Ladies, gentlemen… let’s take a quick stroll in the backstage of an ICW event. No, we won’t be telling you any secrets of the trade – but we will introduce you to the man who takes pictures so lively that by watching them you feel you are at the show, so good that you’d like to print them out and cover your walls with them… the amazing Mr. David J. Wilson, first of his name!
WtW: First of all: how does one (or rather, how did you) become the official photographer of Scottish wrestling – besides being a really good photographer, that is?
MrDJW: I fell in to it by accident really – I have always been into photography, I just started at ringside by taking snaps with my children and then because there was a lack of any good photos of the scene I just stepped up and suddenly here I am.
WtW: Before you started spending most of your weekends ringside taking pictures, how much were you into wrestling, and specifically into local/Scottish wrestling?
MrDJW: Wrestling was this foreign sport that didn’t happen in Scotland, or so I thought. From listening to Alex Shane on TalkSport with Tommy Boyd, I discovered SWA and that Shane would be on a show!
Wow, real wrestling, not just the WWF but live wrasslin – I had to go! And I’ve never left since.
WtW:. For the photography buffs here: what equipment do you use?
MrDJW: One kit Nikon d90 and a multitude of lens too boring to bore you with.
WtW: How is your preparation before working at a show, normally? Is there anything specific you usually need to do?
MrDJW: I turn up, see the card and generally wing it – sometimes knowing what is going to happen dulls the photo taking, best to be on your toes and expect the unexpected.
WtW: Are you told, before a match (or a show), to expect some particularly memorable moments, just to make sure you’ll take the right picture, or are you kept in the dark?
MrDJW: One word: kayfabe.
WtW: What is the best (wrestling) picture you took, in your own opinion?
MrDJW: Ooft, hard one – go with Wolfgang’s dive at the Barrowlands with ICW – that springs to mind.
WtW: More or less, what percentage of the pictures at any given show makes its way to the public?
MrDJW: Around 90% of all images end up online – the purpose of all my work is to showcase the lads and lassies who actually compete in this crazy sport. If my pictures can assist anyone one of them in any way I consider my job is done.
WtW: Are there any wrestlers you find particularly easy to take good pictures of while they are on the ring, and any you struggle a little more with? And why?
MrDJW: Each wrestler has his or her own challenge, but as I get to know their ring style it’s actually easy, believe it or not. The more seasoned wrestlers know how to work my camera and video camera – experience is all. Watch guys like Galloway, Chavo Guerrero, Vader: they know how to stand, hold belts right way round and generally pose to make themselves look good – this makes it easy for me.
WtW: Being always at ringside, you are quite often exposed to more danger than most from flying wrestlers and similar debris; is there any anecdote you want to share?
MrDJW: It’s not really my “job”, I stay out of the way, I try to be invisible… although I did end up under a ringside barrier once.
WtW: Is there a promotion you feel particularly comfortable working with, and why?
MrDJW: SWA is my first and favourite company – simply it was my first ever live show.
WtW: Any “backstage” anecdotes you are willing (and allowed) to share?
MrDJW: The curtain should always remain closed.
WtW: You never wrestled yourself, but you’re close enough to the action and to many wrestlers, so: what do you answer to the people who claim that “wrestling is fake”? [yes, this is a question EVERYONE gets. No way out]
MrDJW: Get in the ring with Johnny Moss and tell him it’s fake.
WtW: This space is for you to plug anything: your Twitter feed, Instagram, whatever.
With this we conclude our interview with one of the unsung heroes of ICW, Mr. David J. Wilson, first of his name (yes, he asked me to call him so).
…’til next time.