Ian Tyas

Ian Tyas grew up in Dartford, Kent and after his schooling, he decided to travel.

As a fresh-faced teenager, he hitch-hiked along the A2 to Dover with a plan to head to the glamour of Paris.

In Paris he earned money by selling American newspapers outside hotels to tourists during the day and at night playing folk music with friends in various bars and clubs. This work provided him with meals as well as small change and a local youth hostel provided the bed for the night.

The bright lights of Paris soon waned and within six months Tyas was heading back to the UK to find a career route that might be more lucrative and still give him the chance to travel.

Reaching Normandy on his way back to England he sat under the porch of a church where he had time to think.

‘’Sheltering from the rain, feeling sorry for myself I worked out what my next step should be …. Become a journalist and see the world but how?’’

Arriving home, he wrote to all the Fleet Street papers, photo agencies and the BBC. Most advised continuing with my education, but I wanted to continue living ‘real’ life.

Finally, he struck lucky and Bertram Garai of Keystone Press offered him a job as a ‘messenger boy’ which paid just enough wage to pay for a season ticket from Dartford to London.

Ian said ‘ Running around Fleet Street ,home of the newspaper industry for hundreds of years the heady aroma of ink from the huge printing machines, I found I was hooked for life.’

‘I learnt to print and create photos in the darkroom which I loved. I was then moved to the features department. I was still in my teens and living in Portobello Road during the 60’s. I photographed all around me and was very quickly made into the junior features photographer working alongside the great Chris Ware who helped and encouraged me a great deal. Chris also introduced me to a young French woman who became my wife, a marriage that has survived for 50 years.

Could an aspiring photographer do the same today? possibly, in many ways with new technology it is far easier to get work seen but in a very crowded market.

I’m sure it would less fun than when I did it but if you are determined and inclined then ‘just go for it’.
Ian Tyas