End of an era for Telegraph photographer Kit Mallin

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Long-standing Telegraph photographer Kit Mallin hangs up his camera for the final time today – in his 50th year at the paper.

Kit joined the paper in September 1964 aged 15, initially working in the dark room, before becoming a fully fledged photographer in 1971.

Kit Mallin outside the Telegraph offices

Kit Mallin outside the Telegraph offices

Since then he has worked for 14 editors, in three different Kettering offices and was named company photographer of the year on a number of occasions.

Remembering his years at the Telegraph, he said: “There was an incident with the Duke of Edinburgh at the Alconbury base. He was coming towards me and I fell over.

“He walked past me, looked at me and thought ‘Who the hell is that?’.

“One of the nicest experiences I have had was with Morecambe and Wise. I met them at the old Granada cinema in Kettering. They fooled around for me just like they did on stage.

“The worst people are the pop groups. They didn’t want to know you because you were a provincial photographer.”

Kit has spent significant amounts of time with local troops in Northern Ireland, Germany and Kuwait at the time of the first Gulf War.

He added: “In Northern Ireland, we heard what we thought was lightning, but it wasn’t – it was a rocket attack on the building we were in.

“We went to Kuwait four days after the 1991 Gulf War. We slept in the desert at night. There were ants as big as my fingernails, and it was so cold in the desert at night.”

Kit leaves along with his own individual quirks and techniques developed through the years.

“All photographers have their own unique picture style which they produce which no-one else will have done,” he said.

“There are lots of people I am thankful to – mayors and mayoresses who have bent over backwards over the years with some of the stuff I have asked them to do.

“Most of the general public I am grateful to. There are people I speak to now who say ‘You photographed me in First Class’, and they are now playing for Kettering Town.”

Kit says he won’t miss taking photographs, as it is not even a particular hobby of his.

But he added: “I will miss the area, although I won’t miss Northampton!

“The thing I will miss more than anything else will be the driving around.

“That, and power naps.”

Kit’s top pics from more than four decades behind the lens

Telegraph photographer Kit Mallin estimates he has been on 30,000 jobs for the Telegraph in his career. Here he describes some of his favourite pictures, which can be seen in the slideshow above.

During my career at the paper, I must have been out on tens of thousands of photocalls, and I’ve had a dig around for some of my most memorable shots.

Among the things which have changed over the years is health and safety. I took a picture of a fire at an industrial estate in Corby, but now we would never be allowed anywhere near a place like that.

The fire brigade often wanted us to go in, especially at the end of fires, because we could photograph something they thought might be the cause of the fire.

I recall setting up a picture of a squirrel and a drinks can in Kettering’s parish church garden, entitling it ‘Last Tango in Parish’, in reference to the Marlon Brando film.

Another picture I set up was of Kettering bodybuilder Vince Vasiliou, who I pretended had cracked an egg with his muscles and this little chick had popped out.

It’s all about how the little bird looked at him and how he looked at it.

When Princess Diana’s funeral procession passed through Northampton in September 1997, I took a picture of a boy who walked out into the road, looking at all the flowers which had been thrown at the coffin.

I used to like taking pictures of Diana – she was such a lovely person to photograph and so helpful.

Another favourite is a picture of the Kettering Carnival which was spontaneous – you can never get these things if you try to set them up.

They always talk about politicians and babies, and I took this image of food minister John Gummer at the East of England show during the BSE crisis.

The moment he came around the corner this baby started screaming.