The first front page photo

Brian Harris remembers taking photos for the first front page of The Independent at the Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth on 6 October, 1986. He took photos of heavily armed policemen, which was still unusual at the time. Below you can see the photo that actually ran and the photo Harris would’ve preferred.

Storyteller: Brian Harris

Date of Story: 6 October, 1986
Location of Story: Bournemouth, UK
Location: Outside Cambridge, UK
Date: 6 April, 2016

The Independent’s first front page. Photograph by Brian Harris for The Independent © Taken from …and then the Prime Minister hit me… by Brian Harris.
The image that should’ve been on the front page! Tory conference in Bournemouth 6 October 1986. Photograph by Brian Harris for The Independent © Taken from …and then the Prime Minister hit me… by Brian Harris.
In the 1970s Brian Harris worked in the heart of London’s Fleet Street, freelancing for The Sun, The Times, News of the World, the BBC and United Press International, covering everything from IRA bombings to celebrity news, until joining The Times as its youngest ever staff photographer aged twenty-five. When The Independent launched in 1986, Brian became its first staff photographer, playing a key role in forming the renowned Indy style of intelligent editorial photography. In his fourteen years at The Independent Brian travelled the world to cover the stories that defined the era.
Since going freelance in 1999, Brian has staged several solo exhibitions, notably at Photofusion Photography Centre, and has contributed to exhibitions organised by the British Press Photographers’ Association. In 2006-7 he collaborated with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on Remembered, a major illustrated book of his photographs and series of international touring exhibitions chronicling the CWGC’s work caring for the graves of over 1.7 million Commonwealth war dead.
The BBC has made three short documentaries about his working methods and he has debated live on Radio 4’s The Moral Maze: ‘An experience more terrifying than walking through a minefield on the Falkland Islands.’
In the spring of 2016 Brian’s book ‘…and then the Prime Minister hit me…’ a 320 page hard back book of images and essays covering his life’s work. The book is currently being printed and bound in England and will be available from mid-late April 2016.