Sally Soames

Sally Soames (née Winkleman; 21 January 1937 – 5 October 2019) was a British newspaper photographer.[2] She worked for The Observer for a period from 1963, and after a spell as a freelance, for The Sunday Times (1968–2000).[3]


Soames was born in London as Sally Winkleman.[1] Leonard, her father, was a businessman, art connoisseur and a member of the Communist Party.[4] She was educated at King Alfred School in Golders Green, and St Martin’s College of Art, both in London.[4]

She won an Evening Standard photography competition, winning five guineas, for her photograph of a youth in Trafalgar Square on New Year's Eve, 1960.[1][5] "My first photograph was my best photograph. What I was doing was fearless; in latter years I was more professional, a bit institutionalised", she told Barbara Hodgson in 2010.[6]

Her first regular work as a photographer was for The Observer in 1963.[7] After a period as a freelance, during which time her work also appeared in also appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times, Soames joined the staff of The Sunday Times in 1968, remaining with the newspaper until 2000.[3] She did not restrict herself to portraits of the prominent, which she described as being "photographs of people", but worked in war zones as well. She documented the 1973 Arab–Israeli War with Sunday Times reporter Nicholas Tomalin who wrote in his last dispatch, while bombs around them were exploding, that Soames was "the first Englishwoman photographer to stand bolt upright throughout (an air attack) snapping pictures as if she were covering a golf tournament".[6] Soames suffered Posttraumatic stress disorder after witnessing Tomalin's death during the conflict.[2]

Soames worked exclusively in black and white, almost always using available natural light.[6] She refused to work in colour, which she considered a form of "vulgarity", although newspapers had by then switched to colour printing.[2][1] Her work was used by numerous television and film companies in the UK and the US.[7]

Soames lived in London her whole life.[7] She married Leonard Soames, owner of the Snob high street clothing chain, but divorced in 1966; the couple had one son, Trevor, who is a barrister and photographer. Physical mobility problems brought her career to an end.[2][1][8] Her nieces are Claudia and Sophie Winkleman, respectively a television presenter and actress.[1][2]

Soames died on 5 October 2019 aged 82, at her home in North London.[1] Her portraits are held in two London collections, the National Portrait Gallery (Edward Heath and Salman Rushdie) and Victoria and Albert Museum (Rudolf Nureyev and Lord Denning).[2] She donated her personal collection of photographs and documents to the Scott Trust Foundation.[3][6]


  • Manpower. London: André Deutsch, 1987. ISBN 978-0233981116. With text by Robin Morgan and an introduction by Harold Evans.
  • Writers. London: André Deutsch, 1995. ISBN 978-0233989457. With a preface by Norman Mailer.


Soames' work is held in the following permanent public collections:

  • National Portrait Gallery, London: 17 prints (as of October 2019)[7]
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London: 2 prints (as of October 2019)[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Thorpe, Vanessa (5 October 2019). "Newspaper photographer Sally Soames dies at 82". The Observer. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Sally Soames obituary". The Times. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019. (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c "Sally Soames Catalogue". GNM Archive. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Sally Soames, Fleet Street photographer celebrated for her revealing black and white portraits of the famous – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Farewell to photographer Sally Soames". The Sunday Times. 6 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019. (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b c d Hodgson, Barbara (25 June 2013) [30 August 2010]. "News photographer's busy life through the lens". The Journal. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Trevor Soames". Trevor Soames. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Your Search Results". Retrieved 6 October 2019.

Content from Wikipedia. Licensed under CC-BY-SA.