Archive for the ‘My Own Work’ Category

Monday in Westminster

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

I don’t often cover many events on a Monday, perhaps because not a lot usually happens. Sometimes too, after a busy weekend I need a rest. While most people think of Mon-Fri as the working week, Saturday is almost always my busiest day. I used to cover quite a few events on Sundays too, but now I’m more often in need of a rest after Saturday, and often, like this morning, still have pictures from yesterday to edit from the previous day, having fallen asleep at the computer and decided to give up for the night. But even so, unless there is something I feel important to cover, I still tend to keep Monday as one of my days off.

And Orgreave Truth & Justice at the Home Office on Monday 13th March was something I felt important, protesting at the failure of Home Secretary Amber Rudd not to grant an inquiry into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ in which police, including military police and others in police uniforms, mounted a carefully planned attack on picketing miners.

Thatcher had determined to defeat the miners, and on 18 June 1984 at a British Steel Corporation coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire showed just what illegal lengths the establishment was willing to go to in order to defeat the workers. And many have little doubt that our present government would be prepared to take similar actions, though mostly it gets by with more subtle means.

Perhaps the main hope of a proper inquiry into Orgreave is that we may get a Corbyn Labour government, though I’m not convinced that they will have the nerve or ability to challenge those areas of the establishment that are against getting to the truth – and would also be busily plotting against any radical initiatives by a mildly left social democratic Labour administration.

Two other campaigns for justice were also out on the street in Westiminster, one linked to the Orgreave protest. JENGbA had come to support the Orgreave protest, but had started with an action of their own outside the Supreme Court. JENGbA stands for Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association, and I’ve always thought the name it has adopted stood in the way of it actually making progress – how many people would have the slightest idea what JENGbA stood for? Despite this, they won a significant victory in 2015, when the SUpreme Court ruled that the joint enterprise law under which over 800 people are in jail had been wrongly applied, and that there must be actual evidence of intention to encourage or assist in a crime rather than some vague association.

But JENGbA have found – like other groups such as disabled people – that it is one thing to win in court and quite another to get the Home Office to correct the injustice. And those held in jail because the law was wrongly applied, many serving life sentences on the flimsiest of suspicions, have been refused appeals. After their protest outside the Supreme Court they marched to join the Orgreave protest outside the Home Office.

Quite separate from this was a protest against the Met Police who were appealing against a high court decision that the human rights of two woman raped by black cab driver and serial sex attacker John Worboys in 2003 and 2007 were breached when police did not believe them and failed to investigate their cases. That the police should appeal the decision that they have an obligation to investigate such cases of serious violence is appalling – and makes me wonder what they think they are there for.

The protest was by Southall Black Sisters, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Nia Project and other women’s organisations who say in the police appeal succeeds there will be no effective remedy in the courts for women who are raped or victims of domestic violence.

Orgreave Truth & Justice at the Home Office
JENGbA march to support Orgreave
Women protest outside Worboys hearing

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Women Rise and Fukushima

Friday, October 20th, 2017

The Million Women Rise annual march through London against male violence is an all-women event, with several thousand of them marching in the centre of London. On occasions a few men have crept in, but it is fairly decisively a women’s event, and this sometimes presents a few problems for a male photographer. There have been a few women on past marches who have made clear they object to being photographed by a man, and on some occasions stewards shouted at me when I have put as much of a toe on the road, although mostly they are more welcoming.

Of course I – and any others of the public – have the same right to be on the road as the marchers, but I have no wish to offend anyone. It does rather make it difficult to work as usual, as I often want to take most of my pictures close to people inside the protests. The great majority of those taking part clearly in this march want to be photographed and have no problems with me getting into a suitable place to do so. Some were women who knew me and who I’ve photographed before.

But I took many more of these pictures from the sidelines than I would normally have done with other marches, although before the march started the street the march gathered in was full from wall to wall and I had to be in the middle of things. But once the march started I more or less kept to the pavement while the march went along the road, and I took relatively few pictures, or at least relatively few that were usable.

Of course I deplore male violence against women, like the marchers. In particular domestic violence is a huge problem, and mainly it is men who are violent and women (and sometimes children) their target. And the main sufferers in wars are women and children. I’ve supported the march and have given the organisers pictures in the past when requested to use in their publicity. But I probably gave up rather earlier than I would have on some other events, and decided against going to photograph the rally at the end of the march in Trafalgar Square. It isn’t possible to be in two places at once, but I was doing my best to cover two separate events both taking place at the same time in slightly different parts of London.

Before going to Million Women Rise I had photographed the start of a march from the Japanese Embassy on the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and had left them shortly after they passed the Ritz on Piccadilly to rush up to Oxford St and photograph the start of the women’s march. And as the end of that march passed Bond St station I left them and took the tube to photograph the anti-nuclear rally opposite Downing St.

Million Women Rise against male violence
Fukushima anniversary challenges nuclear future

 

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Channelsea River

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017


The Channelsea is still visible below this end of the footbridge

It was I think in 1981 or 2 that I first came across the Channelsea River and walked along the path alongside it from Stratford High St to Three Mills. I was really a few years too late, because the section s outh of Stratford High St to Abbey Lane had been culverted around 20 years earlier, and further north there were only isolated sections above ground.


Channelsea Path

By then the river was a ghost of its former self. Back in the 19th century it had been one of three major streams of the River Lea, running parallel to the main river down through Temple Mills (the tidal limit of the Lea) where the Channelsea diverged from the Waterworks River which had left the main stream around a mile north on Hackney Marsh. There were several channels or ditches joining the streams probably some with sluices.


Channelsea River from footbridge, Stratford

Close to where the railway from Hackney Wick crossed the river the Channelsea turned east, roughly following the old line of the railway to Stratford Station – where you can still see it as a ditch from the west end of the footbridge just south of the station.


Channelsea River from Northern Outfall Sewer

Below Abbey Lane the Channelsea is wide and almost entirely tidal, with Channelsea island in the middle – and the channel to the west of the island is Abbey Creek. During heavy rainfall the sewers receive more water than they can cope with and overflow into the river here and used to flow upriver on the tide.


Abbey Mills sewage pumping station from Northern Outfall Sewer

The whole of the Bow Back Rivers was radically altered in the 1930s, following the 1930 River Lee Act. This enabled the Lee Conservancy Board and West Ham Borough Council to widen the Three Mills River and Waterworks River to 100ft to take flood water away, and to construct the Prescott Channel to take flood water from them into the Channelsea at Three Mills. The City Mill River was also made wider and deeper and provided with concrete banks as a 50ft wide navigable stream. It’s unclear whether there was any real intention for this to be widely used, or if its construction was mainly to provide employment for the many local unemployed.


Where the Channelsea goes under Stratford High St

The most recent and entirely dubious scheme was the construction of a new lock on the Prescott Channel, at a huge cost and under the pretence it would be used to bring in material and take out rubble from the Olympic site. Completed in 2009 it was used for a few photo-calls but the huge bulk of site material was moved in and out by lorry. It can be seen as a huge public subsidy to the developers whose blocks are growing on the upstream banks, protecting their properties and their future residents noses from the sometimes odiferous flood tides.

During the lock construction the riverside paths along the Channelsea were closed. The Long Wall path from the Northern Outfall Sewer (rebranded the Greenway in the 1990s but retaining its slightly sweet and disturbing sewage odour) to the lock reopened only around six years after completion, but that on to Three Mills from the Prescott Channel remains closed.

You can see more pictures from my walk at West Ham to Stratford – Channelsea River.
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My London Diary 2006

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

I’m not sure whether to be annoyed or amused or what to find that my book 2006: My London Diary, published on Blurb in 2012 is now available for ‘free’ download from a Russian web site in various formats and has so far apparently been downloaded 21,407 times. Which I think is over 21,000 more than I’ve actually sold copies to.

What I do know is that my profit from those downloads comes to exactly zero. This isn’t the first time that I’ve found one of my books available in this way and I think a diligent search would reveal more sites making offers of this kind, but its an area of the web that often makes my security software pop up warnings and suggest I get out of there without delay. And I certainly wouldn’t dream of downloading anything from the particular site, which also demands some kind of membership fee to use its download services.

2006: My London Diary costs £6.49 for a legal ‘Instant PDF’ download from Blurb, who take about three-quarters of that for themselves but I still get a reasonable payment. Of course even if the 21,407 is an accurate figure I haven’t actually lost the £35,000 or so that this number of legitimate sales would have provided, as only a very much smaller number if any would have considered a purchase rather than a free download and my real financial loss is most likely in two rather than three figures.

Back in 2006 when I took these pictures, DSLRs were a little more primitive than now, and so was the software for processing RAW files. But the Nikon D200 I was then using – bought immediately it became available in December 2005 – was perhaps the first really decent digital camera I owned, a real step up from the D100, particularly so far as the viewfinder was concerned – and with around twice the file size. Though its 10.2Mp sensor is small by recent standards it was really enough for almost all purposes. A couple of years later I updated to the D300, also a significant advance.

Head and shoulders above other RAW processing software at the time was Pixmantec’s Rawshooter image processing software which I used for developing these images. Adobe couldn’t match it, so in June 2006 they bought it out and slowly used its technology to bring Lightroom up to scratch. For the book I reworked all of the pictures in the latest Lightroom at the time, Lightroom 3.5, but still ended up using many of the Rawshooter files.

There are a few images in the book I’d do a little differently today, and I would probably also make a slightly different choice of images. But it was tough. My initial selection from the roughly 6000 images I’d published on the web was around 3000, and I had to cut that down to around 70 for the book, to keep within the 80 page format I wanted to publish.

It’s still a good cross-section of my work from that year, and I was happy to have a copy of it in one of our major collections – and they also have a CD with most or all of the 6000 from that year.

The book is still available on Blurb, though the print version (softcover only) is a little expensive at over £33, and Blurb’s delivery fee adds a ridiculous amount. I alway recommend the PDF version, but should you want a hardcopy then buy directly from me and save considerably – I still have a few copies at £25 + £2p/p – details are here.

One small satisfaction from that Russian site, apart from knowing that 21407 people have bothered to look at my work, is that the book gets a rating on the site of 8.5/10 – which doesn’t seem bad.
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International Women’s Day 2017

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

The Socialist Party of American organised the first Women’s Day to take place on March 8th, although theirs was a ‘National Women’s Day‘. The idea of an International Women’s Day was adopted by the 1910 International Conference of Socialist Women and in 1911 it was celebrated on March 8th in United States, Switzerland, Denmark, and Austria but in Germany and elsewhere of March 19th. It was not until 1914 it was adopted worldwide. In London on March 8th 1914 the Suffragettes marched from Bow to Trafalgar Square.

Universal female suffrage was the main demand of those first marches, but they also had a whole range of other demands, including labour laws to guarantee women’s rights, free social childcare and education, equal treatment for single mothers, international solidarity and the overthrow of capitalism.

A protest in Parliament Square March 8th – also Budget Day – by Global Women’s Strike in solidarity with the International Women’s Strike (IWS) taking place in 46 countries was firmly in this tradition, and there were contributions from groups supporting women, including the victims of domestic violence, the disabled and the victims of family courts. Later they went on to hold a vigil on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields in solidarity with the farmers of the Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand, many of whom are women.

A short distance down the road, Women Against State Pension Inequality – WASPI – held a rally against the changes in the state pension scheme which are unfair to women born in the 1950s. Although the effects of the The 1995 Pension Action Act which set out the plan to equalise the pension age for men and women were well publicised, little warning was given when the 2011 Pension Act accelerated the process for this and for raising the pension age, and there was too little time even for those women approaching pension age who realised what was happening to make alternative plans.

Later in the day opposite Downing St Fourth Wave London Feminist Activists staged a protest against the unjust, ideologically-driven cuts to public services that are disproportionately felt by women, and also against the way that International Women’s Day despite its socialist roots has been appropriated with the media giving extensive coverage to corporate events concentrating on getting more women in boardrooms and other highly paid jobs.

I ended my day with London Polish Feminists and Global Women’s Strike (again) at St Pancras for an International Women’s Day flash mob at St Pancras International in solidarity with women in 46 countries taking part in the International Women’s Strike. It was a colorful event, and the colours were black and red – clothing, umbrellas, masks and flowers – choreographed by the Polish feminists. After a rehearsal in the station foyer the group went down into the concourse and gave a performance there.

They had apparently requested permission for the event, but when it was refused decided that they would go ahead in any case. Police came to talk with them but didn’t stop it.

More from all of these events – and a rather curious Russian gesture which perhaps reflected a more misogynistic attitude to women:

From Russia With Love
International Women’s Strike
Vigil for Thai Farmers
Death By A Thousand Cuts
WASPI at Parliament

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Save Our NHS

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

It’s never easy to estimate the size of large marches, though sometimes I try. With small marches you can simply stand on the side and count as people walk past, but this gets tedious with more than a few hundred. Even on fairly small marches it soon becomes impossible to actually count every person, as sometimes people are in crowded groups, hard to actually be sure you see everyone, and I have to estimate groups of ten as they move past, but probably my count is withing a few percent of the total.

With large marches a different approach is needed. I try and pick a typical section of the march and take a count for a minute. And then use the time it takes the march to go past a particular place somewhere in the middle of the route. Some marches have large gaps, and an allowance has to be estimated for that. Using methods like this I’d hope to be somewhere in the right area, and unlikely to be more than perhaps 25% out. So if around 500 people go past in a minute, and the whole march in around an hour, then there were roughly 30,000 taking part – as was the case for this march.

Once it used to be good enough to average out the estimates from the organisers and from the BBC, or perhaps just double the police estimate, but the police seem to have stopped giving out their numbers and the BBC and march organisers have both become completely unreliable – and the BBC hardly notice most marches.

The Save Our NHS march was certainly a large one, certainly one of the largest if not the largest so far this year, but the organisers’ claim of 250,000 was unbelievable. Making exaggerated claims is I think counter-productive and undermines the credibility of the event and the claims, which is unfortunate.

This was a very large march, and one that reflects a huge degree of public support – though unfortunately many are not aware of what is happening to the NHS. Of course there are reports about the state of the NHS in the media, but they seldom do more than report its failings and seldom examine the reason behind them. The privatisation of services has been taking place for years now, with private healthcare companies taking over the simpler aspects of the NHS that are easy to profit from – and whose low costs used to offset the more complex and expensive treatments, but relatively little of this has been made clear in the media.

The increasing use of agency staff too, and the financial implications of that has failed to get the attention it deserves, despite the terrible financial drain it represents (as does huge amounts spent on largely unnecessary fees for consultancy.) It’s only very recently that public debate has begun to recognise the terribly corrosive effect of PFI contracts – started under John Major but largely negotiated under New Labour – has had, something which those in the NHS and activists have been aware of and calling for government action over at least since the financial crash completely changed the environment under which they were agreed.

There had been a rally at the start of the march which I’d photographed some of the more interesting speakers, including Green Party Health spokesperson Larry Sanders (Bernie’s brother) above, and there was to be another at the end in Parliament Square, but I didn’t make it there. Doubtless there would have been speeches from political and trade union leaders – Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Len McCluskey and someone from showbiz, but I’d had enough when I reached Trafalgar Square. Plenty of others would be photographing the speakers and I was tired and didn’t feel up to facing the scrum.

I’d already taken a great many pictures – some great placards and posters and many interesting people. You can see quite a few of them at Save our NHS March.

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Hull Photos: 8/9/17 – 14/9/17

Friday, October 13th, 2017

I’m still managing to post a picture every day on Hull Photos, and there are plenty more still to come, though I’ll need to scan another batch soon, but I keep forgetting to post these weekly digests here on >Re:PHOTO. Of course you can see the new pictures added each day at Hull Photos, and I also post them each morning with the short comments below on Facebook.

Comments and corrections to captions are welcome here or on Facebook.

8th September 2017

Wincolmlee and Oxford St meet at the north end of Oxford St at a fairly acute angle, and this filling station occupied the tight triangle between them, now taken up by McCoy Engineering, who occupy both the large shed and the smaller brick building in the background behind the pumps.

This was naturally a Rix petrol station, just a stone’s throw from their site further north on Wincolmlee, the petrol equivalent of a brewery tap. I loved the way it fitted into the site and the upcurved sweep of the canopy at the left, as well as the simple and symmetrical design of that in the centre.

Behind is a large factory building on Wincolmlee, still there, though for sale when I took this picture. For some years later it sold pine furniture and more recently was Mattress Master and Mould-it. The building in the background at centre right, which looks as if it might have once been a chapel has been demolished, though I think a low section of its walls, around three or four feet high, remains as a site boundary.


84-4e-23: The Oxford Filling Station, Wincolmlee/Oxford St – River Hull

9th September 2017

Underneath each of the numbers 1-6 neatly painted on this factory wall is a small wooden notice with the message ‘Reserved‘. But occupying these parking bays when I took this picture was a large heap of some unknown substance and I wondered briefly if underneath this lay buried the cars containing those privileged people who had their reserved parking spaces here. But on reflection I think the piles of whatever were only three or four feet high, insufficient to cover the revenge of some wronged worker – unless he came with a bulldozer to flatten the vehicles or it was just the managers’ bodies below them.

I no longer remember the exact location where I took this, though the frame previous was taken in Cooper St, and the next frame at the start of Cannon St, and so I think this was probably in Green Lane, in front of some long-demolished factory.


84-4e-32: Parking bays, Green Lane/Wincolmlee Area, 1984 – River Hull

10th September 2017

Somewhere in my wandering between Cannon St and Oxford St and Wincolmlee, most likely in Lincoln St, I came upon this house with painted sunflowers, the works and perhaps the work of Richard Bacon Inflatables. I think the house has now gone, and Richard Bacon Inflatables has sunk without trace, though doubtless some people in Hull – and perhaps even Richard Bacon – will remember it 33 years later.

Apart from the flower and the house door, out of keeping with the building there were other aspects which attracted me to this house, which somehow appeared like a slice cut out of a terrace, tall and thin, and marked out for further slicing by the verticals of the shadow, telephone post and drainpipe.

At the time ‘inflatables’ meant nothing to me. Did Richard Bacon make balloons, perhaps blimps, air-beds or life-size plastic doll sex toys – or even large and rather blobby plastic sunflowers?

RIBs or Rigid Inflatable Boats are still made in the area, and Humber RIBs, based further south at 99 Wincolmlee, claims to be the UK’s leading RIB manufacturer with the most extensive range and over 12,000 craft built to date and. And at 246 Wincolmlee is a large sign with letters on the wall now reading (unless more have since been lost) ‘in l t ble b at sales’, which took me a little while to decipher.


84-4e-35: Richard Bacon Inflatables, Wincolmlee Area, 1984 – River Hull

11th September 2017

This view looking south down Wincolmlee has changed remarkably little, although there have been some significant changes in the area. The bridge which frames the image has been repainted with the name of new company, Maizecor, incorporated in 1991 and still in business despite various periods of financial difficulties (during one of which in 2007 its then managing director died after falling 200ft from the top of its silo having apparently previously slit his wrists – the inquest returned an open verdict) and the rather fine streetlamps have disappeared, along with the road signs.

Gone too is the board for Bridgeside Garage, and a large metal shed for Northern Accessfloors has appeared on the corner of Scott St. But the other buildings are still present with few visible alterations, with the view down Wincolmlee to the many chimneys of the Charterhouse.

But more basic changes are hidden from view – most notably that Scott St Bridge to the left has now been closed to road traffic for around 25 years. The much-used urinal that stood close by it is also long gone, and the riverbank behind Grosvenor Mill at the centre of the picture, then still lined with wharves and buildings, is now empty with just a few bare areas used as car parks.


84-4e-51: Pauls Agriculture Limited and Wincolmlee, 1984 – River Hull

12th September 2017

Hull had a number of vandalised cemeteries – and under the Youth Opportunities Programme in the 1970s the young unemployed were put to use to further vandalise some of them, given a nominal wage for doing what they had previously done for free. This one on Sculcoates Lane had not been subjected to the official mistreatment as it was still owned by the Church of England.

There were two cemeteries on Sculcoates Lane, both overflows from another a little further east at the corner of Air St and Bankside which was the original St Mary’s Churchyard. Sculcoates in the 19th century was a densely populated area and the churchyard became crowded. The cemetery on the south side of Sculcoates Lane, where this picture was taken, was opened by the Church of England in 1818 to cope with the growing demand, and had a mortuary chapel (destroyed by wartime bombing) so became known as the Sculcoates Sacristy Cemetery.

Demand for burial space remained high – Sculcoates was a heavily industrialised area and pollution levels will have kept life expectancy in the area low – and a third parish cemetery was opened on the north side of the lane in the 1890s – Sculcoates Lane North Cemetery (also known as St Helena Gardens Cemetery.) There were relatively few burials in the Sacristy Cemetery after 1920, and these were mainly of people being added to existing graves. The last burial there appears to have been of 82 year old William Marshall (no relative) in 1955, added to the grave of his beloved wife Martha who had died 39 years earlier.

Since 2007 the cemetery has been run by and tidied up by the local community who have also photographed many of the graves for ‘FindAGrave.com’ but is still pleasantly overgrown and apparently popular with ghost-hunters, a group of whom led by local historian and Ripperologist Mike Covell heard loud moanings coming from one corner of the site and walked in on a porn film being shot there, much to the consternation of the actors in flagrante delicto. His story was widely reported in the popular press.

And no, there is no real Hull connection with Jack the Ripper, though given that thousands have been put forward as being the murderer it is hardly surprising that at least two, James Maybrick and Frederick Bailey Deeming, had a Hull connection.


84-4f-35: Sculcoates Sacristy Cemetery, Sculcoates Lane, 1984 – Beverley

13th September 2017

Another picture featuring the cobbles of Glass House Row, taken shortly after the previous landscape format image posted earlier which was on the last (39th) frame of a cassette of Agfapan 100. I stopped more or less where this picture was taken (probably moving into the shade by the wall) to reload my camera with my more usual Ilford FP4 (or Tri-X) and then took several similar portrait format images before more or less repeating the previous exposure and then waling down Glass House Row for some more pictures.

Glass House Row comes to a dead end at an industrial site and I think I had to retreat to Cleveland St to make my way up to Foster Street and the path to walk back over Wilmington Swing Bridge. A great deal of demolition was in progress in the area then and more since; the sidings for the cement works have gone and there is a different road layout with a large roundabout.


84-4f-62: Glass House Row, off Cleveland St, 1984 – River Hull

14th September 2017

Field St, off Holderness Rd, running down to Abbey St, was laid out a few years before the parish of Drypool-cum-Southcoates became a part of Hull in 1837 and was first known as Marfleet Lane. Later it became Prospect Place and in the 1960s it was renamed after a prominent Hull seed merchant, grocer and tea merchant William Field.

Field’s daughter Esther Ellen in 1873 married one of Hull’s greatest men, Thomas Ferens, a fellow Methodist Sunday School teacher though they separated during the First World War. Ferens continued to teach Sunday School throughout his life. A great philanthropist he worked his way to become general manager and then joint chairman of Reckitt & Sons, and donated much of his earnings to various causes, including the Hull Art gallery that bears his name and the University he brought into being with a donation of a quarter of a million pounds in 1925, which accounts for its motto ‘Lampada Ferens’. Ferensway was opened the year after his death in 1930. He on several occasions refused a knighthood, but was called by The Times ‘The Prince of Hull‘.

Abbey Street was only created in the 1890s, and was not named after a religious establishment but after Alderman Thomas Abbey who was a member of the local board with responsibility for laying out streets and had the reputation of being the rudest man in Hull. A B Rooms, Locksmiths and Safe Specialists, now trade in rather larger and more modern premises on Abbey Rd.

The building which this sign was on is I think that described in the Holderness Road (West) conservation area document as “Late Victorian building now altered beyond all recognition”. Formerly a commercial school, possibly a parish school, the parish relief office, parish dispensary and a “whitesmiths” (a worker in tin or other metals, including tin plate and galvanised iron) it certainly now requires a considerable leap of the imagination to recognise any of its past – and indeed from its frontage to recognise it as the building I photographed back in the 1980s.


84-4k-01: A B Rooms Locksmiths, Field St, 1984 – East Hull


You can see the new pictures added each day at Hull Photos, and I post them with the short comments above on Facebook.
Comments and corrections to captions are welcome here or on Facebook.
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British Journal revisited

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Back in the old days, the British Journal of Photography was the main trade weekly paper of UK photography professionals including photographers, keeping them up to date with the news in the industry, and also widening their view with reviews of photography books and shows and listings of exhibitions. It also published a year book which was mainly a good collection of recent work by British photographers along with a technical section at the end with developer recipes etc. I had a few pictures in what turned out to be the last issue, the BJP Annual 1988, though I don’t think I can be blamed for its demise.

With news increasingly breaking on the web the audience for a weekly trade paper diminished and so too presumably did sales. Perhaps too the problem was partly editorial, as throughout the time I was a subscriber as well as publishing much worth reading it also gave space (and paid by the word) to some of the most turgid prose ever written in some of its reviews, probably far too boring for even the editor to have read to the end before publishing.

BJP changed direction and relaunched as a monthly, moving more into covering the art world and since I already subscribed to several overseas magazines that seemed to be doing a rather better job of that I let my subscription lapse. Occasionally I’d look at its web site to see what it was doing, but there was seldom a great deal of interest for me.

But in the last week or so there have been several articles which have attracted my attention and which have been well-illustrated online. The first of these was about the show Illuminating India: Photography 1857-2017 which is showing at the Science Museum until 31st March 2018 and since entry is free I’ll certainly go in and look at if I have some spare time and am around South Kensington.

Back in 2003 I wrote a series of long articles on the early years of photography in India for the web, none of which are unfortunately still available (though parts live on, pirated on other web sites.) I began with ‘Photography in India: The Early Years‘, including the work of British photographers such as John Murray, then ‘India – The Late 1850s‘ looking at the work of Felice Beato and Robert and Harriet Tytler, going on to ‘Linnaeus Tripe‘, ‘Samuel Bourne: Search for the Sublime‘, then ‘Indian Photographs‘, a consideration of whether there was a specifically Indian way of photographing in the earlier years. Perhaps the best of the articles was on the ‘Prince of Indian Photographers’, court photographer to the Nizam of Hyderabad Lala Deen Dayal, and the last in that short series was on the Irish photographers ‘Burke & Baker‘.

Indian photography was certainly one of the many areas I would have returned to had I kept my job on the web, but probably the main reason I was sacked was for writing too much about such things, which were thought not to be of much interest to US readers and US advertisers – though it was exactly in line with what I was hired to do by a previous management and the articles attracted considerable interest.

August 2017 complete

Friday, October 6th, 2017

As usual it took me longer than expected to finish uploading my work from August, but today I finally managed it. The pictures from my week’s holiday at the end of August had been holding me up, partly because they were all taken on Fuji-X cameras, and the files need a little more work, but more it was a mental block, with a large number of pictures I couldn’t persuade myself to get down to.

I didn’t really warm to the Cotswolds, although I did get to visit a few places I’d long wanted to go to, notably William Morris’s house at Kelmscott and the Rollright Stones. But the countryside is pretty but not exciting, and the towns and villages seem chocolate box and suffocatingly twee. Somehow I just couldn’t feel I fitted in. It wasn’t that it was rural – had it still been Cider With Rosie I might have enjoyed it, but that atmosphere was gone, mown down by wealthy commuters in their Range Rovers and the towns overrun with tea shops. When we went to the Model Village at Bourton-on-the-Water it somehow seemed just as real as the actual place.

August 2017

Cotswold Holiday
Ghouta 4th Anniversary
ASH at the ICA

Stand Up to Trump
Travellers evicted in Staines
Justice for Marikana vigil
End dependent visa system abuse

Marikana Massacre Protest at Lonmin HQ

Vedanta accused of global crimes

Fire Risk Tower Blocks
Duke’s Lodge for Grenfell
Hiroshima Day 72 Years on

Tottenham remembers Mark Duggan
Broadwater Farm Estate


Stop Killing Londoners road block

London Images

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Bow Creek

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

March 2nd I was going to see people at Cody Dock on Bow Creek, but it was such a nice day that I decided to go early and walk there from Canning Town and afterwards to walk to Stratford. Things didn’t turn out quite like that, as the bridge over the DLR I’d hope to walk across was firmly barred and this meant a longish detour.

I’d hope also to be able to walk beside the creek from the East India Dock Rd, where a path exists along much of the way, but again there was no access, and time was getting short, so I had to go back to Canning Town and take the DLR to Star Lane to get to my meeting on time.

Paths beside Bow Creek seem to pose special problems. There was a path next to Canning Town Station for over 20 years before the access to it from Canning Town was finally opened up, and that closed bridge I wanted to use had been closed for many years too, opening only for a brief period. The walkway from Canning Town still ends a few yards south of the station entrance, but had been planned to take you all the way down to the Thames at Trinity Buoy Wharf, with the aid of a new footbridge. But money ran out, the bridge was never built and Crossrail works still block the path.

At Cody Dock, the path south is still blocked, though it is already laid out, and it would be possible if rather dangerous to climb around to get onto it. But one of the bonuses of the development of Cody Dock is that it is now possible to walk north from there along what was previously a path that came to a dead end. My route here is a part of East London’s sculpture trail, roughly following the Greenwich Meridian, ‘The Line’, a splendid initiative but which would be a much better walk if it could include a further length of path alongside Bow Creek.

It’s thanks to Cody Dock too, that the path south from there will hopefully soon be open (if it isn’t by the time you read this.) They proposed and helped negotiate this rather more obvious route rather than the much more expensive earlier plans for a new footbridge and a path through the former gasworks site on the opposite bank – which again fell through for lack of cash.

Further north, there was one long awaited improvement now open, with a ramp leading down from the bridge at Twelvetrees Crescent. Previously the route here required a detour alongside the busy approach road to Blackwall Tunnel, where the traffic fumes can be cut with a knife.

I’m still surprised to come across Londoners who don’t know of London’s most important industrial heritage site at Three Mills. The Grade I listed House mill may only be an eighteenth century building, but a mill here was in operation at the time of the Domesday book and this is not only the earliest recorded example of a tide mill but is thought to be the largest surviving tidal mill in the world. The Three Mills complex is also of some more recent historical import, as it was here in Nicholson’s Distillery that Chaim Weizmann set up a pilot plant for an improved fermentation method to produce acetone, vital for the production of cordite, on an industrial scale.

Weizmann’s contributions to the war effort were important in gaining the support from the UK government for his Zionist proposals, and were almost certainly an important factor behind the Balfour Declaration of 2nd November 1917 – and certainly Lloyd George was clear abou this in his later War Memoirs, though some historians are rather sniffy about it, and there had been lengthy series of meetings and talks before. The final draft of the declaration stated:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

Weizmann, who had been a leading Zionist since the era of the first Zionist conference in 1897, became the first President of Israel in 1949, having previously been Chairman of the Provisional State Council of Israel since the previous year, and continued in office until his death in 1952.

The water was high behind the mill and their were warnings of floods, but fortunately I was able to make my way to Stratford High St without getting my feet wet. I walked down to the Lea Navigation, where I took my first pictures of the Lea many years ago.

After walking around the area a little, I made my way back along the High St to the DLR station, returning to the East India Dock Road to take some pictures here I had not had time for in the morning. By now the sun was very low in the sky, and this made working difficult.

You can see more pictures from my walks on My London Diary

Bow Creek & Canning Town
Cody Dock
Leawalk to Bow Locks
Three Mills & Stratford

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