LIFELONG Hartlepool United fan Joe Spence has one of the best seats in the house taking pictures from the pitchside at Victoria Park on matchdays – and he only took up photography two years ago.
The 18-year-old’s interest in the subject was sparked by using the photography app Instagram.
Now, his photography teacher at English Martyrs RC School and Sixth Form College, Dave Carless, says Joe is the best young photographer he’s ever seen on the course.
And that ringing endorsement is matched by Mark Simpson, media manager at Hartlepool United, who has been mightily impressed with Joe’s matchday pictures since he made his debut with the camera at Victoria Park when Pools thumped Newport Country 3-0 in February.
Mark said: “We were looking to give a young photographer the opportunity on matchdays so they could get the experience and we could get a few photographs straight up on our website immediately after the game for our fans.
“Dave recommended Joe and before his first game I told just to enjoy it and if he could get five or six pictures for the website that would be great. He took 500 photographs.”
Joe, who lives in the Rift House area of Hartlepool, said: “It’s different to any photography I have done in the past, but I’m absolutely loving it.
“I’m so grateful of the opportunity.”
Joe and Mark both praised the Mail’s Hartlepool United photographer, Frank Reid, who has supported the teenager and offered some useful words of advice.
Joe, who is also studying iMedia and ICT at college, added: “I’m a Pools fan so it’s absolutely brilliant for me, being able to photograph the team I support on matchdays.”
Mr Carless said: “When Mark spoke to me about the opportunity for a young photographer at Pools I immediately thought of Joe.
“He’s taken the opportunity with both hands.
“I have seen the photographs he’s been taking on a matchday, it’s like he’s been doing it for years.
“He’s doing a fantastic job.”