Award-winning news photographer Roger Allen is making headlines of his own with the release of his autobiography, The Darkroom Boy.  Sub-titled, 40 Years in Fleet Street, this is the story of a lad from a poor council estate whose working life was destined to be spent on a building site slapping glazed tiles on the walls of bathrooms and toilets. A chance meeting with his old art teacher in the early 70’s sent him on a different path… jetting round the world covering some of the biggest news stories of the late twentieth century as a newspaper photographer. In the process, he learnt a great deal about life, death, celebrity and how to behave at the awards ceremonies where he was twice crowned British Photographer of the Year. He drank with Oliver Reed (copiously) tracked George Michael in the Hollywood hills, hunted showbiz fat cats like Michael Barrymore in America and real life lions on Woking high street. He travelled with John Major (exposing the parts that should never be mentioned let alone seen) and cooked curry for Shilpa Shetty and her mum while he minded her after she was released from the Big Brother house.He also dodged bullets in war and peace, from Bosnia to Belfast and from Kosovo to Cape Town. And on the way he took some pretty impressive pictures of what he saw. In spite of this he still kept a sense of humour and an innate sense of right and wrong. His memoirs, written without the aid of a ghost-writer, recall his journey from a news agency run by two northern hacks who punted stories and pictures to the daily papers to the heights of his trade. Through the murky days of the darkroom – dipping and dunking prints and processing film before taking the train to London to be shouted at and abused by the great and good of Fleet Street as he delivered photos to picture desks of the nations papers. Press photographers are seen as heartless coves. But The Darkroom Boy tells a different story – one of heartbreak and love, joy and laughter, rib-tickling humour and spine-tingling fear. He shows compassion not only to humans but also bears. Just ask the one Roger saved in Bosnia. If he could speak, he would say what a great tale this is.

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