Matthew Butson oversees the archive at Getty Images and has been with the archive for three decades. Here Matt tells the story of the Photographer that captured the seminal moment when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile.
On May 5, 1954, a twenty-five year old athlete would go to bed as an unknown. The following evening, Bannister would go to bed and be known the world over as the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, A remarkable feat at the time.
Roger Bannister, a British medical student ran the distance in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds at the Iffley Road track in Oxfordshire. The run was well planned with two pacemakers Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway to force Bannister to keep on their heels.
From the gun Brasher took the lead with Bannister keeping up with him in second place and Chataway to the rear. At nearly half a mile Brasher was feeling the pace and Bannister signalled Chataway to overtake and take up the pace-maker position.
With 200 yards to run Bannister kicked hard and took the lead and, with a final burst of what energy he had left, he made it to the tape to collapse in the arms of his friend the Reverend Nicholas Stacey. The crowd of just 3,000 caused chaos and cheered ecstatically on hearing the record time had been run and Bannister was, for the moment, the fastest man on earth.
Nowadays there would have been cameras all around the area covering every stride that Bannister had made but on that day there was just one press photographer on the scene.
The same photographer at one time had singer Frank Sinatra on the floor of a London cinema in a headlock after attacking a photographer colleague. Who was the man behind the camera? Step forward Norman Potter.