Dhaka’s Chobi Mela Festival

February 19th, 2019

Shahidul Alam talks with Daniel Boetker-Smith about how his 107 days in prison has impacted the tenth Chobi Mela photography festival which opens on February 28th 2019. Because many of the partner companies in Dhaka now see it as a dangerous organisation to work with and many public spaces and government buildings are no longer available for the festival, it has been forced to return to its roots and “become much more raw and community-oriented festival” and organised more tightly around the new premises for Drik Picture Library Ltd and the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute and a few other centres.

You can read more about what is happening in There’s Power in Photography: The Undying Resilience of Dhaka’s Chobi Mela Festival, and it does sound rather exciting, and indeed encouraging to those of us who live in rather more blasé societies where cultural manipulation is very much more nuanced.

Shahidul states “We see this year’s Chobi Mela as an act of defiance. We are still working out what we are allowed and not allowed to do, and this extends to obtaining visas for our visitors and guests” and it remains to see if some of those invited to take part, including Indian writer and political activist Arundhati Roy will be allowed into the country.

One of the more interesting exhibitions will be of the work of the great Bangladeshi photojournalist Rashid Talukder, born in 1939, who gave all his work to Drik before his death in 2011.   But there are over 27 exhibitions with works from 35 artists spanning 20 countries , as well as site-specific artwork by a group of young Bangladeshi artists around the festival theme of ‘Place’.

You can find more information about the festival on the Chobi Mela web site, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

January 2019 complete

February 18th, 2019

It has been a struggle for me to get all of the events I covered last month on line on My London Diary, though I’m not entirely sure why that is. Perhaps it’s the time of the year or the weather or, more likely it’s Brexit, thinking of which is just so depressing.

And although I’m still trying to cut down on the number of things I do and have turned down several commissions I still seem to be rather busy, with a long list of things I intend to do but haven’t got around to, particularly web projects and books.

I’ve also got to think about the future of My London Diary and the other web sites I run, as the file count on my web space is fast approaching the limit. It would be good to find some other solution other than simply having to pay for another contract for web space, and any suggestions are welcome.

Jan 2019

Pro- and Anti-Brexit protests
No imperialist coup in Venezuela
End TfL Discrimination against private hire
Pro- and Anti-Brexit protests
No imperialist coup in Venezuela
End TfL Discrimination against private hire
Sudanese protest against al-Bashir


Defend Rojava from Turkish invasion
Yellow Jackets in Westminster
Balochs protest abductions by Pakistan


‘No Whaling’ rally and march
Lambeth protest Children’s Centre cuts
Marzieh Hashemi arrest protest


Stop Arming Saudi while Yemen starves
Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists
Bolivians protest against Morales


Women’s Bread & Roses protest
Bus Day of Action for disabled
Earth Strike Kickoff Protest
Brexit protest against May’s Deal
Vedanta Zambian pollution appeal
Eton Wick


Vigil marks 17 years of Guantanamo torture
Brexit Protests continue
Pro- and Anti-Brexit protests at Parliament
Solidarity with Pipeline Protesters
Stand Up for the Elephant
Tower Bridge & Shad Thames

London Images

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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Stansted 15 scandal

February 17th, 2019

Sometimes the law is an ass. And sometimes the law realises it is being an ass and decides to try and mitigate its asinity, though in this case rather inadequately.  The Stansted 15, peaceful protesters who prevented an illegal deportation flight taking place by going on to the runway and chaining themselves to the plane, should never have been charged with an offence under terrorist legislation because they clearly had no terrorist intent. Eleven of the 60 who were put on the flight have not yet been deported and should not have been on the plane; the Home Office should be in court for putting them there.

Equally clearly the government and the Home Office in particular put on a lot of pressure to get them tried under this entirely inappropriate legislation. It paints both police and Crown Prosecution Service in an extremely poor light that they bowed to this pressure, and it is perhaps surprising that the court went along with them.

Using a terrorism charge meant that the accused could have been sentenced to 15 years in jail.  They should not have been found guilty, but they were, though its hard to see why. Had the court really thought they were terrorists they would not have been on bail awaiting sentence, as they were at the time of this protest, spending a couple of months over Christmas worrying about what might happen, and whether they would spend years in jail.

Even though none was given an immediated custodial sentence, three who had previous convictions for aggravated trespass in an earlier direct action were given a suspended sentence of 9 months along with long hours of unpaid work, with the other 12 receiving community orders, again with long hours of unpaid work. All the sentences seemed disproportionate, and the judge in sentencing repeated the lie that their action had endangered anyone at the airport – except themselves. In fact they had saved a number of the passengers – including four victims of trafficking – from the danger that their deportation would have put them in.

I don’t know if there will be an appeal against the convictions or the sentences, though there are probably grounds for both. But it’s shocking that such as serious charge should be misused in this way, clearly in an attempt to deter further acts of legitimate protest.

Usually I try to remain as an observer when photographing protests, but this was a liturgy rather than a protest and one I felt I had to take part in.  So I stood with the others when not taking pictures, and when as a part of it a list was passed round with the names of some of the many refugees who have died, some drowned on their way to Europe, others trying to cross the channel , some in our deportation prisons, while being deported or deported to die in another country, I didn’t just pass it on, but read out some of those names.

More about the protest, and a few more pictures at London Stands With The Stansted15.

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Grenfell – 18 months

February 16th, 2019

Eighteen months after the terrible fire so little seems to have been done. No real changes to the systems that made it possible. No prosecutions of those responsible for making the tower into a fire-trap and for ignoring or taking steps to silence residents who pointed out the problems. A council that still seems to be failing its duty of care towards the local community, particularly those still in temporary accomodation. None of the government promises kept. No one held to account.

The inquiry has revealed some horrific details, but also seems to have been used to try to push blame onto the firefighters, who made heroic efforts at the scene of the crime, and is widely seen as trying to push any real action longer and longer into the future, hoping that people will forget. Which is why these monthly marches really matter, with thousands marching through the streets carrying green candles, green Grenfell hearts and wearing green scarves to keep the memory alight

But while of course many still suffer the trauma and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives, perhaps the response is now too passive and it’s time to make a lot more noise than this monthly silent walk.  Some feel their real purpose is to divert people from more active resistance.

It isn’t an easy event to photograph. This walk started at Kensington Town Hall, where the yard is at best gloomy. A few people have a very negative attitude to the media and one man followed me for some time telling me I shouldn’t be taking pictures. It remains a rather emotional event, and I try hard not to aggravate anyone’s distress, but it’s hard not to be affected. None of my friends died in Grenfell, but I meet a number of people I know who were friends of some of the victims, and sometimes find my eyes full of tears as I try to frame an image.

It gets a little easier once the walk starts, not least because there is more light on the streets. Most of these pictures were taken with the lenses wide open at around f4, with shutter speeds varying from around 1/8 to 1/50th at ISO 6400. Some in the council yard are still several stops underexposed and require considerable help from Lightroom.

On the walk I still try to be as unobtrusive as possible. There is the added complication of movement, but progess is deliberately slow with many halts. The lighting changes as people go along the street, from lamp post to lamp post, coming into the light then moving back into shadow. The major routes are of course considerably brighter than the side streets, and I made more pictures on them, particularly at Notting Hill Gate, where the walk took a long rest and more walkers joined. In places there was enough light to make using longer focal lengths possible, with shutter speeds up to around 1/100th.

As the march turned off to go towards Grenfell, I made my way to the Underground for the journey home. I’d been on my feet long enough and was cold – and the streets get darker as you go north.

Grenfell silent walk – 18 months on

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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Hand Back Venezuela’s Money

February 15th, 2019

On a cold wet evening I asked myself why I was standing on a dimly lit street corner in the CIty of London taking photographs of a small group of protesters. And I had an answer, that I wanted to try to draw attention to the real causes of the current situation in Venezuela, a country running out of money.

Venezuela is rich in natural resources, the largest known oil reserves in the world along with gold and other minerals. It was, and should be a wealthy country, but the problems have come because under Hugo Chavez, President from 1999 to 2013, it made a determined effort to share that wealth widely, eneacting wide-ranging social reforms and nationalising industries, creating neighbourhood councils and greatly improving access to food, housing, healthcare and education for the poor.

These policies brought the country into conflict with western dominated world economic agencies and countries, particularly the United States, leading to various sanctions, which, together with a steep drop in the price of oil have led to the current economic problems there, helped by a certain amount of corruption as well as political manouevering by the opposition largely right-wing middle classes whose dominance is threatened by the socialist programme.

Opposition voices dominate in the media coming out of the country and are widely reported in the UK media, with great prominence being given to anti-Maduro protests and little or no reporting of the large demonstrations in support of the government. The sanctions, particularly those imposed by the US seldom get a mention. As the US Congressional Research Service notes “For more than a decade, the United States has employed sanctions as a policy tool in response to activities of the Venezuelan government or Venezuelan individuals.” Sanctions were imposed under President Obama and have been stepped up under Trump, particularly over finanacial transactions and the oil industry.

The protest I was photographing was against one result of these sanctions, outside Euroclear, a J P Morgan Subsidiary in the City of London calling for the company to return over $1billion belonging to the Venezuelan government, sent to buy medicines and food for Venezuela. Euroclear accepted the money despite US sanctions which were in place, but has failed to release it, meaning that many Venezuelans, particularly children, will die because of lack of medicines.

So I was there taking pictures, though there wsn’t really a great deal to photograph, as you can see. And I sent them into the agency, knowing exactly how little interest there would be from the media in the story and little chance of them being used by the UK media as they don’t support the story the UK press want to tell. But perhaps one day they may help to tell a story which I think should be told about Venezuela’s stolen money.

Hand Back Venezuela’s stolen money

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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SODEM Night

February 14th, 2019

December 12th wasn’t really a day for taking photograph for me, more a day off to go out for a few drinks and a meal with some photographer friends. But as I sually do on such occasions I took a camera with me, just in case I wanted to take some pictures. Not one of the Nikons I usually use for work, but a Fuji X-E3, with the 18-135 lens fitted, and as something of an afterthought I also put the smallish 18mm f2 in my bag too.

The day out started a little late, as when we agreed to meet at the Tate. For some unknown reason (senility?) I had in mind Tate Modern but everyone else got it right and went to Tate Britain, where at my request we were aiming to start at a show by photographer Markéta Luskačová of her Spitalfields pictures. A couple of phone calls later I was on the Jubilee line to Westminster and then hurrying down past the Houses of Parliament, where I saw a bus coming and rushed to just miss it.

Finally arriving at Tate Britain I had to find the show, which wasn’t easy – the gallery does really need to look at its signage. Finally I asked one of the gallery staff who didn’t really know but gave me a map and pointed in roughly the right direction. The show does continue until May 12th 2019, so if you start now there is some chance of finding it by then.

Finally we were all met, and after I’d run around the show (worth seeing though I was familiar with all the work already) we left for the pub, a journey where I at least part redeemed myself by actually knowint the way as it was the same one I’d gone to meet Class War before their visit to the Rees-Moggs a few months earlier. We’d hoped by around 2pm it would be getting a little less busy, but approaching Christmas it was rather full, with several parties about to take place, and after a drink or two we left for the next venue, a theatre bar I’d often walked past but never visited,  which was quieter and cosier.

An hour or so later we’d had enough of expensive beer and got on a bus towards a Wetherspoons where we were also to eat. Not a gourmet location, but almost always edible and good value, with fast service. Spoons do differ despite all being a part of the same empire, and this was the preferred choice of our late colleague-in-arms Townly Cooke, who at one time was a part of their quality control, being paid to eat and drink unannouced at their pubs across London.

We finished early as one of our number had to get back to Oxfordshire for an early start to work the following day and I found myself going across Waterloo Bridge at around 6.30pm and realising I couldn’t use my Super Off-Peak rail ticket until half an hour later.  I remembered there had been quite a lot of Brexit-related activity outside Parliament when I’d run past earlier in the day and decided to return to see if anything was still happening.

I changed the f3.5 maximum aperture zoom for the 18mm f2 fixed lens and set to work photograph SODEM who were still keeping up their vigil, along with a rather impressive Brexit monstrosity on the back of a lorry. The extreme-right who had been noisy and disruptive were long gone, and things were pretty quiet.

I was interested to see how the Fuji would cope under the failry dim conditions, working at f2 and ISO 3200.  Shutter speeds varied, but were generally usable, around 1/50s and the camera usually focussed fairly easily on something, though not always exactly where I had intended, though I suspect this was my fault. As always under such conditions, depth of filed is always a problem, but the smaller sensor compared to full frame does improve this. Working in low light like this not everything works, and I always have to overshoot, but there weren’t that many absoluted failures. I’ve put most of the frames that didn’t have obvious problems on the web site rather than edit more tightly to perhaps half a dozen frames as I might usually have done.

Although I’ve decided the Fuji cameras I’ve tried can’t really replace the Nikons for my work, I’ve been wondering for some time about trying a micro four thirds system. I think my first step will be to evaluated using one with a telephoto zoom alongside the Fuji X-E3  with the wide-angle zoom.

As I walked back into Parliament Square I saw a bus to Waterloo just entering the square and ran towards to stop to catch it. This time I got there in time.

You can see the pictures I took at SODEM vigil against Brexit

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Human Rights – 70 years

February 13th, 2019

Modern Human Rights law came out of the aftermath of the Second World War as a response to the barbarism of that war, with the UN in 1947 setting up a Human Rights Commission, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, which after consderable discussion came up in 1948 with the non-binding  Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at at Palais de Chaillot, Paris on the 10 December 1948, 70 years to the day before this ‘Shut Guantanamo!’ protest at the US Embassy by the London Guantanamo Campaign.

December 10 is celebrated in countries around the world as Human Rights Day or International Human Rights Day, though it is an anniversary that passes almost unnoticed in the UK.


Almost 17 years – since January 11th 2002

When the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the EU) was set up in 1949, it immediately began work, led by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, a British MP who had been a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, on a European Convention on Human Rights, completed in 1950 and ratifed three years later, with the European Court of Human Rights  established in Strasbourg to oversee it.

The Council of Europe now has 47 member states, including almost all those with any territory in Europe such as Turkey and Russia, along with Iceland, and is thus a much wider body than the EU

In 1998, the UK Human Rights Act was passed, incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights  into domestic British law; it sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to and means they can be argued in British courts rather than having to go to Strasbourg. It came into force in the UK in October 2000.

The protest was held outside the US embassy in Nine Elms, London because the US has been clearly contrravening the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its treatment of prisoners held at Guantanamo (as well as in other secret military prisons in countries around the world.)

The US activities are a violation of many of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but particularly:

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

and

Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

But the UDHR was a non-binding declaration and its provisions have never been incorporated into US law, although there are some similar provisions in the US Bill of Rights (which were based on those in the 1689 UK Bill of Rights.)

70 years of Human Rights
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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Against the ‘Brexit Betrayal’ march

February 12th, 2019

Two groups had planned events in opposition to a march by supporters of Tommy Robinson, advertised as the ‘Great Brexit Betrayal Protest‘ march in London on Dec 9th. One was Unite Against Fascism & Stand Up to Racism, both largely dominated by Socialist Workers Party members and the second was a broad coalition of anti-fascist groups, including Momentum, Plan C, Feminist Anti-Fascist Assembly, Global Justice Now, Women’s Strike Assembly, Brazilian Women Against Fascism, Women’s March London, Feminist Fightback, Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists, Sister not Cister UK and many others who had managed to bring a previous fascist march through London to a halt, delaying it for several hours until police managed to re-route it, while UAF/SUTR held a separate small and innefectual static protest in Parliament St.

This group has a much broader representation of women’s and ethnic minorities than  UAF/SUTR, and a wider political base including many from Labour, left wing and anarchist groups, but is largely London-based. Outside of London there are fewer groups opposing racism and fascism and I think UAF and SUTR are groups with broader support than in London, often virtually the only game in town.

UAF and SUTR made a big appeal for unity, to stand up to the fascists together, and the anti-fascists agreed, only to find out that on the day of the march it was more or less a takeover by the other group, who with the aid of the police rather hi-jacked the event. The march to Whitehall took place, and it was a fairly large one, with perhaps roughly three times as many as on the Brexit Betrayal march, but they were stopped from presenting any real opposition to the fascists, and the rally at the end of the march close to Downing St was entirely a UAF/SUTR event, with no speakers from the anti-fascists.

For most of the march, the main banner, held by UAF/SUTR supporters with the message ‘No to Tommy Robinson – No to Facism’ was at the front of the march, carried at the head of a group of supporters carrying Stand Up To Racism and Socialist Worker placards. But when police halted the march briefly on Haymarket as there were a small number of fascist who had come to oppose the march in the area, the a hundred or two anti-fascists came to the front to defend the march,

Somehow with the aid of the police the No to Tommy Robinson – No to Facism’ banner was again at the front of the march as it reached Trafalgar Square, but it was the anti-fascist who left the march to tackle the counter-protesters who had gathered there, while the rest of the march moved on towards its end in Whitehall.

I paused briefly to photograph this small group of extreme-right couter-protesters in Trafalgar Square and was threatened with violence by them if I took their picture, as well as being pushed around a little by police who rather seemed to be on their side. But having taken a few pictures I soon moved off, keen not to miss the start of the rally in Whitehall.

As the rally went on and one I became more and more disappointed. Although there were some good speakers –  including Paul Mason – it became obvious that there was to be no representation at all of any of the many groups in the anti-fascist coalition that probably represented considerably over half of the march, and when a musical interlude was introduced I turned to leave.

Most of the marchers seemed to have come to a similar conclusion, and there were relatively few people in left Whitehall. It was a cold day and probably many had decided not to stand around listening to speeches – or had soon drifted away, perhaps to one of the many pubs and coffee shops around. But there was still a largish ‘black bloc’ group towards the Trafalgar Square end of Whitehall who had decided to leave together for security and make their way to Charing Cross station to disperse. I walked through a line of police without being stopped, but more police moved in to stop them leaving.  Evventually the officer in charge decided they could go and arranged for police to escort them to Charing Cross, though they were more than capable of making their own way their in safety.

More about the protest and many more pictures at Marchers oppose Tommy Robinson

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Stolen Goods in the Museum

February 11th, 2019


Rodney Kelly speaks beside his Gweagul ancestor’s shield

The world’s earliest known musuem was set up in 530 BC in the dying years of one of the oldest known cities of the world, Ur in Babylon (now Iraq) by a woman, Princess Ennigaldi, the daughter of the last King before the citysuffered terminal decline. The first excavations of the city, in 1853-4, were financed by the British Museum, but it was during the major excavations in 1922 to 1934, funded by the British Museum with the University of Pennsylvania, that archaeologist Leonard Woolley, later knighted for his work there, came across the evidence of the world’s first museum, a labelled collection of local antiquities from various ages, including some from the foundation of Ur some 2000 years before its demise.


Part of the crowd listening to Rodney Kelly

Objects from Woolley’s excavations are now a part of the collections of both the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania, and the Iraqi authorities hope to develop the ancient city with its ruins as a tourist attraction. As a part of this there will doubtless be some kind of museum in which various objects can be displayed, probably including replicas of some at least of those objects in London and Pennsylvania.


Danny Chivers, dressed as a burglar, in front of the Parthenon marbles

The British Museum contains a vast collection of antiquities from around the world, some obtained by rather more dubious means than those from Ur. And it is great that everyone from around the world can visit and see at least those that are on display there – and presumably the much greater number kept hidden in the basement or stored elsewhere are made available to scholars. It’s a great resource and one that is generally free to access, and I’ve dropped in occasionally over the years, though currrent security measures make it considerably less convenient – where you just used to walk in, it can now involve a 20 minute wait to have your bag searched (though there is seldom much of a queue at the north entrance.)


‘Stolen Land, Stolen Culutre, Stolen Climate’ banner in front of the Assyian exhibition

It would be a shame to see this collection broken up, but it seems to me that there are some items in it that should be returned – and perhaps replaced in the collection by carefully made replicas. Probably the best-known of these are of course the Parthenon marbles. We used to call them the Elgin marbles, bought by Lord Elgin from the Turkish occupiers of Greece in a rather doubtful transaction. Certainly the Turks had no moral right to dispose of Greek heritage in this way.

Among much more recent acquisitions are apparently a number of looted items from Iraq which came onto the market as a result of the second Gulf War. I don’t know the details, but clearly there can be no argument for their retention. But not only is the British Museum hanging on to them it was proudly displaying them in the current BP-sponsored Assyrian show. BP of course has a long and unsavoury record of exploitation of oil in the Middle East

While those exhibits from Ur were from an ancient civilisation that was conquered and disappeared many years ago, there are other items which were taken by force or stolen from communities that still exist, and it was one of these that was at the centre of the British Museum Stolen Goods Tour organised by BP or not BP?  on December 8th, led by Indigenous Australian campaigner Rodney Kelly, a 6th generation direct descendant of Cooman, whose Gweagal shield was taken when Captain Cook’s men arriving in Australia fired on him. In a cabinet to his right, you can see the hole close to its centre thought to have been made in it by a musket round.

The shield, along with other stolen objects still have great cultural significance for the Gweagul, and would both form the centre-piece of a new cultural museum and also a springboard for a renaissance of indigenous culture. A similar case can be made for the return of the stolen Moai Head from Easter Island, whose return is demanded by the Rapa Nui Pioneers.

More about the protest against the British Museum and climate criminals BP at British Museum Stolen Goods Tour.
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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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London 1979 (1)

February 10th, 2019

In the first six months or so of 2018, I posted around 180 pictures which I had taken in London in to my London Photographs web site, and along with them made a daily post on my Facebook page with some details and comments on a newly added picture. But those comments are now hard to find, and I’ve begun to add them to the web pages. I’ll now also publish the pictures and the comments here on >Re:PHOTO, where they will remain easy to find in a series of posts with around 7 images at a time. On Facebook now, I’m publishing pictures I took in 1981 in the same way.

The pictures in this series of posts are exactly those on London Photographs, where they display slightly larger. Clicking on any picture will go to the page it is on on that web site. I have included the file number and some keywords in the caption; you can order a print of any picture on this site using the file number. Order details and prices


London Photographs 1979 – Peter Marshall

 


St Paul’s from Waterloo Bridge,Lambeth, 1979
18k-62: Lambeth, theatre, church, offices, National Theatre

London’s skyline is rather less clear now, and a picture from the same viewpoint would be dominated by The Shard, I think between the two tall blocks at right.

 


National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge, Lambeth, 1979
18p-26: Lambeth, theatre, night, National Theatre,

I’m not sure why I was wandering around the South Bank at night, but probably after an opening, perhaps at the Hayward or National Theatre, and of course I had a camera with me.

I suspect it was the Leica M2, which is a purely mechanical camera and has no exposure metering. I had an accessory meter for it which slotted in and coupled with the shutter dial, the Leicameter MR, a curious battery-free CDS meter which was generally about as accurate as holding up a wet finger, but failed to give an reading at all in low light, and this, or perhaps a few glasses of white wine, accounts for the considerable underexposure.

Although my caption states ‘National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge’, I think this is taken from the walkway at a lower level.

A second image taken around the same time shows part of the South Bank complex


Southbank, Lambeth, 1979
18p-53: lambeth, concert hall, hall, theatre

 


River Thames flooding at Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18r-14: richmond, river thames, flood, pub, pub sign, White Swan

The Beer Garden of the White Swan is a pleasant place to sit with a beer or two in Summer, but in January we had both snow and a little flooding. It isn’t unusual for the Thames to overflow its banks at high Spring tides onto Twickenham Riverside. The boats at right are moored by the downstream end of Eel Pie Island, with a rowing eight just making its way along the main stream beyond.

Across the river at left is the road leading to Ham Street Car Park by the river, which helpfully has a notice warning motorists that it is liable to flooding, though not everyone bothers to read it – or to consult their tide tables.


River Thames flooding at Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18r-15: richmond, river thames, flood, pub, pub sign, White Swan, dog

Another picture of the flooded beer garden with a woman walking her dog.

Cyclists in snow, Marble Hill House, Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18s-35: richmond, snow, mansion, house, snow, boys, bicycles

We  had a lot of snow in December 1978 and January 1979, enough on at least one day, together with icy roads to stop me getting to work, and some days when I and my colleague did struggle in it was to find few pupils had struggled into school with the day starting later than usual and finishing earlier to enable them to journey home while it was still light.

I had extra time on my hands an spent quite a lot of it photographing snow, mainly in walking distance from where I lived, but also up in Derbyshire around Paul Hill’s Bradbourne Photographers’ Place and on a trip from there to Alton Towers. Unfortunately when I got home and developed those films I found my Leica M2 had developed a shutter fault, sticking slightly three quarters of the way across the frame, probably brought on by the cold weather, ruining most of my pictures and making a large hole in my pocket for the expensive repair needed. Though to be fair, it hasn’t needed another repair since I got it back later in January 1979.

Fortunately I was also taking some pictures on my Olympus OM-1, which were fine. It wasn’t a weather-sealed camera, but didn’t seem to mind getting cold or wet, and on at least one occasion I’d removed the lens after being out in driving rain and literally (and I do mean literally) poured the water out.

But I’ve never found snow appealing as a photographic subject. It covers everything with its overall gloop, removing subtlety. This is one of the few snow pictures I’ve ever shown or sold, taken on a walk from Twickenham to Richmond along the riverside. The snow forms as useful rather blank background for the three boys on bikes, who I’d stopped to photograph. In the first frame they were together in a group and there was another riding away near the right edge of the frame; it wasn’t a bad picture, but my second frame caught them just as the three were moving apart, those on each side of the group in opposite directions, their six wheel just still linked.

This was made with the revived Leica, which is perhaps why I’ve never cropped the image though I think it would improve it to do so a little, though there is something attractive about the huge expanse of white nothing with that small group in near-silhouette at its centre.

 


Figure on gate, Orleans House, Twickenham, Richmond, 1979
18s-51: richmond, mansion, house, graffiti, drawing

Taken on the same walk, this is a figure I photographed on several occasions, of which I think this is the best. Crudely drawn, something between a ghost and a human, it appeared to me as someone’s scary phobia emerging from this locked gate.

Behind is the elegance of Orleans House, where I helped organise and took part in several exhibitions of our small photographic group.

1979 continues in a later post

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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