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INTERVIEW


By the Dart INTERVIEW


SIMON NIBLETT


PHOTOGRAPHER & CInEMATOGRAPHER


world, photographer Simon Niblett rates the Dartmouth area as the best place to live. He said: ‘When walking the dog along the cliffs on a nice day I would easily pick here over anywhere!’ Forty-nine year old Simon has been a professional photographer, cameraman and director of photography for 30 years. During that time he has scaled


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numerous mountains; entered war and disaster zones; been on tour with Robbie Williams and Take That, filmed penguins in the Antarctic and countless other exciting sounding projects. Images from his career adorn his


workshop walls, many celebrating the strength and endurance of the human spirit. Whilst working for UnICEF,


Simon went into Haiti following the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. He said, ‘It never ceases to amaze


me how quickly people adapt to their situation. When we got to Haiti the place was in ruin but people had already set up houses and were on it straight away. It’s amazing how people adapt and take life in their stride. ‘It’s the natural thing to do. I’ve seen it all over the world – in super poor places and war zones too.’ One mission took him to war


torn Bosnia to shoot a film ‘City Under Siege’, in a place cut off by surrounding battles.


aving lived and worked in more than 150 countries around the


‘We went with three mercenaries and got shot at trying to get there. It took us all summer to get into the city and when we finally arrived, instead of finding people dying of starvation as expected, they were thriving as they’d created a great secret supply route for food! It became a non-film - we should have made the film about us trying to get there instead!’ Another highlight for Simon was filming the ‘honey hunters’ in the remote Himalayas, for national Geographic magazine.


We bought the Sunday Times house of the week in Dartmouth and started living the dream!’


He said,‘These guys were great – hanging off cliffs 400 feet in the air to collect this amazing, slightly hallucinogenic honey. At the time it took us two weeks hiking to get there. However, now they’ve built a road to get tourists in and the hunters are leaving the village. I need to get back and do an update I think.’ Simon’s job is not without its


obvious dangers. Whilst filming ‘Earth Flight’ for the BBC - a programme on migrating birds in the mountains of southern France – he had a crash in a micro light plane, sustaining a punctured lung and broken ribs. Uninterested in academia and


yearning to travel, Simon left school after A levels. He funded his trips through various jobs including as a nightclub pianist in new Zealand, cattle station worker in Australia, trawler man in the sub Antarctic and expedition photographer with Operation Raleigh. ‘I always knew that I wanted to


travel, be creative, technical and reasonably well paid. I’m so pleased that I have been able to do this through a career in photography.’ Simon’s passion for photography and the technical kit that accompanies this, began in childhood. He said, ‘I used to buy cameras


– like the old box brownies – from local fetes with my pocket money. I was a bit obsessed really and spent all my money on them. I would hide them from my parents so they didn’t complain about me buying yet another one! I still collect kit and have to have the latest gadget. My wife Sally says it’s like a disease – I’m a compulsive upgrader!’ Simon broke into his career in photography after returning to his West Midlands home at 19. He was accepted onto a trainee film cameraman scheme at the then Central Television studios, securing the post with his impressive portfolio of travelling photos. After two years he got his assistant


cameraman’s ‘ticket’ and went on to a job filming the Formula One circuit: ‘A steady income and a great start, where I built up many contacts.’ From this Simon fell into sports


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