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LIFE BEHIND THE LENS

Posted by Oscar Maung Haley

LIFE BEHIND THE LENS

You’ve all seen him.

Admit it, he’s pretty hard to miss.

Usually he’s kitted out in Northumbria gear carrying a camera with a massive lens. 

Sometimes he’s also accompanied by his trusty hat.

You all know who we’re talking about – it is of course, Northumbria Sport photographer extraordinaire Mr Stephen Batey.

Last week, Northumbria Sport’s Flickr page managed to creep its way closer to the hallowed one million views mark with the current total sitting at around 956,000 views.

This unbelievable landmark would not have happened without Batey’s commitment to capturing some magnificent photographs week in and week out.

And with the total rising every single week, we thought that it would be a good idea to catch up with our super photo shooter to hear his story and how he first got involved in photography.

“I’ve been photographing Northumbria Sport since 2015 and I started out covering the Volleyball teams,” said Batey.

“When I came back the following year I spoke to Kate Hansbury who gave me an internship for a year and then after that I got onto a more fixed term contract.

“I started getting into photography around 2014 after my brain surgery which meant I couldn’t really play sports.

“I thought to myself I wanted to stay involved with sports but I didn’t think I could do coaching.

“So, I put more effort into my photography and realised that I was actually quite good at it.

“I watched loads of Youtube videos and tutorials about how other photographers take photos of different sports and just really enjoyed it – I had to find another way of being involved.”

Reaching one million views is cool and it’s a statistic that Batey finds almost surreal.

Of course, those figures should come as no surprise to those who have seen his exemplary work.

And while he admitted it was incredible to be so close to the one million views mark, Batey was keen to stress that there is another part of his job that he enjoys more – the building of new relationships.

“We had, within the first three weeks of BUCS this year we had something daft like 80,000 views,” said Batey.

“But, I think the thing I enjoy most about photography is all the teams you get to meet.

“You get to go around and see every team or individual playing – you get to know them, support them and become their friend.”

“You see people as athletes but also as people too.

“Good players, good teams always give you good action shots which always makes me and the university happy.

“You learn about a completely new sport very quickly.

“It’s great because you get to see the emotional side of sports – you see a team celebrate a big win or loss.

“I’ve loved covering all the sports at Northumbria but something I’m really proud of covering is the Sports Ball.

“I really enjoyed covering that because it’s way out of my comfort zone – having to speak to people and tell them where to stand wasn’t what I’m normally used to doing so that was a bit of a reality check – I’m really proud of that.

“Teams always like to have photos taken because they’re memories and it’s special for me to be involved in that process.”

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