Beckenham photographer left retail for award-winning career behind camera lens

PUBLISHED: 09:25 27 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:25 27 June 2013

David Flynn

David Flynn


From the original 19th Century Kodak, to the Polaroid and now the digital SLR.

This picture of an egret leaving the waters of Kelsey Park earned Dave his Societies award.This picture of an egret leaving the waters of Kelsey Park earned Dave his Societies award.

The art of photography has evolved massively over more than 150 years and today is more accessible to anyone and everyone who decides they have an eye for an image.

For some it can even turn from a whim into a profession and, as with Beckenham photographer Dave Flynn, even lead to prestigious awards.

The Dublin-born snapper chose photography as a career just three years ago, having spent 15 years working for various companies in the world of retail.

His sudden redundancy kick-started a whirlwind period that ended with him being handed the title of Nature and Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012, by The Societies – a worldwide group for professional photographers.

A cheetah resting before its next speedy sprint.A cheetah resting before its next speedy sprint.

“I had no idea what I was doing when I got my first decent camera,” says Dave. “I didn’t really understand it, but I learned everything through websites and manuals.

“What really inspired me most was seeing a photography magazine in a doctor’s surgery. It was then I decided to learn how to do exactly what I’d seen in there.”

Living a stone’s-throw from Kelsey Park with his wife and two children, in Beckenham High Street, Dave says he spent a lot of time treading the grass and trying to catch the perfect image of the wildlife there.

Herons, ducks, geese and foxes can all be found easily enough – but it was a young eglet bursting from the water that caught the Irishman’s attention and led to industry praise.

A curious goose gets a closer look at Dave's lens.A curious goose gets a closer look at Dave's lens.

Spotting a monthly competition on The Societies website, Dave entered and was surprised to see his eglet shot win gold.

He said: “I received a little certificate in the post, but I didn’t realise how big The Societies are when I joined. It was only when I was invited to London for an awards ceremony that I knew I’d done well.

“I’d been nominated for the nature photographer of the year award. I didn’t think I had a chance, but they called my name and I was so shocked. I still am.”

Having travelled to England as a fledgling barman in 1987, his national award win in January was a major coup for Dave – who may have found his natural talent passed down from his dad.

He added: “He was always carrying a camera, but I didn’t have a major interest. I’ve always had an eye for an image though, so maybe that was from him.”

Dave is now looking to develop his technical ability as a photographer, and is offering “fantasy portraits” in which his subjects are put into bizarre and surreal backdrops.

“They’re portraits with a difference”, he explains. “I’ve done a David and Goliath one to date, but you can literally put someone in any situation. If they’re a coffee drinker I can have them sat on the edge of a coffee cup, or fantasy fans can be stood inside a dragon’s cave.”

n For more information about Dave’s photography, visit or follow him on Twitter @digitalfingers.

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