Meet the graduate we know as ‘Vegas’

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Vegard Grott at work. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the image. All pics by Vegard Grott (unless he is in them)

Vegard at work. Click to enlarge the image. All pics by Vegard Grott (unless he is in them)

I’ve seen so many Liverpool matches but one that stands out for me is when they beat Marseille 1-0 in a Champions League match at Anfield on November 26th, 2008. Steven Gerrard scored the winner.

Why do I remember this? It was the day I decided to move from Norway to start a new journey at LJMU. I certainly don’t regret it – three years in Liverpool truly changed my life.

By the time I began my bachelor’s degree studying International Journalism at John Moores in September 2009, I had little experience of the real world of journalism.

Yes, I had worked two brief summers at my local newspaper in western Norway, and I also spent my compulsory year with military service working as a journalist for the Royal Norwegian Army, but I had plenty to learn.

All I knew was that I had a desire to become a good journalist, who hopefully one day could write for a regional newspaper back in Norway.

I wanted to learn how to speak and write ‘sound’ English (I now say ‘sound’ in a different way to my Scouse mates), and I had also been told by a few friends that I took decent pictures. That was it really.

Now, over a year after graduating from JMU Journalism, I don’t write anymore – this is in fact my first written piece since April last year, but I take pictures for a living and I absolutely love it.

I can already tick off my list that I have covered the Champions League final, the FA Cup Final and over 80 Premier League matches. I have also worked at several international fixtures.

Although football matches are the best assignments I can get, I spend most of my time shooting everything else.

Vegard captures the moment when Didier Drogba scored in the 2012 Champions League Final (above), then ends up in the frame himself chasing the Chelsea match-winner

Vegard Grott captures the moment when Didier Drogba scored in the 2012 Champions League Final (above), then ends up in the frame himself behind the Chelsea match-winner. Click to enlarge the image.

In my archive, I can find pictures varying from Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty to Pink and Justin Bieber when it comes to music, from Aung San Suu Kyi and Herman van Rompuy to the Prime Minister of Norway in the world of politics, plus Hollywood actors to most Royal couples across Europe.

I have been working in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Italy, in addition to the UK and across most parts of Norway, over the course of the last 15 months.

My images have been published in newspapers and some magazines across Europe and the US, although mainly in the Norwegian press, and I can safely say that no two days are the same when working as a press photographer.

I have, for instance, been a pool snapper inside the Royal Palace in Oslo, captured the action from a bicycle race from a helicopter in Lofoten and also covered the trial of perpetrator of the 2011 Norway terror attacks.

All of this is down to the things I picked up from my time as a student in Liverpool. I can still remember every story I did for this website, like reporting on the 2011 Liverpool Marathon, the N30 public sector pensions strike, strike or even taking the skyline pictures for the JMU Journalism banner above this very text.

The countless hours sat pitching ideas with the JMU Journalism team (which I was awful at), working to deadlines, interviewing people in the streets and taking pictures to go with every story, improved my essential journalism skills and set the path for my current life as a professional photographer.

The mixture of working at both JMU Journalism and later for the local photo agency Propaganda Photo, proved to become a perfect match for my development as a photojournalist.

My workflow got faster every week, I got more comfortable with handling pressure and to deliver pictures live during matches, and from comparing my football pictures with the very best around I started to deliver better products.

In the end, my portfolio was good enough to get an opportunity at Scandinavia’s largest photo agency, Scanpix.

This progress can be summed up by three factors: hard work; a good contacts list and a portion of luck – in that order.

Vegard Grott's images have made the news in publications across Europe.

Vegard Grott’s photos have made the news in publications across Europe. Click to enlarge the image.

However, to get the good contacts list and to get lucky, you have to work hard, in my opinion.

“You are never better than your previous job,” is a phrase I often tell myself – and it works.

One of the best things about the job as a press photographer is the ability it gives you to cover things you would never normally get to experience in most walks of life.

Behind the camera you can often feel like a fly on the wall, and especially before or after you’ve done the job you can be observing candid glimpses, varying from footballers chatting outside the dressing room to royalties or politicians having a laugh.

I now live in Oslo and shoot for both Scanpix and Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten. It’s still hard work, and I have to keep developing as a photojournalist, be humble and continue to pursue the best jobs to survive in the business, but I could not dream of a better way to start my career.

With everything that’s happened over the last few years in mind, I’m only looking forward to see what the future brings.

It’s still Exciting Times.

About Vegard Grott, Website Legend