As we start to head towards a slow return to some semblance of normality and with a lot of our followers naturally being affected in all sorts of ways by the loss of sporting fixtures, we thought we would have a catch up with Luton Town’s official photographer, Gareth Owen.
Like so many of us, forced into lockdown, we thought this a good time to learn some more about the man, the legend. With Sunday’s exciting announcement that the Championship is set to restart on 20 June, albeit behind closed doors, it won’t be long before we are enjoying his artwork again.
So Gareth, as Luton Town Football Club’s official photographer, have you been forced to hang up your camera due to your usual subjects, until very recently, not being available and, if so, how have you been coping with that?
Hello all. Thought I would just tell you what I actually do as most people think I just do football! I have been in photography all my working life, self-employed for the last 30 years. My work during the weekdays is corporate PR for companies then Saturdays are, of course, dominated by LTFC.
I did my last commercial job on 17 March, two days later everything was cancelled in the diary. With the weather being superb, I go for a run every morning and then we have been redesigning the garden, which has been hours of work.
A lot of our followers will have missed things from their pre-Corona everyday lives, what have you missed the most?
Obviously the football which I have followed from a young age, not being able to pop into any shop to get stuff, seeing the grandchildren (of which there are many) and meeting my son Paul for a beer.
If you could be joining the team to capture an away match, where is your other favourite ground and why?
I travel to every away match and have been to almost every ground in the country. I don’t really like any of the new stadiums, they are all basically the same wherever you go.
I tend to remember the food before the match, our favourite was the home made giant shepherd’s pie for £5 at Kidderminster!
However, looking forwards and from what we have seen of Power Court, that will be so different. When Save Our Town started I remember thinking how organised it all was, a group not just ’talking’ but ‘doing’ and within a short space of time there were hundreds of people getting involved to ensure Power Court and Newlands Park happened. My dad used to talk of a new stadium many, many years ago and when I got involved with the football club, numerous mad plans were thrown at us. Now the plans are approved, it is going to happen – when the world calms down!
Speaking of favourites, please could you share with us your top three LTFC moments that you were there to capture and why?
There are many celebrations and ‘moments’ over the years but I have three black and white images that have a place in history. Please see the pictures below (©garethowen2020).
They are, of course, Mick Harford scoring against Manchester United (21/4/85)
Ricky Hill scoring against Everton at Villa Park (13/4/85)
Ricky Hill scoring against Everton at Villa Park ©garethowen2020
John Faulkner scoring against Fulham with George Best and Rodney Marsh for the opposition (15/10/77). All classics.
John Faulkner scoring against Fulham. ©garethowen2020
Whilst out in your garden you have turned your lens to capturing whatever nature decided to turn up in your garden, can you share your favourite lockdown photos with us too please and why?
There is always a camera with me when I am in the garden. My favourites? I captured a red kite, which hover above every day, a butterfly in flight, that one was a challenge, wild garlic on my run and a young blackbird being fed and lastly my home made cottage pie, I also love cooking. (please see pictures below – ©garethowen2020)
A red kite. ©garethowen2020
A butterfly in flight. ©garethowen2020
Wild garlic. ©garethowen2020
Gareth’s home made cottage pie. ©garethowen2020
We have heard many lovely stories of kindness in our community during this time, what will be your lasting memory of these pandemic days?
Strangers talking to each other in the street, that makes a nice change!
Now it is in the public domain that Nathan Jones has returned to manage the club, were you able to capture that first morning’s training on Thursday 28 May 2020?
I was called to the training ground on Thursday to do some ’training pics’. Nathan was there. I think this is a good move for us all. I have been very privileged to be in unique situations in our Club’s history.
(Please see announcement/training day picture below – ©garethowen2020)
Nathan Jones on his first training session after return to Luton for a second spell as manager
Our penultimate question, who did you never get to photograph and always wish you had?
The one person I would have liked to have photographed properly is my hero, Paul McCartney. I have got him at a couple of gigs but many years ago, my first wife and I were in London and while she was getting a ‘posh’ hair cut, I drove up to Macca’s house in St John’s Wood. Just as I arrived, Paul turned up on his Honda 50 with Linda, signed some things and gave me some photographs, which was great but I DIDN’T HAVE A CAMERA!
And finally, which players are the biggest posers?!
Posing players in the current team – obviously Pelly! Harry Cornick, Marek and Glenda (Glen Rea) love a pic, although Glenda won’t admit it!
Thank you for having me.