About Paul Berriff

Photographer, Producer, Director and Cinematographer, Paul Berriff.

My life and career since starting work in 1963 has always involved photography. I grew up in Headingley, Leeds, Yorkshire. My father was a press photographer on the Yorkshire Post and it wasn't long before I was following in his professional footsteps. At 16 years of age I started work as a press photographer on the Yorkshire Evening Post. In those days newspapers were the main source of daily news. Each day I would be out on assignments photographing accidents, fires, babies, weddings and other local issues. It was a great learning curve into the world of photography.

You had to think fast in all lighting conditions to ensure a perfectly exposed image. My camera was a 5 x 4 Speed Graphic which used glass plates. In those days roll film cameras were in their infancy. The 5x4 produced stunning quality black and white photographs. Colour newspaper pictures were light years away.

After 4 years learning the craft of photography I made the leap from newspapers into television – it was 1967. The late 60's started seeing the demise of newspapers as a source of breaking news. Television studios were opening up throughout the nation and could broadcast pictures almost immediately. I got a job as a news cameraman for BBC Television News based in Leeds. Although I took many pictures on each story the newspaper would only publish a single photograph. I saw television as a great breakthrough as all my pictures could be transmitted. The secret of good movies is to use the cine camera like a still camera – it's a series of joined up images.

I spent the next 40 years behind the cine camera producing documentaries all over the world. My moving images won me scores of awards including a BAFTA.

Recently I have returned back to still photography, although I continue to produce and direct movies. I have purchased a 1944 Speed Graphic 5x4 camera – the camera I started with in newspapers. I also have a Nikon F and a Rolleiflex. I love creating monochrome prints. Black and white images are far more dramatic and atmospheric than colour. I use Kodak Tri-x stock the same I used all those years ago on the paper.

I am concentrating my photography locations around Yorkshire. The county is so varied with fabulous countryside, dramatic coastline, cities and historical sites. I see myself as the 21st century Frank Sutcliffe. He too was born in Headingley, Leeds then moved to Whitby where he became world famous with his images.