I am writing this month’s Wider Angle from the UK where a couple of news stories have recently been circulating. The big story dominating the National headlines concerns allegations of extensive sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults by a now deceased Disc Jockey and TV personality, Jimmy Savile.
For those of you don’t know, Savile was a household name as a presenter of Radio and TV pop music shows in the 1960s and 1970s. He went on to host a TV show called Jim’ll Fix It where children could write in with a dream – drive a train, meet a pop star etc – and Savile would make it happen. He later began high profile hospital charity work. This TV and charity work was a cover for Savile’s sexual proclivities.
A lesser story which broke at the end of September concerned a British soldier who gave birth whilst on active service in Afghanistan.
What, you may ask, is the connection and what has this to do with Waikato Photographic Society? When the story of the soldier broke, I was phoned out of the blue by a journalist who was covering the story in London for the Mail On Sunday and the Daily Mail asking if I had a photo of the soldier. It turns out the lady in question was the Captain of the Fiji Women’s Football Team at the South Pacific Games in Samoa in 2007 which I had attended. My name had appeared as a photo credit on a sports website and after some investigation the journalist had found my cell phone number. Did I have the original? As it happens I have recently been having a good clear out of redundant photos and a quick scan of my computer turned up nothing. Drat. However I thought there was a chance I might have archived the photo in question and never deleted it. A quick search and bingo there it was. A quick email to London and the photo appeared across Pages 2 and 3 of the following day’s paper plus the web site in return for a reasonable fee plus 50% of any syndication fee. Glad I didn’t ditch that one!
And Savile? On the front page of the Independent newspaper for 12 October is an image of Savile taken in 1970. It is a quite powerful image of a younger man standing alone, leaning against a wall in a hospital corridor, with a distant, introspective look in his eyes. To someone of my generation who only knew the man’s extrovert TV persona, knowing of these recent allegations, this image speaks volumes. Did the credited photographer who took this image possibly imagine that it would be of such value to him 42 years on? So watch out next time you reach for the Delete key.
See you around. Geoff Dickinson
PS I have noticed that my photo has since appeared on numerous websites around the world, including two Murdoch owned papers. None of these users has sought my permission to do this or obtained them from the Mail On Sunday’s syndication agency. So much for Murdoch’s public utterances about paying for quality news media. He will be getting an invoice for a very generous fee although I doubt I will receive anything.