The Queen and Mrs Thatcher

Ron Burton was a consummate storyteller in the true art form of photojournalism. In an age when pictures had to tell and sell stories instantly - the Golden Age of Fleet Street - he was employed by the leading popular national daily newspapers during a career spanning 40 years.

Having seen active service as a merchant seaman in the Second World War, he started work back in 'civvy street' processing photographs at the Keystone Press Agency in Fleet Street but quickly moved behind the camera.  Using a traditional plate camera, where there was only one opportunity to capture a moment in history, he always meticulously planned to be in exactly the right place at the right time.

Army Band

Ron went on to win the coveted British Press Photographer of the Year award three times, in 1958, 1962 and 1965, presenting portfolios of work embracing breaking news, features and sport as well as the idiosyncratic. He was also Royal Photographer of the Year on no less than three occasions.

Away from the camera Ron Burton was an unassuming, modest family man but behind the lens he transformed into a giant of his profession.

This website has been developed as a celebration of his Life Behind the Lens and as a tribute to his remarkable achievements.

Southend Lifeboat

We have selected a wide range of his work  - from iconic images of royalty and politicians, artists, entertainers and other celebrities, to images that capture key moments in recent history, and scenes of everyday life and unique  'one-off masterpieces', such as his award-winning 'Red Arrows selfie' from 1965 showing the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team in formation, with him at the forefront in the cockpit. Everyone always asks: 'How did he do that??'

Through his photography, sometimes humorous or ironic, at other times serious and thought-provoking, but always unforgettable, we can visualise the man behind the lens.

Ron Burton was 'one of a new breed of press photographer, often from working-class obscurity, who came to produce some of the most memorable images in the history of the medium'. *

* http://www.amazon.co.uk/Daily-Encounters-Photographs-Fleet-Street/dp/1855143771