THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month
The Rainboy, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 14th June 1986, by Ian Spratt
Former Fleet Street picture editor Alan Sparrow introduces this month’s image
''Sheltering under a tin roof in the flooded compound of the Families for Children Orphanage, a small boy approaches through the tropical downpour. He stops and looks at me intently, blinking the water that runs his face from his eyes. I raise my Nikon fitted with a 180mm lens to my eye and press the shutter taking 3 quick frames. The boy smiles, turns, walks away and is once again lost in the torrent…we meet again ten years later''. This was Jakir, picture again below by Spratt as a mechanics apprentice.
Photographer Ian Spratt has had a career so varied it is hard to compare - many photographers find a niche that they excel at and pursue that line throughout their careers - and the range of his work is just as wide, from industrial photography to glamour Spratt has experienced it all, and excelled in all categories.
Ian Spratt started as an Industrial photographer working for the British Aircraft Corporation, but was inspired to broaden his photography into a more journalistic approach while living in Iran with his parents.
Eighteen months later he returned to the UK and felt that his talents could be better deployed working for the national press. Working as a freelance in the 1970s he contributed to newspapers and magazines, and was rewarded with a job on the Sunday People.
While on assignment for the paper in 1985 he was introduced to the plight of orphans in Bangladesh, and the photographs he took at the orphanage earned him the title of Photographer of the Year in 1986.
His work was with the orphans was to become a lifelong obsession. ''Since then, I have visited Bangladesh on many occasions to continue documenting the lives of the children that I originally met and photographed in 1985/86” he says. “In 1996 I returned and photographed many of those children resulting in How Lucky We Are, an exhibition of comparative images sponsored by Ilford Films that premiered at the NEC, Birmingham.''
Spratt had a successful studio in South London where he photographed beauty, glamour and lifestyle photography for many magazines. He then moved to work in Spain for seven years, but now lives in the UK again where he has just completed a documentary project at Guys Hospital in London and is coaching medical students in photography.
In 2010 he returned to Bangladesh after 25 years to trace and photograph the same children, now adults, once again. The photos resulted in a series of exhibitions and presentations as part of a fund and awareness raising effort that has been his passion since the first visits.