wales chose him to photograph them with Prince William ahead of their Australian tour. In 1987 he took the official photograph's of Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip for their 40th wedding anniversary.

More recently he was invited by the Queen, in her Golden Jubilee year, to photograph her and the other six reigning monarchs of Europe at Windsor Castle. This photograph was historic as it is only the second time in a hundred years that such a gathering has taken place. He considers this photograph to be the most difficult he has ever taken: ‘Dreading the prospect of having to direct Your Majesty and His Majesty and Her Majesty, I was relieved to find that, having had such photographs taken on countless occasions during their reigns, the monarchs needed very little directing.'

He is the author of several books, including: On the Royal Road - A decade of photographing the Royal Family, Diana - H.R.H The Princess of Wales, In Private, In Public: The Prince and Princess of Wales, Jubilee - A Celebration of 50 years of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. His book Diana, Princess of Wales A Tribute and William to mark the Prince's 21st birthday have been on the best-seller lists.

He lives in London with his wife Eileen and his two children, Lucy and Tom.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

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