My name is Gavin and I’m from Belfast. I’ve been a fan of Irish League football since My Aul Man started taking me to matches in the mid 80’s. I’ve been a fan of photography since digital cameras became affordable to normal people.
I have no political or religious allegiances, I’m just a guy who likes football and taking photos. I have an awesome daughter and I’m engaged to an amazing woman, so I’m pretty lucky. I also suffer from depression, I’m not proud of that and I’m not looking any sympathy, it just seems like an important detail to add.
I have worked for the same company since 2001. I should probably be thankful that I have a job at all (been told that too) but more and more I’ve become aware that with no prospect of a promotion (it’s not that sort of company) or any sort of pay increase, I need to find employment elsewhere. It eats away at me and at times my future seems very bleak on the employment front. To be honest, this fear kind of drives me in the field of football photography and media. This, as you’ll read later on, is probably a mistake and a waste of my time (and money).
I do the photography and in fact this whole website as a hobby. Apart from a few sales of Donegal landscape shots, I’ve never been paid for taking photos, it’s just always been something I enjoyed doing.
I had hoped I would be able to make some money or maybe even earn myself a decent job through doing all of this. My thinking being that the photos, videos, the graphics (game kits, wallpapers etc) and this here website (which I’m pretty proud of) would showcase my skill-set and “talents” to potential employers.
Alas, I’ve came to the conclusion that either my stuff isn’t as good as it needs to be, or that I do a poor job of promoting and presenting my content and myself, or that I live in a small country where local football is for the most part still part-time and largely ignored by the majority of the population. This means that there is basically no money in Northern Ireland’s football economy and so the opportunities available to someone like me are severely (or completely) limited. I choose to believe it’s this last conclusion.
A lot of the sort of things I do (photos, videos and other media) are done for local clubs by volunteers. These people love their clubs and dedicate their time and probably their money for the cause and really should be applauded. I can’t even do that (if anyone would even have me) because I have to work on Saturdays. My attendance at Saturday games is dependent on whether I can escape without anyone noticing or not…
In England, league clubs are obviously fully professional and are ran as such. They see the value in putting out quality online content (gaining fans/sales) and employ teams of people to produce said content.
Sadly, the money for this sort of thing just isn’t present here.
Most media coverage of Irish League football outside of the previously mentioned in-club content is done by the BBC and UTV. Neither seem to ever have any job vacancies (I check often), the same goes for the main football organisations in Northern Ireland, NIFL and the IFA. The IFA have a lot of opportunities for volunteers if that’s your thing. It’s not my thing unfortunately, I’d like to be paid.
There are also a whole host of local photo agencies that cover Irish League football. They are a mystery to me. How do they work? Why do they work? I’ve emailed a few and got no response, always appreciated…
The guys that work matches for them are friendly enough at least.
With all that being said…
I suppose I’ll just keep going to matches and taking photos for the foreseeable future.
I’ve this website paid for until the Summer, at which point I’ll have to decide whether or not I can justify paying for the domain and hosting (which aren’t cheap). That’s probably another blog to look forward to.
In the meantime
I’m always looking for football to photograph, so if you have a match coming up in Belfast that you’d like to be photographed, give me a bell.