An interview with Kelly

Good morning, Today’s event will be a chat with my friend and YFS colleague Kelly Neilson, she has slowly worked her way towards being the main visual collector for YFS and her photography skills are hugely valued by the footballing organisation, and her vast array of footballing images are used by youngsters to admire themselves in play. In her spare time she shows up to social events to abuse me for my excessive drinking and negative lifestyle (only looking out for your liver and wellbeing, Gillen )

*sips pretend green tea*

So to begin as per the tradition our audience would like to know a little about yourself?

My name is Kelly Neilson and as you mentioned I work as a photographer with YFS. I lived in Edinburgh for 5 years to study for a BA Photography and Film at Edinburgh Napier. I am documentary minded and this applies to everything I do from sports to street photography.

Define your role in YFS?

With YFS I get to pick the matches I want to photograph. I usually go to  games with other volunteers, mostly journalists. After the match, I go home, edit then upload to the YFS gallery and wait until the journalist has finished their match report, to see the final results. Sometimes I get asked my opinion about the technical aspects of photography which is not my strongest point, but i regularly collaborate with other YFS photographers and can usually come up with a better solution. I believe in teamwork because we aren’t all perfect and if we do work together, then we can achieve a lot more.

What inspired you to become involved in photography?

When I was 17, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. So I thought, as I quite like being creative, I tried out a NQ in Sound and Media with North Glasgow College, which worked very well for me so I then did a small course on photography and I was hooked.  After a NQ Photography i discovered it was the only creative medium where I understood the basics right away, and I could get better with it. Everything else from guitar, sound engineering or painting just didn’t work for me, but with Photography it was just love at first sight.

How did the prospect of YFS come about

I was looking for Photography opportunities on Gumtree and I saw the YFS advert looking for photographers to join their team so i thought “why not”

Usually you would need to show your portfolio and write a statement about why you want to be given an opportunity. YFS was quite simple, if you had a camera and you were willing to give a couple of hours of your time then you can join. I’ve been with YFS for almost a year and I have learned a lot from it and that in turn has made me a better photographer.

What was the best game you have covered?

It’s got to be the ladies Scotland vs Sweden game at Fir Park. It was the first time YFS were allowed to send a photographer to a non youth international game, so it was an entirely new experience to watch pro sport photographers doing their job and me being overly excited just to be there. I was asked by YFS if I wanted to I could pass on a few photographs to the SFA but I couldn’t because I spent the whole game photographing my favourite player, Nilla Fischer…

So what do you get up to in terms of visuals if it isn’t covering YFS games?

When I left University, I was told by one of my lecturers to never go back home and just live somewhere else. I suppose in her mind you will never learn about the world around you if you just stay in one place. A year ago I would have believed her but not anymore. We are living in exciting time in both Glasgow and Scotland due to the interest in politics and I want to be here to photograph what is going on. So far I have took pictures of YES rallies, protests, foodbanks, etc. I am also sending photographs to national and International competitions to hopefully win them or even simply get some credit. I’ve been using photos from the Commonwealth Game in Glasgow and women and girls football match. So fingers cross to get a mention on their websites or even to get my hands on the expensive prizes they give out.

*Cue Shameless Plugging*

So where exactly are clubs to go to obtain images of themselves in play?

At this moment I have a flickr account where I show non YFS games. So if there is an image you like, then feel free to tell me if you want a print or an image file and  then you pay through paypal. Nice and simple

How do we persuade you to show up at a game in order to have it covered if it isn’t YFS related?

It’s not very difficult to persuade me to come to a game. Travelling isn’t an issue because I love going to new places and as long as I know that the match will be entertaining then I’m happy.

There is a number of ways to get contact with me. You can tweet at @kneilsonphoto or sent an email at

I hope you have enjoyed todays chat with Kelly, she is now away to shout at RBS for a while, whilst im off for a coffee to avoid a crash.

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