Simon Brown is a freelance journalist who writes about motorcycle touring above water, and wildlife and wrecks below. His work has appeared in UK’s DIVE magazine, and Germany’s Unterwasser.
FeaturesExec caught up with Simon to discuss the HMS Royal Oak, and to find out what feature he’d most like to write and what he’s been reading lately.
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
The majority of my photography and journalism work is about the underwater world. Wildlife, wrecks, travel destinations and military divers are features I have covered in the past. Above the waves, motorcycle touring is another favourite, but I tend to avoid anything tarmac-based.
Where are we likely to see your work?
Both DIVE magazine here in the UK and Unterwasser in Germany run a lot of my underwater work. Natural World magazine uses some of my wildlife images and BIKE magazine have used my motorcycle material.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
Without question, photographing HMS Royal Oak. It’s a protected wreck in Scapa Flow. 834 men were lost when the ship was torpedoed in 1939 and I was invited to document the wreck by the Royal Navy for the 70th anniversary of her loss. Marine life has softened the military lines and the ship has now become a hauntingly beautiful resting place. As for motorcycling, touring Namibia was very special and financially successful. The feature has been licensed many times.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I have an ideas board full of potentials. To document the underwater world of the Pantanal wetland in Brazil is very near the top.
About you and PRs:
Where do you source ideas for articles?
Talking to the public. Researching my own interests. Following up on leads. Staying in contact with key sources.
How can PRs be useful to you?
By finding out what has never been photographed or what makes a destination unique.
How and when do you like them to get in touch?
PRs rarely get in touch, but ideas are always welcome. Telephone contact is preferred.
Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
All are very useful. I pick up on ideas at places like these.
How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
Put the Pantanal wetland project on the “going” list.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Never be the cheap guy. Understand your market sector, its needs, wants and desires.
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
I have just read the Black Swan – The impact of the highly improbable, by Nassim Nicolas Taleb. Highly recommended. The Bottom Line podcast is on the subscription list.
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