National Autism awareness month: Football photographer achieves one of his greatest dreams

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Autistic football photographer Anthony Dunn achieved one of his greatest dreams at the weekend as he covered a Premier League game for the first time.

Dunn became a photographer in August 2020, but could not attend any matches for four months during lockdown.

But over the last year and a half the 23-year-old has been a photographer for different non-league, grassroots and professional matches in the Championship or FA Cup.

He was an official photographer at Molineux when Wolves took on Aston Villa on Saturday April 2. This was his first ever Premier League game.

Dunn said: “It felt unreal, it was really crazy to be at Molineux, the week before I was at Tividale v Racing Club Warwick, followed by two glass girls’ games then all of a sudden, I’m in a premier league stadium covering a derby game surrounded by many famous international players. It was one the best experiences to ever have.”

The Oldbury man, became interested in photography in December 2019, after taking photos of his friend after her phone died while visiting the German Market.

He has gone from going out and taking random photos on his phone, to attending numerous football games across all different leagues. However, he said he doesn’t really have any inspirations for becoming a photographer.

Dunn added: “Nothing really inspired me to become a photographer if I’m honest. I mean with my autism, maybe something has inspired me but I have never known. Stuff inspires me with filmmaking, but not really anything relating to photography.

“For me, it was more about getting out, bettering my autism routines and mental health. Then during that time, I have no idea what happened. My journey is all just a fuzzy amazing blur.”

Since December 2021 Dunn has covered different games including: Walsall vs Swindon in the FA Cup second round (his first professional game), Walsall vs Newport (first ever EFL game in non-league), Birmingham City Women vs Arsenal Women (first game on the women’s stage) and Wolves vs Norwich in the FA Cup (first game between two premier league sides in a premier league stadium).

He also attends numerous grassroots level games for teams such as Stourbridge Ladies and Lye Town Ladies.

Lye Town Ladies celebrating – Taken by Anthony Dunn

Dunn said: “I want to give the best photos I can to the grassroot clubs I cover. I want to give them photos that’ll make them stand out, create memories for them. As it not just about me and the big leagues, I want people from all leagues to cherish moments that are frozen in time.”

In terms of his photography career, Dunn still has many goals he wants to achieve.

He added: “One of my main goals has already happened, photographing the villa in a game. However, one of my biggest achievements will be helping next month, in the Stourbridge men’s team final at Villa Park. Its half a goal, as I’ve always wanted to be at Villa Park with a camera so that will be amazing. But the big aim for me, is photographing an actual Villa game at Villa Park.”

Dunn is open about being autistic. Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people.

With April being national autism awareness month, Dunn claims that his condition has not been an obstacle in his photography career.

The Oldbury man himself – Anthony Dunn

Dunn said: “Everyone has different autistic traits. Like for me, I can’t use a wooden spoon or towels, I have all sensors x10 at times. Someone could be talking quiet and it sounds like someone is screaming. So, being at the big games does hurt and drain me, I hate loud noises and massive crowds, however it’s something I’ve fought very hard to master.

“All I would say to other people suffering with autism like me, is start small, go to non-league games where there’s less crowds and noise. Enjoy yourself and don’t go too big too soon.”

Stourbridge Ladies celebrating – Taken by Anthony Dunn

To see more of Dunn’s work and to purchase some of his photos, follow him on social media.

Twitter: @focussports98

Instagram: @focusdunnsports

Facebook: Focus Dunn Sports Photography

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