Legendary Fleet Street photographers who snapped the Beatles, Elizabeth Taylor and Mick Jagger attend Dimbola exhibition launch


LEGENDS of Fleet Street photography lined up to tell stories of days gone by at the launch of a new exhibition at Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater Bay.

The Beatles, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Maxwell and Mick Jagger were just some of the famous names photographed by the five legends, three of whom live on the Island.

Larry Ellis from Yarmouth, John Cleave of Freshwater Bay and David L. White from Bonchurch were joined by Mike Maloney, the Queen Mother’s favourite photographer.

Bob Aylott, who also wrote a book about the Island’s 1970 Festival, entitled ‘Six Days That Rocked the World’ was unable to attend through ill health.

Between them, they have more than 200 years of experience of photographing the rich and famous, royalty, world leaders and mass murderers with many of their pictures making the front pages of national newspapers over a 40-year period.

The photographers were introduced by Island broadcaster and journalist John Hannam at last Friday’s launch, and the exhibition will continue until December 15.

Larry left school at 14 and worked as a runner in the Daily Express photographic department before taking his own pictures and eventually becoming the paper’s show business photographer.

However, one of his biggest scoops came when he was despatched to take a picture of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger on the day of his divorce from wife Bianca.

Larry said: “Although I was a staff photographer, I was showbiz, so I didn’t get involved in the serious stuff like this. On the day, the picture editor sent six photographers to the High Court to get a photo of Mick. There were thousands of people outside.

“I was sitting in the office filling out my expenses and was told to join them. There were so many people at the front, so I went down an alley at the back of the Court. Next minute, a Jaguar pulled up and Jagger came out in a suit. He never wore a suit which made it even more unusual.

“He knew me, and said: ‘Where is everyone, Larry?’ I just told him they were all out the front. The picture was exclusive and sold all over the world.”

One of David’s photos, accompanied by the front page of the Sunday Mirror in 1986, is the pollution from the wreck of the Aerolian Sky which sank off the coast of Dorset in 1979.

Among the wreckage were hazardous chemicals and the photograph made headlines around the world with the resulting pollution on beaches.

He said: “The publicity from those pictures paved the way for the way we think about the world’s ecology this day.”

A photo by John Cleave, depicts the day of a National Front march in Trafalgar Square in 1974.

He said: “I got there early and it was raining. There were a couple of teenagers looking at a few people setting up on stage but no one else was around at that time.

“The NF people turned up later, but the Sunday Times used my bleak picture on its front page as a suitably sardonic way of describing the protest.

“Suffice it to say, the NF were pretty annoyed about that bit of ‘publicity’.”

Mike is the most decorated Fleet Street photographer having won 107 major prizes including being a three-time Press Photographer of the Year winner.

He has photographed royalty and world leaders including Clinton, Reagan, Gorbachev and Yeltsin and been invited to dinner at the White House and the Kremlin.

He said: “I once grabbed a one-off close-up shot of billionaire J Paul Getty dancing at a society ball and expected it to appear on the front page of the paper.

“However, it didn’t and when I asked why, I was told that Getty had phoned up the paper’s owner Lord Rothermere and offered him £500,000 to his favourite charity to keep it out.”

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