Military Photographer Feels 'Blessed' After MBE

The 20-year veteran has seen his work commended as part of the New Year's Honours.

A military sport photographer as called himself "lucky" and "blessed" after being awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.

Graeme Main was honoured after more than 20 years of following the military and capturing many of their sporting moments.

The 48-year-old has been to many big events including the Commonwealth Games and believes he is fortunate to get the opportunity.

He said: “I’ve been so lucky and so blessed that we have got so many good sporting athletes in the forces. I’ve been to Commonwealth Games and the highlight was going down to Melbourne which was just an amazing few days that we spent down there.

Graeme Main
Graeme Main is a regular fixture at many military sporting events.

“The last big Commonwealth Games I did was in Glasgow. Just to see the likes of boxers Alanna Nihell and Ashley Williams getting their medals and being there for that was just fantastic. You feel part of their story and really pleased to be there.

“A yearly trip to Twickenham for the Army vs Navy has got to be up there as one of the best jobs of the year without a doubt."

For the photographer, the honour came as a surprise at the end of November.

He said: “I opened up a very official-looking letter which I thought was an invitation for me to go to the courts to do something like that.

"It transpired that it was a letter from the cabinet office telling me that I’d been nominated for an MBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours list."

The award has also given him the opportunity to look back at some of his best and favourite work, including a shot taken on his first trip Bosnia.

"One of the pictures that I really remember was back in the early noughties," he said. “I really wanted to make a good impression but there wasn’t an awful lot going on.

"We were on a patrol and with my love of sport, I thought what am I going to do here?

Graeme Main
One of Graeme Main's most favoured photos is one taken in Bosnia (Picture: Graeme Main MBE/MOD).

“I got a couple of squaddies and we were in a playground with a couple of kids. The first thing that sprang to my mind was to throw a football in there and to get them playing football. It showed the interaction between the military and the local community.

“That seemed to work really well.  It put both of my genres together really and it came up with a great image.

That idea is something that the photographer continued to apply during his career including on a feisty trip to Afghanistan.

He said: “We were in Kabul and some kids were there knocking around with a big of wood so the first thing we did was say ‘right, let’s have a cricket match.’

“We got the wood out and used it as a bat. We got the guys to bowl a pebble in and stuff like that.

"It just shows the human side of what was happening in Afghanistan at the time.

"I found that if I bought the sport into it, that really worked for me."