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Former Crystal Palace snapper tells of 40-year prejudices

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THE UK's first female sports photographer, who started her career at Crystal Palace, has spoken out about the racism, sexism and ageism she has faced as she prepares an exhibition of the famous faces she has snapped during her 40-year career.

Hy Money has had a lot to contend with a lot during her life.

Born and raised in India at a British military boarding school in the tradition of the British Raj, she was taken to Bombay harbour by her mother on Christmas Day back in the late 1950s with a one-way ticket to the UK.

After overcoming racism from UK government officials to find work as a developer in a dark room, she eventually found her passion in sports photography, and during a career spanning 40 years, she has photographed some of the world's most famous sportsmen and women including Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, George Best and Mohammed Ali.

But it was far from an easy journey.

Hy said: "My mother took me to Bombay harbour with a Box Brownie camera and a one-way ticket and said, 'Take a photo of Buckingham Palace for us.' For a family growing up in the British Raj at the time, Buckingham Palace was like Mecca. But when I got to England it was very different from what I expected.

"They called me a very, very nasty name because I had tanned skin from living in a hot country and had India written all over my passport."

She began her sports photography career with Crystal Palace Football Club, but despite her success she encountered horrendous rejection at the hands of her male peers.

She explained: "I went to photograph a match at Wembley Stadium in the 1970s and the man at the press entrance said 'over my dead body.'

I had a press pass with my name on it but he said 'is there no place you women won't stick your nose in?' and he refused to let me in."

She was also the first female sports photographer to be accepted into the National Union of Journalists, although her male counterparts did their best to stop her from joining.

"Fifty male photographers formed a petition because they said I was taking away another man's job," she said.

"They said I worked for free and only did it as a way to entertain my children, which was not the case.

"You have to have two years' experience, which I did, so the union, they couldn't refuse me entry."

But despite the obstacles, the mother-of-four says her tough upbringing has helped her to achieve her dream.

Hy, who has been described as the "Emmeline Pankhurst of female sports photography, credits the Crystal Palace fans for making her feel welcome - "They've always supported me."

She was a familiar face at the club in the glory days of the late 80s and early 90s, photographing legends Mark Bright and Ian Wright and building a rapport with former chairman Ron Noades.

When Mr Noades died last year, the family asked Hy to take the pictures at his funeral.

As the pensioner reaches a new stage in her life, she says she refuses to let her age affect her energy and enthusiasm for her work.

"Ageism is definitely out there, and the sexism hasn't gone away either," she added.

"Sometimes I feel like I can't take any more 'isms,' but I've learnt to swallow it.

"My camera gives me all the joie de vivre I need."

Hy Money's exhibition at Eve Gallery, 1 Fircroft Way, Edenbridge, TN8 6EL is open now until November 14.

Entry is free. Visit www.hymoney.co.uk for more information

Former Crystal Palace snapper tells of 40-year prejudices


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