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Staff Profile: Alain Lockyer

Alain Lockyer has been taking photographs at Somerset County Cricket Club since the 1970s.

Alain has been working for Somerset as the Club’s Official Photographer since early this century and even after 40 or more years, he still enjoys the job that he does.

“I started taking photographs at Somerset at about the same time as Ian Botham began his career with the Club,” he said. “I remember when he got his first sponsored car, which was a Triumph TR7. I took a photograph of him in it.

“I started off taking photographs while I was freelancing at the Gazette, where staff photographer Les Charrett taught me a great deal. I then joined Somerset News as the photographic partner and worked with reporters Basil Trump and Richard Briers when we were based at HTV at the High Street in Taunton. They also taught me a lot.

“We did work for all the national newspapers, TV and foreign desks. In fact we worked for all of them and were under contract.

“Photography has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world taking photographs and had a very good life doing what I have always wanted to do. I guess that I’ve been one of the lucky ones, doing a job I love.

“Being a photographer has meant that I have met lots of interesting people and had the opportunities to experience things that I probably would not have done, like flying in fighter planes and helicopters.”

Alain is a Taunton boy but it’s hardly surprising that he became a photographer as he explained. “My father was a photographer in a recon jeep for part of the Second World War,” he said. “He met my mother, who was Belgian, going through Brussels on his way to Berlin and he came back for her.

“When I said I wanted to be a photographer she said ‘no, you are going to get a proper job,’ and promptly fixed up an interview for me with the MOD, where I spent a few years until I started working in newspapers.

“I began as official photographer in the early 2000s, since when things have changed a lot. When I first started taking photographs, part of Dave Pipes Greyhound track was still in situ around the outside of the field and everybody sat road the boundary edge in their own deck chairs. The office was a Western National Bus and the Old Pavilion had the player dressing rooms at either end.

“It was difficult doing sports photography when I first started. I used a Rolliflex, which didn’t have a telephoto lens and the only way that you could get a close up of a player was when they were fielding nearby.

“That went on for sometime, but then the equipment started to improve and we got some decent sports pictures. We then bought a Zenith photo sniper and a Pentax with a nova flex lens, which improved things considerably and then our saving grace came when we went straight into digital photography, which made a huge difference.”

Over the years Alain has captured most of the historic occasions that have taken place at the Club on camera, including the five one-day trophies during the Glory Years, the first floodlit match at the County Ground and the EGM at the Bath and West Showground, as well as Somerset winning the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy in 2001 and the Twenty20 Cup in 2005.

“One of the most memorable pictures I took was of Ian Botham, Joel Garner and Viv Richards together before the last game they played for Somerset. During their time at Somerset I had got to know them all well and became good friends with them. Just before their last game for Somerset they asked me to go up the the dressing room and let me take the picture of them together that went all around the world.

“With everything you do you have to have a bit of luck, which was true in that case. The Cooper Associates County Ground hasn’t changed that much over the years. The buildings have changed, but the heart of the Club still feels the same and there is something about it that keeps you wanting to go back and do more.”

Alain added: “I’m probably among the 1% of people in the country who is doing a job they love and even after all these years I still love it.”

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