TOP SPOT: Paul Kingston at one of his favourite viewpoints at The Lendings, Barnard Castle
TOP SPOT: Paul Kingston at one of his favourite viewpoints at The Lendings, Barnard Castle

A photographer who brought the beauty of Teesdale to newspaper and magazine readers across the country for more than a decade is moving on. Reporter Martin Paul met him

AWARD-winning lensman Paul Kingston is trading in his digital SLR for a television news camera at ITV Tyne Tees.

As a photographer for North News and Pictures, Mr Kingson’s photographs of scenes in Teesdale and further afield have been frequently snapped up by the national media including the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.

The Sunday Times said his work had featured in the Picture of the Week feature more times than anyone else.

A picture Paul Kingston took in Teesdale in March
A picture Paul Kingston took in Teesdale in March

The former Whorlton resident said it had been his ambition to be a TV cameraman from childhood and as a primary school pupil he would fashion his own camera from rolls of cardboard and shoeboxes to “film” his classmates playing football. Later in the 1980s he would work out where the cameras were while watching Top of the Pops.

On December 13, 1995, after completing his GCSEs he wrote in his red National Record of Achievement Folder that his first career choice was to be a TV cameraman, and second choice as news photographer. By remarkable coincidence, it was exactly 23 years later to the day last year, that he attended the job interview with ITV.

Initially it looked like he would take an altogether different career path. Without the correct qualifications he was unable to study media and instead enrolled for a bricklaying and joinery course at Darlington College.

The father-of-two said: “I didn’t like being stuck inside doing technical drawings. I liked the hands-on stuff but I just hated being inside, so I just left.”

He turned to volunteering as a youth worker and was later employed in the field.

His break into professional photography came when he decided to test out his new camera while watching Darlington Football Club. The team’s regular corporate photographer hadn’t

turned up and the commercial manager asked Mr Kingston to take some photographs.

He was quickly recruited by the club and later he earned a place at North News, where he achieved his second choice ambition and covered a wide variety of news events.

Northallerton Heating

Along the way he picked up a North East News Photographer of the Year Award. About a decade a ago, he turned his hand towards weather and scene photography that would earn him national recognition.

A dramatic photograph he took of waves crashing into Whitehaven during a storm earned him a top spot in public vote category of the Royal Meteorological Society Photography Awards.

Some of his favourite shots in Teesdale have been barns at Bowlees and Gibson’s Cave when it has been iced over.

Another favourite is the chapel at Harwood after a snow fall using a 200mm lens.

Commenting on where he gets ideas, Mr Kingston said: “A lot of time it us is driving around. If I have time and I am going to Cumbria I will go over the top to Brough – gazing out of the window I might see something.

“I get a lot of inspiration from other photographers. You see how they have taken it, then I take it from a news angle.

“If you have got someone in it doing something, it brings in the human element. Like the walker along Hadrian’s Wall – this tiny little figure shows the vastness of it.”

Cow Green in January
Cow Green in January

Another photograph taken earlier this year shows a dramatic line of Swaledale sheep walking in the snow with the sun rising in the background. Mr Kingston said he had aimed at taking a photograph of Tan Hill Inn in the snow at sunrise, and when he arrived by sheer luck there was a hungry flock that decided to follow him around in the hope of getting something to eat.

He said: “I do think you make your own luck by having an idea of where and when you want to be, everything else you get along the way is a bonus.”

Mr Kingston has since moved to Darlington and will take up his new role with ITV on January 28, having realised his first childhood ambition, albeit two decades later on.

To see some of Mr Kingston’s work visit northnews.co.uk.