It's All About The Composition

John Mead, Archives Manager at Mirrorpix, has been instrumental in helping with the research into Ron Burton's photojournalism. Here he offers a professional view of the man and photographs that appear on this site:

'It is almost impossible to compare Ron's work with that of the photographers of today. You can see that Ron was brought up on the plate cameras where he had only one or two opportunities to capture the moment, whereas that skill isn't required by his modern counterparts because they can just put their finger on the shutter and fire off hundreds of shots knowing they will not miss anything.

For Ron it was all about the composition and one example was his dramatic photo of the RNLI Lifeboat 'Greater London' being launched down the ramp at Southend in Januray 1966 and he hit the shutter at the exact moment when it hit the water. That took careful planning and it was as if he had a third eye because he knew exactly what he wanted before the launch.

But going through the archives it was also obvious there was a lot of humour in Ron's work. A photograph that perfectly illustrates this was the Guardsman and the cymbals.

Army Band

This shows he was always searching for a different angle to make his work stand out. There was another wonderful shot when The Queen met the King of Tonga and on the back Ron had written little and large.

The Queen in Tonga

He produced some outstanding work during the Biafra war and in many cases his pictures said more than any words could have.

At that time the Mirror seemed to attract the elite of the profession. Ron was an amazing photographer and seemed almost to be able to detach himself from situations and just concentrate on capturing the best picture.

It seems strange in this country we don't seem to celebrate out great photographers. If they were producing this work in the United States people would be screaming about the quality from the rooftops.'