Phil Coomes, Picture editor

Phil Coomes Picture editor

Exploring the world of photojournalism, photos in the news and BBC News' use of photographs, including those by our readers

Ten of the best Ryder Cup photos

Lee Westwood celebrates a putt

As the best golfers from Europe and the US converge on Gleneagles for the 40th Ryder Cup, Press Association photographer David Davies reveals what it is like to cover the prestigious golfing event and selects some of his favourites from past competitions.

Working as a photographer for the Press Association (PA) means my working day is far from the norm. Only this week I'll be sharing each day with some of the best golf players in the world, as I cover my sixth Ryder Cup and my fourth for PA.

I have always had a warm place in my heart for Gleneagles, as my work here at the Scottish Open in 1989 allowed me to cover my first Ryder Cup a few months later at the Belfry. Hopefully the course's familiar surroundings might give me the upper hand this time around when trying to capture those unique shots every media outlet wants.

Over the years this event has stood out on the calendar and been one I have always enjoyed covering, mainly because the atmosphere around the course is very special with huge galleries on each day of competition - I fully expect the same again this year.

I'm tasked with capturing all that the event provides, highlighting the player's mistakes and heroics, the crowd's jubilation and commiseration, and hopefully the indefatigable Poulter roar.

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Echoes of the Black Country


In the 1960s, Britain's industrial landscape was changing. Factories that were once the centre of the country's power and prosperity were shutting down. The physical landscape too was in flux, with derelict buildings dotting the once thriving industrial regions, some of which were now in decline.

Photographer Peter Donnelly set out to record these changes, having won a photography competition in the Daily Telegraph in 1962 with images taken near his home, around Birmingham and the Black Country.

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Urban kingfishers making a home on London's waterways

Kingfisher feeding it's young

Tomos Brangwyn has been photographing wildlife since he was a child growing up in south London and in recent years has turned his attention to taking pictures of kingfishers living in London's network of concrete water channels.

Here Brangwyn offers an insight into the project which is also part of a film for the BBC's The One Show.

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Scottish referendum: The view from the border

Marshall Meadows Point

Anyone travelling overland across the border that divides Scotland and England would be hard-pressed to note where one begins and the other ends, though it was not always so - the remains of a large wall are testament to that. But whatever the outcome of the Scottish referendum on 18 September it will be just one more twist in the often violent history of the border region between the two countries. Scottish photographer Alan Knox has produced a fascinating piece of work, entitled Debatable Land, in which he explores the paths that run along and cross the border.

Here Alan Knox offers an insight into his timely project.

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The vanishing islands of Kiribati

Atoll seen from above, En Route to Tarawa

The Republic of Kiribati is probably best known as being the first inhabited place on Earth to greet the new millennium, yet these low lying atolls are under threat from rising sea levels, something that drew photographer Giulietta Verdon-Roe to spend a month documenting daily life on the slowly vanishing islands.

The 33 atolls, of which 21 are inhabited, are found in the South Pacific and were formerly known as the Gilbert Islands before gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. They stretch nearly 2,500 miles (4,000km) from east to west and more than 1,200 miles (2,000km) from north to south.

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Soundings From The Estuary

Hoo St. Werburgh, 2009

The Thames Estuary has drawn photographers to its shores for many years, each one looking to capture the wide open skies and the remnants of past industrial sites.

Photographer Frank Watson is one of these, and his long-running project, Soundings From The Estuary, is about to be published.

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Found Cambodian family portraits

From the series, Found Cambodia

It can be argued, fairly strongly I believe, that the social history of the 20th Century is held within the family photo album.

These precious memories are often lost to us for one reason or another - but even when removed from the hands of the people whose lives they portray, there is a wealth of information to be had for anyone caring to look hard enough.

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A community's tales

By their very nature, portrait photographs are silent, mute, allowing the viewer to layer on their own meaning and even to conjure up the personality of the sitter. One photographer, Damian Drohan is tackling this by creating a sound-portrait, which is simply an audio recording of the subject shown alongside their portrait. He has used the technique on his latest project that looks at residents of Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, Ireland, and here he explains what it is about this approach that appeals to him.

Richard Avedon once famously said: "All photographs are accurate - none of them are the truth." He recognised the limitations of the medium, or at least its descriptive abilities. He pushed the descriptive abilities to a level seldom, if ever surpassed.

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Chinese foot binding

Bound feet

Close-up shots of people's feet may not be the first choice of subject for a photo project, but Jo Farrell's pictures of the last remaining women in China with bound feet act as both a link to the past and a fascinating portrait of those involved.

Foot-binding is believed to have begun during, or just before, the Song Dynasty in China around the 10th Century, and became widespread within a couple of hundred years. Bound feet were seen as a status symbol for wealthy women who did not need to work, although eventually the practice became widespread.

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Tour de France and the selfie

Katie Holroyde took this selfie with the two Tour de France favourites
Katie Holroyde took this selfie of the two Tour de France favourites from the side of the road

For fans of any sport, close to the action is where you want to be. Why watch from a distance when you can reach out and touch your sporting hero?

For some events, that's not practical - but in others, there has always been a desire to get close, one being the Tour de France.

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More Correspondents

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  • Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

    How technology is changing the world and shaping our lives

About Phil

Phil has worked in the photographic arena for many years, as both a photographer and picture editor, primarily at the BBC where he has covered news stories, features and audio slideshows, both in the UK and abroad.

He obtained a BA (Hons) in photography from the University of Westminster where he studied under Andy Golding, Tom Ang and Gus Wylie, the latter of whom instilled in him his love of the colour photographic document and street photography.

Despite the obvious advantages of digital photography in news, Phil can often be found running film through his old cameras and spent 64 weeks shooting a project to mark the end of Kodachrome in 2010.

Phil is a member of the British Press Photographers Association.

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