Desmond Boylan

Desmond Boylan

Based
Havana, Cuba
Born
London, United Kingdom
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 1D Mark IV, 5D Mark II
“News photography is a way of life, it is showing what happens in the straightest, clearest and most honest way possible, for a global audience that will see and understand through those pictures.”

Beat

I cover news, sports, features or whatever is happening of interest – whenever, wherever.

One Shot

. HAVANA, Cuba. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan
A boy dances in the rain during a heavy tropical shower in a street of Havana.
“A boy dances in the rain during a heavy tropical shower in a street of Havana.”

Profile

I shoot for a global audience: whatever the assignment, I try to shoot pictures with content that will be appreciated and understood by anyone that sees them, regardless of race, income, nationality or location.

I was always curious about cameras and about events unfolding. My grandfather was a good photographer and used to show me pictures.

I remember messing around with my parents’ camera when I was five years old. It was a Werlisa, and I used to load the film in it.

A friend of mine lent me a Canon and took me out to shoot landscapes, he taught me to see and use the light, and he taught me black and white processing and printing.

I grew up in Spain during the Franco regime and the transition period and witnessed a lot of social unrest: the dead Franco lying in state when I was 11; a policeman gunned down in front of my house; riot police on horseback charging demonstrators; tanks in the streets during the 1981 coup. At the time I was too scared to think of taking pictures, but I realised I felt a growing attraction to witness news events from the front lines, and eventually I found the perfect way of doing this by picking up a camera and becoming a photojournalist.

My first assignment was a night-time first division soccer match at Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium, when I was working for the Associated Press as a stringer in 1989. Mexican player Hugo Sanchez scored a goal and I remember looking at so many out-of-focus pictures in the darkroom later and barely finding one celebration picture to put on the wire.

I was embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was very intense: I was not in control and was nearly killed several times. Two colleague friends were killed and one was severely injured. But I have no regrets as I learned many things I did not know before.

Pure news stories are a very exciting challenge, situations where you must use your instinct and improvise, think out of the box to take decisions.

What drives me is the ability to show what I am seeing to a global audience in the fastest and most photogenic way possible.

I have gradually learned to be a fly on the wall. I have grown more patient.

Not a day passes that I don't shoot a picture. Cameras are always near me, they are part of my life 24/7.

A good single image remains in time, stands alone and is strong in itself forever.

I think the tools we use to produce and transmit pictures will change a lot, but the picture remains the same.

News photography is a way of life, it is showing what happens in the straightest, clearest and most honest way possible, for a global audience that will see and understand through those pictures.

Behind the Scenes

. Iraq
Desmond Boylan transmits pictures from a laptop using a satellite transmitter while sitting in a trench during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
. Iraq
Boylan stands carrying equipment ready to board a Chinook helicopter in southern Iraq during the U.S. invasion.