Tom Daley

General

About 3 years ago I had the privilege and pleasure of photographing Tom whilst with the GB Diving Team in Rome at their warm weather training. During that time I chatted all too briefly to Tom over the two days I was there. I spent the time with the whole team and the coaches that were training for the Worlds and ultimately, the upcoming 2012 Olympics. 

Although Tom had no idea who I was, he took time out to chat to me, to welcome me and to ensure I got the pictures that I needed and wanted. At no time did anyone in the team make me feel anything other than part of their happy, fun and very hardworking environment. Tom was a perfect gentleman to his fellow team-mates, to the coaches and to the onlookers that probably invade his whole life. He even did a BBC Radio 5 Live interview on the mini-bus to the Hotel we were staying at. He was incredible, one minute a joker and the next the consummate professional at 17 years old, talking like he had been in the media all of his life. I guess in a way, he has.

What he has done today is sad and a terrible reflection on our society. Still we live with these crazy, petty prejudices that force even the likes of Tom, one so young, to ‘come out’ as gay, and have to bare his soul. It is none of our business. We shouldn’t care what he or anyone else does in their private lives. So he has a boyfriend. Good for him, I really and truly hope that he is happy with his lover. I for one will continue to love him for his dedication, commitment and flawless character in the face of extreme pressure. I am just so disappointed it matters and he felt the need to have to do it. 

I am sorry Tom that we have made you record that video. However, as always, you have done yourself enormous credit. Fantastic you have found happiness, fantastic that you are in love and well done you for doing it with such grace and class. 

And for no other reason than he is so beautiful here are a few of the pics I took whilst in Rome with the team.

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Tom Daley

General

Here below are our Top 6 most downloaded photographs of heart throb GB Diver Tom Daley from our website www.squashimagery.com

Most of these images were shot while the team were warm weather training in Rome at their fantastic outdoor diving facility.

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Pets eh?

General

I have often wondered why people get so attached to their little fluffy ‘Monty’, ‘Molly’ or in our case ‘Marmite’. Lets face it, these companions are at best a comfort, at worst a goddamn pain in the arse. They are SUCH a responsibility. They need feeding of course, walking maybe, special care, and above all a good home. We all think we provide them with that. After all, many animals live in far worse conditions. And don’t forget, they understand you, they need you and they give you undying love and attention don’t they? I said, don’t they? Well, if you have a dog, then I think I can just about give you that. However, any other flippin’ creature on this planet doesn’t give you love! They may subject themselves to being with you for a few minutes, hours or whatever in the day but please don’t mistake that for LOVE. Mostly its ‘cos they are bored and can’t think of anything better to do than be with us. We are the equivalent to TV for them. We are cheap but fairly low grade soap operas. Lord how they must chuckle at us. I mean, we even talk to them! Hahaha, have you ever heard yourself? You NUTTER!

So, there I am with these two bloody house Rabbits left pretty much on my own for three weeks when the normal troublesome one decides that it is going to have tooth trouble. Well, by that I mean that the stupid thing has teeth that grow inside its mouth to the point that it cannot eat. Really. Well, how ridiculous is that? We have to take it to the vets to have its front teeth ‘clipped’ and then 6 weeks later it needs the damn things done again. They grow as fast as these animals multiply!

Well, the vet questioned my motives and suggested that maybe I should consider having its teeth surgically removed. It would be kinder maybe? What? Taken out, how will it eat? It will apparently have no problems at all as they dont use their front teeth for anything other than picking things up. OK, says I, it will stop these hundreds of vet visits and stop the little chap from being so stressed all the time. Lets go for it.

Two days later and £160 lighter, I return to pick up my little darling. The rest of the family have long since deserted me to leave me alone to deal with this bunny crisis! Home I bring him. Only, he doesn’t eat. Or drink. Not for two days. The vets jab him with some chemical gut stimulant and still he doesn’t eat or drink. Back I take him, overnight they keep him. They are now force feeding the poor little guy syringes of ‘recovery’ feed. I get a call to come and pick him up AGAIN as he is now much brighter and much happier feeding greedily on carrot and broccoli. Now I knew there was trouble afoot when I heard that as he has NEVER eaten carrot or broccoli in his short but full little life! Sure enough, home he comes with his syringe and recovery feed and there he sits. Doing nothing. Eating and drinking nothing and me ‘force’ feeding him this green gunk. You may think ‘force’ feeding may be a bit of an exaggeration and that I gently encourage him to lap at this formula. However, I don’t know what else to call it when you grab said bunny, have a 5 minute fight with it while you wrap him in a towel and tip him upside down whilst wrestling a 5ml syringe of muck into his gob!! Needless to say, I think about 1ml of fluid actually gets anywhere near his throat and half of that he simply leaves to dribble its way out again all over me.

I have absolutely no way of knowing how on earth he is still alive as he seems to only nibble grass and dandelion leaves a bit and never drinks anything. However, he seems to be ok and although the vet tells me he MUST have very regular bowel movements (he doesn’t seem to but how the hell do I know?) he seems to have decided that he can, after all, tolerate his brother and they will get on for the time being!

Meanwhile, I am left to fret and worry myself every waking hour and dash down in the morning to see if the little fella is still with us. Do you think he gives a flying f**k? Not on your jeffin’ life does he. Does he give me anything back for all this stress, cost, love, care, tenderness etc I throw daily his way? Nope. But still, I do love him…awwww. He doesn’t need his teeth I read on the internet, bunnies can easily eat without their front ones. We will see. Mine hasn’t yet. Oh and to cap it all, while force feeding him just now guess what I see growing back through his little injured gums? Yeah, but don’t go there, I refuse to.

Anyway, in between these trips to vets, fights with bunny not wanting to feed etc I have knocked up this little portrait of Peter Waterfield taken right after his Gold Medal victory with Tom Daley at the Diving World Series 10m Platform in Sheffield last month. Slightly different treatment here but I liked it!

Peter Waterfield

Peter Waterfield while talking to press after winning Gold in Sheffield

Royal Wedding

General

It can’t be allowed to go by without a comment on the old blogeroonie. I didn’t travel to London to be with the crowds and watch the Royal event of the decade. I am not particularly for or against the Royals. We did however, watch the whole thing on the television and were left slightly overawed at all the ritual and pomp that surrounds such an event. The organisation, the expense, the beauty on show, has to make the whole thing a winner? Doesn’t it? I have to say that the whole day was made worthwhile by Pippa Middleton and her bridesmaid/Maid of Honour attire.

Pippa middleton

Pippa Middleton, grace and beauty

I realise that we at our little party were not the only males in the land secretly admiring her ‘simple’ dress. In fact, I have not known so many males in one room take quite such an interest in the fashion world before. Well done her, and well done pretty much everybody for a great day. My only little gripe about the whole proceedings is that I really do not like to be told by idiotic ‘guest’ presenters on the BBC that the nature of this wedding shows us that the ‘new’ Royals are much more like us and that it contained much less stuffiness and much less grandeur!! For goodness sake, it is what it is, a ridiculous display of enormous wealth and decadence, please do not insult us by trying to pretend that it is anything like what MY wedding will be like next year. It wasn’t, it isn’t and it never will be. After all, isn’t that the point?

Anyway, generally quiet week on the old photography side and much time has again been spent working on admin, marketing and site updates etc.

Please visit the Gallery here http://www.ellisimagery.co.uk/gallery_417198.html for all things Jessie J and Rene Woollard. Rene has also confirmed this week that we are on for the Olly Murs gig in a few weeks time in Bristol so that should be a good’un. He also said that we might even grab a few drinks after the show so that will be brill to spend time with him again. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the Elbow/Potter/Godin ad which will be in all good guitar mags in the next few weeks.

I sent off some pics to the Tom Daley TV  website so they might have a few pics up on their website, however, they already have some of the mightily talented Rogan Thomson’s up so there might be a bit of duplication in a couple of them!

Next week looks like being an interesting one from an Ellis Imagery standpoint so I will keep you posted as always. I leave you with the Edden Jones CD cover recently released following our great session a few months back…

Edden Jones

Edden Jones' "As you Were"

Top Class Hotels, Diving & Radio Shows

Photographs

It’s strange how life seems to go in full circles at times. The last couple of days have been rather mundane and unappealing with mucho processing, admin and general nose to grind stone kinda stuff. Then, all of a sudden, certain things creep out of no-where and vie for your attention when you least expect it.

Granted, processing is hardly one of those things that is likely to catch me unawares. So it was when the phone rang yesterday evening and a hugely pleasant and timely conversation was had with Huw from the massively successful and exclusive (truly) Old Rectory Hotel in North Devon, that I realised things were going to look up. Huw and Sam are truly lovely people from the old days, days when proprietors cared about their clientele. Really cared. They know that their success is based on proper customer service that leaves the receiver feeling warm, loved and ‘alive’. The brilliance of a stay at The Old Rectory is that they (Huw & Sam) don’t realise quite how fantastic they make you feel. And that is their secret. They work hard, love what they do and believe in the people that stay with them. It is therefore a massive privilege to be ‘their’ photographer and to be associated with them. We have booked a session mid-May to shoot the outside, the gardens and quite possibly the essence of what the whole experience of the Hotel really is, the two guys themselves!

The processing of the FINA World Diving Series became a little easier, the shots were not amazing but they were starting to show the beauty of world class diving. Athleticism, grace, poise and above all, brute strength and courage. To capture these qualities is a real treat and quite difficult to achieve. Upon looking at the 100’s of captures I realised that some, just a few images, captured the ‘feel’ I was after.

I then received another call from an old friend who was going to drop by this evening. We spent a lovely couple of hours chewing the cud before we went across the road to the mecca that is the itfm Radio studios to put out, live, the first pilot show of my Radio DJing career. Boy, what an addictive and amazing experience that was!  Total control of the jukebox (as it were) and total control of the mics. Mmmm….heaven can’t be this good! I think you will be hearing a lot more of Rich Ellis on itfm Internet Radio on Wednesday evenings 9-11pm. Hunt it down, guests will be a plenty…watch this space.

Tom Daley & Pete Waterfield

Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield on their way to Gold in the 10m Synchro FINA World Diving Series 2011 in Sheffield

10m Synchro Diving FINA World Series, Sheffield

Perfect harmony at the FINA World Series in Sheffield

FINA Diving

General

Thursday night I travelled up and stayed overnight with a friend halfway to Sheffield. The next venue for the FINA World Diving Series and my first visit to Ponds Forge the Sports Centre there. I arrived on Friday in plenty of time to become accustomed to the surroundings and was pretty impressed with the set-up and the way the facility looked. Especially as the whole area had been decked out and branded with up to 10m high banners made from my photo’s of some of the divers in Rome last year. They looked (although I say it myself!) pretty awesome.

It was great to bump into and chat (annoy) Rogan Thomson again, a great guy and photographer who is gonna go far in the sports photography arena. The action was brief but hectic with each afternoon semi-final being over in only 15mins or so. This meant getting into position and then shooting with no real chance to move about. As I have become accustomed, the background to the divers is invariably cluttered and its difficult to get separation from it. Light also is difficult and I guess this is a normal problem for sports ‘togs generally, but very much so indoors with minimal external light. We were shooting at 2000 iso and shutters of around 1/1000th sec which, believe it or not is not really high enough for diving. My 7D however just gets too noisy above this iso and therefore a compromise needs to be reached. I was also test driving a hired 300mm f2.8 which made for better shots but much harder camera skills were required. Most of the pro’s there were shooting with Nikon D3s and they are unquestionably less noisy than the Canon’s at those levels.

The evening session didn’t start until around 6ish and when Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield collected their excitingly won 10m Synchro Gold Medals the time was already 9:30pm. My friend and Diving’s High Performance Manager, Kim White was suitably delighted and the attending dignitaries suitably impressed. Well done to him and to Tom and Pete for an exceptional performance. The event was dominated generally by the chinese who do not fail to impress with their skill, precision and utter dedication.

On a side note it was also wonderful to see Monique (Gladding) looking so determined and excited to be getting back. Steve, Mon’s Coach and more importantly, husband, is easing her back gently but encouragingly and it seems it won’t be long before we see her on the competition trail again. It was great to see her carry the flag for the British team at the opening ceremony.

I got back to Oxford where I was staying almost dead on midnight and was glad to enjoy a steaming hot meal and smile when I got in!!

FINA Diving World Series

My images on the banners decorating the FINA diving event in Sheffield