My debut in JournalismBy Edward Quinn
My beginnings in photo-journalism go back to 1948. I had
been toying around with a folding Kodak camera, bought
a couple of years before to take some souvenir photos on
my flying trips while working as a Radio-Navigator for a
charter air company. I was based for a while in the then
international North African city of Tangier in the northwestern
comer of Morocco. The pictures I took there were very
I moved away from aviation and went to live for a while in
Monaco. As it was then still a very picturesque little place,
I tried to capture this with my simple camera. The photos
showed a little something, but were not too inspired. A friend
loaned me a better, more expensive camera with a sharper
lens. Some portraits taken with this were admired and I found
myself that they were quite encouraging.
This spurt me on, so I plunged into getting hold of a Retina
camera which I had heard was of professional standard.
As I thought then, and still do, that the best proof of one’s skill
and success is to be able to sell pictures, I nosed around
for something newsworthy to try my hand on.
I heard of a horse jumping contest being held in nearby
Nice and decided to try my luck there. I managed to get
in as I spoke English and this helped me to pass myself
off as a fully fledged professional press photographer.
At the show I positioned myself beside the hardened
professionals who were covering the contest and began
to shoot, trying to catch the most spectacular moment as
the rider edged his horse over the very difficult obstacles.
I of course concentrated on trying to get good pictures of
the Irish and English competitors. Riding for the Irish team
was Capt. Turbridy, an excellent horseman who had a
terrific horse. lt was not too difficult for me to get some good
shots of Capt. Turbridy and his horse and it seemed to me
a very good omen that on my first professional outing the
The pictures were published in the IRISH INDEPENDENT
and at that moment I began to take my work as a
photographer seriously. I bought some books about
photography. Over in Nice I was able to get
POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY, MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY
and CAMERA, magazines still published nowadays.
I followed all the "how to do it" articles and transformed
the tiny kitchen of a kindly Monegasque friend into a darkroom.
Header photo: Edward Quinn, Zurich 1983. © Eric Bachmann