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SUNDAY 19  MAY 2024

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Snapper Jim’s picture of  Saturn’s moon Mimas literally took the biscuit

BRAINWAVE: Daily Star photographer Jim Dakin

By GEORGE DEARSLEY

The Daily Star’s backbench was getting agitated. NASA had promised a “world’s first” photograph of part of the solar system. 


It may have been Saturn’s moon Mimas taken by Voyager 1 in 1980 but in truth I am not sure. Anyway, a hole had been left in the first edition lay-out for the eagerly-awaited picture but deadline was perilously close and the teleprinter was silent. 


Step forward staff photographer Jim Dakin. “I’ll get you a picture of the bloody thing,” he cried and shuffled off into the darkroom. 


Five minutes later Jim emerged with a black and white print of what certainly looked like something shot from a passing space probe. The chief sub editor snatched it from his grasp and minutes later the presses were rolling. 


After a few more minutes NASA’s authentic photograph finally arrived, pictured right, and was slotted into the same space for the second edition. 


As sub editors, reporters and photographers adjourned to the nearby Crown and Kettle pub for a livener, the conversation quickly turned to how Jim had saved the day. 


“Jim, how did you get that picture before NASA?” queried a colleague. “I took a snap of a digestive biscuit and blurred it a bit,” was his taciturn reply.


Jim died aged 81 in 2012.