I have been working indirectly for the organisers of Windsor Horse Show, HPower, since 2001, first as assistant to Kit Houghton, their photographer and now to Peter Nixon their now photographer. We work in the media centre at Windsor Horse Show in the grounds of Windsor Castle in London, covering this event which is the highlight of my Equestrian calendar.
Our brief is very varied and a lot of it confidential however, what I can share is that we provide daily images to sum up the highlights. Our images are also used for the year ahead, promoting the event for next year and for the following years’ programmes.
It's a big deal, working in the Queen's back garden! We have to be smart at all times, which is slightly out of my comfort zone. We have to wear a hat in the show ring, which is not always that easy with a camera, especially when shooting portraits. The tip of the hat gets in the way and I end up looking like I have run into a wall and I have to remember to flip it back down again.
We have to wear a smart jacket in all the show rings. As much as I would like to go for a bright, fun colour, I find that a dark colour is best to blend in more and not distract the audience or the judge for that matter. I do have my trademark pink scarf so I don’t feel too somber! All the stewards in the show rings have to wear suits and bowler hats and in the evenings they have to wear Black Ties, I just love all the pomp and ceremony. Everyone looks so smart, it brings that sense of occasion and reminds me of just how lucky I am and just how special this event is.
I am based in the press centre, it is a hive of activity, especially when the news photographers turn up for capturing photographs of the royal family. They move around as a herd, you always know when a Royal is on a walk about as the news photographers are in a cluster waiting patiently to get a glimpse. It is a great insight into their work, lots of waiting, all getting the same photograph and having to carry around at least three cameras a piece and a few monopods as well, dangerous for me to get too near, for fear of getting accidentally knocked about by all their gear. The majority are a good bunch and but I can see why they get a bad rep, but it makes me realise they are just doing a job, one I couldn’t do, they are just trying to make a living.
My speciality or at least where I end up spending a majority of my time at Windsor is the driving classes, my favourite being the Coaching Marathon, getting photographs of them coming up the long walk with Windsor Castle behind them. I first saw a photograph of this very location in 1994 when I was a student and my work experience was with one of the leading coaching drivers Peter Munt. Little did I know that 20 years later I would be taking that photograph rather than prepping the horses for it. It is a small world.
The only down side is there are no dogs allow on site but I get my fix with the hound parade on the Sunday and this year we had two beautiful King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and a team of Siberian Huskies, both of which made an appearance albeit briefly in the evening performance of the Platinum Jubilee Celebration.
Four long, hard days but I wouldn’t change it for the world. The highlight to my Equestrian year, working with such a great team of people, in the Queen’s back garden. I am looking forward to next year already.