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Iraqi Boy – Paul David Drabble, 2005

8 May 2008

This photograph was a grab shot taken in March 2005. I was in Iraq, a guest of the British Army, and was out with members of the Royal Dragoon Guards, who were using armoured Landover’s to patrol the area of Umm Qasr.

I was riding in one of the positions the army refer to as “top cover”. This means standing up in the back of the vehicle with your head sticking out of something akin to a giant sunroof, big enough for two people.

This young boy started to run beside the convoy, carrying what I thought was a toy gun. I raised the camera and rattled off as many frames as I could, hoping one would be sharp enough to use, as the road was very pot-holed. I took 9 frames in a 3 second burst, by which time we had passed him and were gone.

Quite pleased with the image I mentioned it back at the base, and one or two people asked to look at it. When they did, it caused a bit of interest as they reckoned it was probably a real gun. All the more worrying once you know that in the last 3 frames the child falls over still holding the gun, which is now pointing at himself. No one else on the convoy spotted him except me.

Paul David Drabble was born and raised a Sheffield lad. He bought his first camera around the age of 17 while working in retail sales. Initially a self taught photographer, unemployment sent him back to college where studied Communications, English and Photography.

His first real photography job was as a staff photographer on a local newspaper; the Rotherham Advertiser, later he joined the Barnsley Chronicle. In 1995 he launched his freelance business, providing photography for local newspapers; the Advertiser, the Chronicle and the Sheffield Trader, occasionally selling to the nationals, mainly the business sections. He began collecting PR clients and supplying Famous Pictures and Features Agency with concert and celebrity pictures.

Paul has worked in Cyprus, Belgium, Gibraltar and Iraq with the British Army, providing coverage for clients in the UK. At the moment most of his income is from PR work and the occasional newspaper job.

In the early days of Paul’s freelance career, he did a lot of photography work for very little money. In 1999 he joined Epuk and learned to set a minimum job fee based on the cost of doing business, helping him develop his freelance work into a viable business.

Photographer since 1995, EPUK member since 1999.

See more work by Paul David Drabble

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