Galleries

Michael Cole

Michael's first encounter at Wimbledon was in 1969 when his father, Arthur Cole (who, by this time, had over 20 years’ coverage of the championships under his belt), managed to get Michael onto a front-row seat on Centre Court’s west side with the newspaper photographers. Armed with his little black Pentax SV SLR with a manual shut-down 135mm and fƒ/2.8 Tamron lens, along with a piece of invaluable advice from his father about where to focus his attention, Michael starting shooting the action. This match just happened to be the epic Pancho Gonzales v Charlie Pasarell 'marathon', which, at 5 hours 20 minutes, was the longest match in Wimbledon history – a record only broken in 2010. It wasn’t long before Michael found his feet and started shooting tennis professionally, with sports publications around the world running his shots with that all-important credit line. Michael’s education in fine art and graphic design in the early 1960s turned out to be a great grounding for his later work. New York-based Racquet magazine, which regularly ran his work in the 80s and 90s, said: “Michael's training as a fine artist is evident in his eye for colour and form and his ability to capture that special moment of a match. His tennis photography, by his own admission, tends to be quirky, focused less on the game than on its personalities, its settings, its unexpected – often unnoticed – moments.” The appreciation was mutual. Michael says of working for Racquet magazine: “They really appreciated my work and, unlike all the other publications, would run stuff away from the tennis … ten-second exposures of deck chairs flapping away on Eastbourne beach before the tennis started!” Michael’s best-selling image came in 1981 when John McEnroe was crowned champion at Wimbledon. The image of Mac's victory moment was taken on Centre Court, just below and beside the Royal Box, a spot that has since become the prime location for capturing victory moments. Having just covered his 46th consecutive Wimbledon Championships, Michael has begun to branch out into different subject areas, including vintage car racing at various circuits. It seems there is no sign of him hanging up his cameras just yet. “I have looked to Fixation for purchases, repairs and friendly help and advice, always with 100% confidence and trust in their professionalism,” says Michael. “When you HAVE to spend lots of money for your new toys, there's no better place to go and it's conveniently situated in London. It's unique!”