1994 – Founded Harrison Photography
1983 – 1993 staff photographer with Pacemaker Press
1976 – 1982 Photographer Ballymena Guardian
During John’s seven years at the Ballymena Guardian he covered everything from dinner dances, political rallies many of which were led by Ian Paisley local MP who was very active in the ‘Ulster Says No’ protests. John also covered terrorist attacks, Royal visits including the Queen’s Silver Jubilee visit to the University of Ulster, Coleraine 1977. John’s coverage of this visit was used for the full front page of all the Northern Newspaper Group’s newspapers. So at 17 years old this kept him on his career path.
In 1983 John moved to Pacemaker Press International which at the time was the leading Photo agency in Ireland covering mainly hard news with regular terrorist incidents. On John’s first day with Pacemaker he was assigned to a shooting scene at Newtownabbey and his picture was sent around the World and appeared on all the front pages locally and nationally the next day.
During this time, John photographed major incidents and events, such as the Enniskillen Bomb blast in 1987 and International sporting events such as Ireland Rugby Matches and Northern Ireland Football matches (both at home and away).
While in Pacemaker Press John worked for a number of major news outlets across the world, including – Time Magazine , Newsweek, US News and World Report and all the Worldwide News Agencies, Associated Press, Reuters and European Press Agency(EPA).
In 1994 John formed John Harrison Photography with the aim of specialising in Public Relations type Photography using his newspaper skills to provide a service for clients such as PR companies and Government Departments to supply more creative pictures in a faster time to the media. Turnaround at this time was generally around two days and he knew that pictures should be going out along with the news releases on the day so he had to bring the time down to 2-3 hours. John built on his relationships with picture editors and journalists by advising them of photos available covering major news stories and was able to deliver them within the tight print deadlines of the news outlets. He was building a strong reputation as a highly creative photographer and being able to deliver quality pictures to meet the needs of the press and clients. This has allowed the business to grow, becoming the leading photographic agency in Ireland, employing a total of seven dedicated staff.
Harrison Photography has an enviable client list, working with most of Northern Ireland’s Public Relations companies and directly with many private sector companies, including blue chip companies in food and retail sectors eg Marks and Spencer, McDonalds, Safeway, Ulster Bank, First Trust, BT, NTL, NIE and ESB IE.
John has personally been involved in a large number of prestigious assignments. He has been appointed Official Photographer for Three Historic President Clinton Visits to Northern Ireland, The Queen’s Golden Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland , Prime Minister Blair’s visits and President George W Bush summit with Tony Blair at Hillsborough Castle in 2003. High profile assignments with the Northern Ireland First and Deputy First Minister to Washington, St Louis and Brussels and Economic Development Ministerial trips to Boston, New York, Toronto, Paris and London have also been covered.
This clearly demonstrates the creative skill of John and furthermore his ability to work with people from all backgrounds to achieve the right result for the client.
John was the Northern Ireland Press Photographers Association Chairman in 2009.
During his career, John has won many photographic awards for his work, including:
” three overall NI Press Photographer of the Year Awards
” Six Northern Ireland Sports Photographer of the Year Titles
” Press Photographers Association of Ireland News Winner (Enniskillen Bombing coverage)
” Kodak British Press Awards Winner (twice) once for Royalty and Once for Sport
” Winner IPR Northern Ireland press awards Photographer of the Year
” Guinness Photographer of the Year – Picture Story Section
” Vodafone Photographer of the Year Sport Section 2003
” Vodafone Photographer of the Year Picture Story Section 2005
In 2008 John was awarded the MBE for services to photography in Northern Ireland.
” Northern Ireland Press Photographer of the Year 2009 – Politics
” Northern Ireland Press Photographer of the Year 2nd Place 2009 – Business/PR