Rob’s career in photojournalism started in his home town of Auckland, New Zealand as a cadet photographer on The New Zealand Herald in 1970. In 1976, he moved to the UK and worked for Central Press Photos on Fleet Street, the then newspaper district in central London.
The work covered the whole range of news and sports photography with some travel to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa covering the UK royal family tours. The agency ceased operation in 1982 and its extensive historic photo library is now part of the Hulton collection owned by Getty Images. Rob then turned freelance and worked with international photo wires United Press International (UPI) and The Associated Press (AP), plus a variety of the UK and international newspapers and magazines.
In 1985 he joined the Reuters News Pictures Service start-up team at it’s (then) European HQ in Brussels following Reuters’ acquisition of UPI Pictures outside the USA. This began his 16-year career with the news agency that included the roles of senior photographer, Editor-in-Charge (EIC), Desk Editor on both planned and breaking news/sports events in the UK, Europe, Caribbean and the USA. Rob was posted to Asia in 1992 as Asia Chief Photographer/Deputy Picture Editor and was promoted to Regional Photo Editor for the Asia/Pacific region based in Hong Kong and latterly Singapore for the last 7 years of his time with the agency.
Loyalist supporters of Northern Ireland Deputy DUP leader, Peter Robinson, run as a crate of petrol bombs explodes after being dropped on them by Republican protesters as they marched out of the Irish border town of Dundalk, Ireland, on Thursday, August 7, 1986. They crossed the border from the North in a show of solidarity with an Ulster politician who was attending a criminal court hearing in Dundalk, Ireland. Rob Taggart/©Reuters
Among the highlights included the Northern Ireland Troubles, the Romanian Revolution, Iraq Invasion of Kuwait, Kurds fleeing Northern Iraq, the start of the Balkan war, G7/APEC summits, Royal tours and International sports events to include summer & winter Olympics/Commonwealth Games, European Soccer Cup finals, World Cup Rugby and the Wimbledon and Australian Open Tennis Championships.
Rob joined AP based at their European headquarters in London as Regional Picture Editor for Europe, Africa and the Middle East in November 2001 following the 9/11 attacks in the United States. He was responsible for planning, staffing and running the day to day operations initially in Afghanistan and then Iraq in the aftermath of the attacks and the subsequent war that followed. This culminated in a very successful and more importantly safe campaign for AP photos which saw AP staffer Jean-Marc Bouju take the main World Press Photo prize in 2003.
Rob implemented a series of key hires and training of local photographers to strengthen areas within his region. This was particularly successful in Iraq and the Palestinian Territories where freshly recruited expat and newly trained local photographers were crucial to AP photography staff winning the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for the Breaking News Photography category for their Iraq coverage. This period also saw the start of the second Palestinian Intifada and the Pakistan-India standoff all within his responsibility for coverage in addition to daily European/Africa coverage of news and sport.
A youth waves a Romanian flag with the communist symbol cut out from the balcony of the central communist headquarters overlooking Republic Square in central Bucharest on Tuesday, December 26, 1989. More than 1,000 Romanians were killed across Romania during clashes between demonstrators and Ceausescu's security forces, in what amounted to eastern Europe's most violent anti-communist revolution during which the country's communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was toppled and shot on Christmas Day, 1989. Rob Taggart/©Reuters
Taggart promoted to the newly created position of Director of Commercial Photo Operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa in 2005 to lead the expansion of AP’s international photo and commercial/editorial assignment revenue. The job included working closely with editorial management to determine and drive to meet market needs and responsibility for major international photo agency partnerships.
Rob recently retired from AP to pick up his cameras again to take up some personal photo projects as well pursuing interesting teaching and consulting work. He regularly judges National photojournalism awards and has done so in Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Korea.