Ray Wells began his career in journalism as a caption writer with the Mirror Group after eventually returning from Libya, where he had been working on engineering projects until local conditions under the Gaddafi regime deteriorated to the point where he had to leave.
Wells spent seven years at The Mirror before becoming Picture Editor of the Fleet Street News Agency. After stints on The Mail on Sunday and The Observer, he joined The Times, then moved to become deputy picture editor of The Sunday Times under the editorship of Andrew Neil. For the last twenty-five years, Ray has been the Picture Editor and is one of the paper’s contributing photographers.
Wells believes that all Editors face serious issues when judging how far to intrude into the lives and sensibilities of their readers, particularly during war or when natural disasters occur. When the wire agencies and in-country photographers are on the spot, dramatic, often extremely graphic images are the inevitable result and present both a dilemma and a choice: how to balance reporting a harsh reality, for which brave men and women are often risking their lives, without losing your audience and increasingly, that precious subscription.
No easy answers there but as Picture Editors the world over are only as good as the photography they produce, Wells believes that despite the professional photographer’s ongoing struggle to survive we are also witnessing an age of technical innovation which liberates the best to capture the moment and in doing so produce truly extraordinary images like those on show at this exhibition.