Toby Melville

Toby Melville

London, United Kingdom
Sussex, United Kingdom
“I’m excited by stories that surprise me and force me to really think.”


I cover general, political and business news, as well as sports and feature stories.

One Shot

. LONDON, UK. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Waves batter a train as it passes along the coastal railway line at Dawlish, as severe gales combined with high tides to cause seasonal storms in the southwest of England.
“This is part of a set of images that I shot for a weather news feature. I thought of a suitable location, and managed to get a combination of the right light, the right weather, and the right time of day for these images to meet regional deadlines, meaning there was a satisfying conclusion to a four-hour drive and two-hour wait on a cliff top in truly horrible weather, before a very long and waterlogged journey back home!”


My earliest memory of photography is the enthusiasm of my grandfather, who was a professional horticulturalist and keen natural history photographer. I remember his stacks of neatly filed Kodachromes and Agfachromes as well as the Nikon FM he always had over his shoulder.

I learnt to take pictures by making mistakes, reading books and teaching myself photography and darkroom basics with my mates at school. I continued learning by watching and listening while on work experience, and by shooting pictures myself whenever I could afford to buy film in my late teenage years.

My first assignments were freelance shifts at a big regional daily newspaper. I was in my early 20s and had just finished a press photography course, after dropping out of an academic university degree. I learnt quickly that the real world of employ is very different to the world of college life, even on a highly vocational course.

So many assignments and news stories have helped shape my mind, from the ones that make you feel depressed about how people treat each other and the world around them, to the ones that make you feel a sense of amazement at human will, generosity and spirit of endeavor. Often the ones that leave the biggest mark are the most low-key assignments, rather than a political election victory, Olympic final or the death of a state leader.

I’m excited by stories that surprise me and force me to really think, either pictorially or about the circumstances of the event.

The audience I have in mind when I take pictures is anyone who is subscribing to Reuters, viewing print or online news, or sports. That means possibly anyone!

My biggest lesson has been that experience is everything, but also nothing.

I respect too many of my contemporaries in photojournalism to mention, both inside and outside of Reuters. But growing up with a thirst for photography as a teenager, it was the news work of Don McCullin, the natural history of Ansel Adams, the portraits by Eve Arnold, and the sports pictures by Chris Smith and Eamon McCabe that really stuck in my mind.

I like this quote by John Steinbeck: “I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.”

Behind the Scenes

London, United Kingdom. Toby Melville/Reuters
Reuters photographer Toby Melville shoots a self-portrait while covering Aquatics events at the London 2012 Olympics.