Make an appointment with BPPA’s ‘Assignments’ photography exhibition

Exhibition of 100 exceptional images, including stunning sports shots, is coming to Cardiff in June and July, after successful run in London; showcase put together by the British Press Photographers’ Association

By Jon Holmes

Images by Oli Scarff and Carl Recine on display at ‘Assignments’

“What is most impressive about sports photographs is how much life the photographers have managed to invest in the routine.

The late Sir Harold Evans would have enjoyed the 2023 ‘Assignments’ exhibition immensely – life is on display here in all its colour and creativity, triumph and disaster, the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Sport sits next to news, giving visitors a rich variety.

After its successful initial run in London in May, the exhibition will be open to the public at Ffotogallery in Cardiff on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons from Friday 9 June to Saturday 22 July.

Evans’ quote is from his introduction to ‘Five Thousand Days’, a 2004 collection of portfolio highlights from members of the British Press Photographers’ Association over the preceding 15 years.

You can flick through the book before and after taking in the new selection on show in the galleries, covering the period from summer 2021 to spring 2023.

The sports photographers’ labours have produced some lovely shots – some that have become familiar (Chloe Kelly’s goal celebration), others less obvious (gymnast Joe Fraser’s tight grip on the rings), at least one that is now notorious (that England fan outside Wembley with a flare wedged in his derriere).

Recent SJA British Sports Journalism Awards winners are well represented – Oli Scarff, Alex Broadway, Carl Recine, Clive Mason and Molly Darlington to name a few.

The latter received special mention in one note left in the guestbook in London – “my favourites include those swimmers’ eyes!”

Images from Molly Darlington’s award-winning Olympic and Paralympic Portfolio are also on display

The juxtaposition of certain photos on the old wharf building’s exposed brickwork often adds perspective. A black and white image of Pope Benedict XVI lying in state precedes another in colour of Lionel Messi being lifted up amid a throng of people, the World Cup final hero holding the trophy high.

Upon departure, annother comment in the guestbook caught my eye: “Wonderful talent and a fabulous cross-section of images. A great showcase of very important press photography. Keep up the good work!” Signed ‘Rebecca McCabe (Eamonn’s wife)’.

Matthew Fearn, the Telegraph’s picture editor and a former chair of the Journalism Awards photography judges, is one of the curators on ‘Assignments’.

Try to engineer a rendezvous with this remarkable exhibition in the Welsh capital this summer.

Alex Broadway’s shot of cyclist Matt Wells’ crash at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Assignments 2023 is free to attend. The exhibition is open at Ffotogallery, The Former Methodist Sunday School, Fanny St, Cardiff, CF24 4EH, from 12pm to 5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 9 June and 22 July 2023.