Retired photographer steps down from 63-year role at athletics club

Photographer Ken Bray.

The iconic shot of Roger Bannister running the first four-minute mile

First published in News
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A photographer who captured one of the most iconic moments in sport has hung up his camera after 67 years in the profession.

Ken Bray, 84, of Mornington Road, Woodford Green, who photographed Roger Bannister running the first four-minute mile in 1954, has stepped down as official photographer for Woodford Green Athletics Club (AC) with Essex Ladies.

Mr Bray turned his hobby into a career when he set up his own dark room and studio in a Woodford Green house he shared with his wife and another couple in 1946.

He said: “We wondered what the food situation would be like after the Second World War, so we shared a house to save money.

“It was then I set up my own dark room and studio and made a lot of the materials I needed myself as we didn’t have a lot of money.”

Mr Bray went onto open his own studio in South Woodford, from where he worked for various press organisations, covering events such as the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.

And he was among a dozens of photographers present in Oxford when Roger Bannister achieved his historic feat.

“I showed Roger the picture and he said it was the best he had seen out of all of them. He said you could see his stride better than in the other ones.”

“Some of my most memorable moments were when I covered the Queen’s Scout Awards at Buckingham Palace every year.

“I photographed so many different people – from Seb Coe, to Ken Dodd. I have truly enjoyed every moment."

Mr Bray officially retired in 1996, but continued to take photographs for the athletics club’s website.

Since retiring from professional photography, Mr Bray and his wife have visited more than 50 countries.

“Now that I won’t have to worry about the club as much and walking long distances - we will be able to carry on doing the things we love,” he said.

Comments (1)

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9:38pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Compton Akers says...

He is a wonderful chap, he did our wedding at our very good price, good old days when they superimposed the couple glancing at each other in a champagne glass wearing flares.
He is a wonderful chap, he did our wedding at our very good price, good old days when they superimposed the couple glancing at each other in a champagne glass wearing flares. Compton Akers
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