Daily Mail photographer who snapped SAS storming Iranian Embassy dies

Award-winning Daily Mail photographer who snapped SAS storming the Iranian Embassy dies aged 66

  • Long-serving Daily Mail photographer Dave Parker has died at the age of 66 after a star-studded career
  • Parker won the British Press Photographer of the Year for his snaps of the SAS storming the Iranian embassy
  • Last night his wife Jacky said he ‘thrived on the excitement of the job, and loved meeting all the personalities’

His iconic photographs of the SAS storming the Iranian embassy won him an award – but Dave Parker might easily have missed it.

As a budding Fleet Street photographer when the siege happened in 1980, he was also trying to cover his patch at Heathrow Airport, and only agreed last minute to do a ‘shift’ at the embassy.

Parker, a long-serving Daily Mail photographer who has died aged 66, scooped British Press Photographer of the Year for his dramatic snaps.

Last night Jacky, his wife of 34 years, said: ‘The Iranian siege pictures were his pride and joy. He was just in the right place at the right time – but then, he always was.

‘He thrived on the excitement of the job, and loved meeting all the personalities.’

Dave Parker, a long-serving Daily Mail photographer who has died aged 66, scooped British Press Photographer of the Year for his dramatic snaps of the SAS storming the Iranian embassy

As a budding Fleet Street photographer when the siege happened in 1980, Parker (pictured) was also trying to cover his patch at Heathrow Airport, and only agreed last minute to do a ‘shift’ at the embassy

Parker photographed a reenactment of the D-Day landings for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings at Gold Beach in Arromanches in 2014

He also captured the moment Prince Harry and his then fiancé Meghan Markle announced their engagement at Kensington Palace in London in November 2017

Parker, from Crouch End, north London, enjoying a meal with his family. Left-to-right: His wife of 34 years, Jacky, son Andy, 32, and daughter, Sam, 34, who he walked down the aisle last year

His wife, Jacky, said: ‘The Iranian siege pictures (above) were his pride and joy. He was just in the right place at the right time – but then, he always was’

In a star-studded career spanning five decades, Parker photographed just about every well-known face on the planet. 

The Queen, the Dalai Lama, Prime Ministers and Presidents, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Joan Collins and Suzi Quatro were just some of the names caught in his frame. 

An ebullient Richard Nixon, arriving at Heathrow, even sought out Parker for a snap and a handshake. He photographed Princess Diana – and both her son’s weddings. 

In 1992, he was among the first on the scene of the Windsor Castle fire – thanks to his wife. ‘I was sitting in McDonald’s in Windsor and told him, “You’d better get here quick”,’ she recalled.

Born in Crouch End, north London, Parker studied photography at Isleworth polytechnic and got a job at a news agency aged 17. His big Fleet Street break came in 1980 with the Iranian embassy siege.

An ebullient Richard Nixon, arriving at Heathrow, sought out Parker for a snap and a handshake on his visit to the UK in 1973

In 1981, Parker took this picture of the Dali Lama. Parker said: ‘This is a picture I took of him in 1981 when I referred to him as Mr Lama! Much to his amusement and my embarrassment’

Parker captured the late singer Kenny Rogers in 1985. The photographer described the American singer-songwriter as an ‘absolute top guy’

Parker’s son Andy, 32, said: ‘After working 12 hours on a Friday, Dad drove three hours up to the Peak District to help me take time-lapse photos of the stars for a university film project. I love him so much and will miss him more than words can say’

His towering physical presence belied a soft nature, but sometimes his 6ft 3in stature was not unhelpful. On one job, surrounded by menacing yobs in a rough area, he barked at them, ‘Go home to your mums’, and they did. 

Last year Parker walked his daughter Sam, 34, down the aisle at her wedding. She said: ‘I am so grateful he was able to do that. Dad would always be there for me. 

‘There was a time where I had just passed my driving test and broke down on a roundabout. I called dad to help, even though he was miles away on a job with Richard Branson in the middle of the Mojave Dessert. He would always bring this up to his amusement.’

Parker’s son Andy, 32, said: ‘After working 12 hours on a Friday, Dad drove three hours up to the Peak District to help me take time-lapse photos of the stars for a university film project. 

‘We spent four hours under the stars, in zero degree weather. Dad didn’t even hesitate to do that for me, in fact he insisted. I love him so much and will miss him more than words can say.’

In a star-studded career spanning five decades, Parker photographed just about every well-known face on the planet. Parker took this picture of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger in 1984

The Queen, Prime Ministers and Presidents, Tom Jones (above, in 1984), Joan Collins and Suzi Quatro were just some of the names caught in his frame

Jacky said: ‘He thrived on the excitement of the job, and loved meeting all the personalities. He only retired less than two years ago, he had his knee replaced, and he was enjoying a new lease of life. In the New Forest, he walked and walked, and loved every minute of it’

Mrs Parker – herself an award-winning nature photographer – said: ‘He only retired less than two years ago, he had his knee replaced, and he was enjoying a new lease of life. 

‘In the New Forest, he walked and walked, and loved every minute of it.’

Parker collapsed on Tuesday evening as he set up his tripod on a Hampshire beach to photograph the Sturgeon full moon. 

His wife said: ‘He loved the forest and the sea, and he died by the sea with a camera in his hand – and I know that is the way he would have chosen to go.’

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