Ravensbourne alumnus living dream photographing boyhood football club

Picture of the Charlton Football Club grounds
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Article by: Victoria Fenton

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Benjamin Peters, who graduated from Ravensbourne's BA (Hons) Digital Photography course in 2020, is now a photographer for Focus Images Ltd. He shoots as the official photographer of Charlton Athletic Football Club, the team he has passionately supported since a young boy.

Ben came to Ravensbourne in 2016 to study a foundation diploma in Media Production. He always knew that he wanted to get into sport photography, but was pleased with the diverse skillset he developed on the course: animation and sound design skills as well as learning key photography principles.

He went on to study the degree in Digital Photography in 2017 and graduated in 2020 with his final year project examining the devoted fanbase at Charlton Athletic. ‘Every Saturday we follow’ looked at the families and local communities associated with the football club as well as charity work that they are involved in – essentially, how a sport can bring people from all walks of life together as one.

Ben had already reached out to his club in 2014 to ask if he could shoot a few games and since then was granted access every year. He became committed to showing alternative aspects to football instead of just the hooliganism that is typically associated with the game.

However, he never expected to have the chance to be Charlton Athletic’s official club photographer – until Focus Images were offered the position in 2022. A year later, he is now getting to know the players on a personal level and feeling a real sense of belonging and purpose at the club.

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Ben describes one of his favourite moments as working at the Charlton v Brighton Carabao Cup match, where his League One side beat Premier League team Brighton on penalties.

"Capturing the emotion of our players was incredible, as was being able to witness a moment in the club’s history. My dream would be to capture one day the Charlton Football Club returning to the Championship, and hopefully one day the Premier League!" he said.

Image of football player celebrating

A photo taken by Ben of a Charlton FC footballer celebrating

Ben credits his degree at Ravensbourne as having a huge part in his successes. He explains how the course gave him the chance to try so many different types of photography, including portraiture which he never thought he would enjoy.

"Being autistic and very shy, I never thought I’d be able to direct a subject in a photograph," he said. "But the curriculum at Ravensbourne gave me huge confidence. At one Charlton game, I went up to a fan and asked if I could take a portrait shot of him; I wouldn’t have done that before!"

Since securing the permanent job at Charlton Athletic, Ben has also worked at Wimbledon (on a team that was assembled by Bob Martin), Soccer Aid (on a team assembled by Stella Pictures Ltd) and even at our very own graduation ceremony.

He has worked with Accumulate (The Art School for the Homeless), documenting their workshops and doing a bit of teaching. Ben has also delivered two guest lectures at Ravensbourne, helping first-year students develop a sport photography brief, and is keeping his eye out for similar opportunities, as his desire to get into teaching grows.

An average week for Ben is varied, from sending images to clients, editing work, developing ideas for sport photography briefs, to being on site for projects – he can either be extremely busy or super quiet, but he thrives on the variety.

Ben stresses that the main challenge of a sport photographer is trying to stand out as it’s such a competitive field of work. His advice to aspiring sport photographers is to find something unique about your work and don’t give up on your dreams.

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Take a look at Ben’s official photography website.

Check out the BA (Hons) Digital Photography course.