Date: Fri 01 Dec 2023

By Andy Poole


Deserved recognition for ace snapper Cunningham

There has been deserved recognition for Leiston FC photographer, Ben Cunningham, whose stunning goal celebration image has been voted into third place in the Best Amateur World Sports Photography 2023 awards.

The image shows Adam Mills after he scored after he scored against Needham Market last season.

“I first got into photography seven or eight years ago, taking family photos and really enjoyed it,” recalled Cunningham. “I picked up some camera equipment from eBay for about £100 and learnt all the manual settings, and then it led to me getting involved with Leiston just over three seasons ago.

“I knew one of the coaches at the time who invited me down to get involved with the announcement of signing Fin Barnes and Liam Jackson; I worked alongside Hannah Parnell who took the images and I captured the video for that press release.

“I've been the photographer, videographer and creating graphics for Leiston for the last two seasons and thoroughly enjoy it.”

So, what makes a good football photograph?

“Every image is different, every game is different,” he added. “I just try and capture what I see at that moment; a lot of the time I think to myself, if I was playing what kind of image would I like to see?

“For this particular image, it was about 70 minutes into the game and I was thinking to myself that I should have stayed at home as it wasn’t the greatest of games! It had rained pretty much all day, I was covered in mud, soaked through and cold.

“Then, all of a sudden, Adam pops up in the 88th minute on the edge of the Needham area and scores a screamer to win the local derby.

“He started to run in the opposite direction when the ball flew in the back of the net, which I was a bit annoyed about, but then he checked back on himself and started to head in my direction and I prepared for a team celebration, but didn’t expect him to do a back flip.

“I captured the moment but refused to look at it for the rest of the game as I was praying that it was in focus! He came at me at full speed so I just hope and prayed that I had got something we could use.

“It was when I got back into the club house to dry off that I checked back through the sequence and there it was… fantastic!”

Throughout our four divisions there are photographers capturing some superb action to really showcase the Pitching In Southern League. Ben outlines his matchday routine.

“My routine usually starts the night before the game as I make sure everything is charged,” he continued. “On game day I normally get to the ground about an hour before kick-off, get a few warm-up shots, set up goal cams and post the graphics for the team line-ups.

“Then before I know it, kick-off is here and during the game I can take on average 1,000 images. Sometimes I’ll do a few pitch-side edits, but I’ll save the majority of it for when I get home.

“I try and get everything edited an uploaded the day after and a match album with have about 250 images.

“It’s always a buzz after a game in the club house if they have scored and have celebrated near me, players will usually slide into my DMs asking for the image or asking when am I going to post the goal cam. I would imagine this is a similar scenario at all clubs!”

We congratulate Ben on his deserved recognition and salute all photographers throughout our Member Clubs for the work they do.

IMAGE: Ben Cunningham (of course!)

Leiston Web Site

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