Archive for the ‘My Own Work’ Category

Modi’s Visit

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

A large protest in Parliament Square included Kashmiris and Indians from many sections of the community including Tamils, Sikhs, Ravidass, Dalits, Muslims who say Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is pursuing policies dictated by the ultra-right Hindu supremacist RSS.

They say Modi encourages mob violence against Muslims and Christians, protects rapists and promotes caste hierarchy and the persecution of Dalits, and attacks on both the free press and the judicial system. Modi’s policies inflame Hindus to take illegal actions and the police and army ignore them. Modi also promotes the corporate plunder of Indian resources by global mining companies such as Vedanta. Kashmiris call for an end to the military occupation of Kashmir by India, and and for an end to the atrocities committed by the Indians there.

Many well-off Hindus welcome Modi’s Hindu nationalism and the benefits it brings them and their friends in India and dismiss many of the stories of atrocities or blame them on others. One was a group of Hindu women, many looking rather too well-fed, who came holding placards with a picture of Modi on one side and the logo of his ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ initiative (Save girl child, educate a girl child) on the other side.

Most of the richer Indians living in the UK are Hindu, and many are supporters and donors of the Tory party. Their representations to the government here have prevented caste discrimination being made an offence in the UK. Although outlawed by the Indian constituion, it is still rife in India, and those from the lower castes, such as the Dalits, feel that the Modi government encourages it.

And although the Sikh religion also opposes discrimination, many in the Sikh community felt that they were discriminated against by high-caste Sikhs who in 2009 were responsible for the murder of cleric Ramanand Dass in Vienna. Following this many Ravidass Gurdwaras declared themselves to be a religion fully separated from Sikhism, although some still consider themselves to be Sikhs. The two groups differ in their regard Guru Ravidas, a North Indian mystic poet-sant who lived around the 14th to 15th century and has many poems attributed to him in the Sikh scriptures.

Many Sikhs, particularly since the 1984 Indian army attacks on the Golden Temple massacring many of those in the complex, and later that year government encouraged riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in which many more Sikhs were murdered, call of the establishment of a separate Sikh state, Khalistan.

Kahmiris were there to call for India to get out of Kashmir, a country divided into three parts with three occupying powers, Pakistan, China and India, with boundaries between the Indian and Pakistani held region swhich have changed little since the British left in 1947 despite three major wars in Kashmir between the two countries and many border skirmishes. The Chinese army quickly seized the area it considered part of China in 1962, easily defeating the Indian Army.

One recent atrocity in January that united many of the protesters against Modi was the hideous rape and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim girl, Asif Bano in Indian occupied Kashmir by Hindus who kidnapped her and kept her in a temple where she was violated before her body was dumped in bushes. Not only were the details of the crime horrific but regional officials allegedly tried to cover up the crime and there was organised intimidation of those trying to get justice. Eventually 8 men were arrested, including two police officers and and former government official.

Parliament Square was surrounded with flags of the Commonwealth Countries, flying there because of the Commonwealth Conference Modi was in London to attend. Some of the protesters attempted to burn the Indian flag, but it proved to be rather fire resistant, though they did finally persuade it to melt an smoulder a little. There was quite a scrum of protesters and photographers around this group and it was difficult to get any clear pictures.

More on My London Diary:

Indians protest President Modi’s visit
Hindus support Modi
Save Girl, Educate Girl

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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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Scrap Universal Credit

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Although it was a good idea to try and simplify the benefits system, Universal Credit has proved to be a costly failure, which has created a great deal of hardship for many of the claimants who have been transferred on to it.

Those who have been putting the system into effect – particularly the truly evil IDS (Iain Duncan Smith) have simply failed to understand how most people on low incomes or on benefits actually live. They inhabit a world where people have bank accounts which are seldom empty at the end of the month, who never have to think whether they can afford to buy food or pay the electricity bill or rent. People who if they find themselves a bit short – perhaps because they have just bought some luxury item or had an expensive holiday – have relatives or friends who can lend them the odd thou or can get a bank overdraft which they can pay off after the next pay cheque or two, or when the next deal comes through. People who probably own several houses, and are profiting from the rental on some of them.

I’m fortunate now not to have to worry about money. Not particularly rich, but enough to meet my needs – and have the occasional small treat. I’ve lived on relatively little (by the standards of the wealthy) all my life, but grew up in poverty. My mother wrote down every penny she spent in a small red notebook, added it up at the end of every week. Usually there was enough to pay the baker, the butcher, the grocer (in those days they delivered and called for their money later) but sometimes she had to borrow a few pennies from a neighbour (or one of us children’s money boxes we saved the odd penny in) and pay them back with a little scrimping the next week.

People on low wages or relying on benefits don’t generally have the kind of back up that the middle classes take for granted. If they have to wait weeks without money (and most of those transferred to universal credit it is a minimum of 5 weeks, often much longer) they get behind with rent, often get threatened with eviction. They have to rely on food banks to eat.

Those most affected by the changes in the benefits system have been the disabled. Not just by changing to Universal Credit, but by other changes in benefits that have led to many losing the support that enabled them to live decent and productive lives. They have been targeted by deliberately poorly designed assessments of ability to work, administered to them by largely unqualified people who have targets to fail as many as possible. Its a system which has been clearly found to be unfit for purpose and where many are subjected to a repeated series of failed assessments followed – months later – by successful appeals.

Its a system that has rightly been called Kafkaesque, and is probably beyond saving. The effects of all the cuts are even worse, a national scandal in which thousands have died. But the government still claim that despite the problems it is a success and in any case there is no simple way to stop it and go back to a system that, however complex, actually more or less worked.

Some of the problems of Universal Credit are down to the failure to get a working IT system that could not only deal with the many differing circumstances of those claiming benefits, but even more more importantly give the kind of instant communication of personal details between the DWP and the HM Customs & Revenue. It seems unlikely that this will ever be got to work, with truly huge sums being wasted on yet another failed IT project.

The Conservatives when elected as a part of the coalition in 2010 picked on the disabled because they thought they would be an easy target. But the activities of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) have proved them wrong, producing some of the most determined of protesters, and a group the police find difficult to deal with, not wanting to invite public outrage.

I met with the group outside Parliament, where some were intending to go inside and hold a protest there. I didn’t go with them as I was fairly sure I would not be able to take pictures, but instead went with others who were holding a rally in front of Parliament.

When the protesters came out after a noisy protest inside, the rally continued for a while and then Paula Peters told us more about what had gone on inside. She then asked those present if they were ready for some DPAC action, getting a resounding positive response.

The group then moved off towards Parliament Square, where, as expected, they blocked the road, holding up all traffic wanting to go to Millbank or Victoria St. Police came to talk to them, telling them they were committing an offence and might be arrested, but most protesters ignored the warnings. A little over half an hour later, the protesters decided the road block had gone on for long enough, and made their way to the side of the road.

More on My London Diary: Stop & Scrap Universal Credit say DPAC

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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 – another month

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Very little progress appears to have been made in finding homes for those displaced by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, and in April little or no progress appeared to have been made in the official investigations, either by police or others. There seems to have been a great deal of deliberate delay, one of the usual tactics of the establishment under threat, giving time for that grass to grow long.

But I think it is clear that the Grenfell community will not give up its demands for Justice, with these monthly marches keeping up the pressure for action, even if so far little has resulted. One thing that many were discussing before the silent march began was whether something more active was needed.

Moving the march to start at Kensington & Chelsea Council’s offices just off Kensington High Street certainly make it more visible, with the march holding up traffic on one of London’s busiest streets, still full of shoppers and normally busy with traffic in the rush hour. Marching around Ladbroke Grove close to Grenfell Tower obviously was significant but could go almost unnoticed in the rest of London and the country.

Not only was the march more visible, the event was more audible too. The march remains silent but the United Ride 4 Grenfell by bikers from the Ace Cafe on the North Circular Rd, which included Muslim bikers Deen Riders, riding to Parliament and then coming to Kensington Town Hall was definitely very noisy. The silent marchers waited by the side of the road at the Town Hall as they went passed, then moved onto the road to start the silent march.

I didn’t find it easy to photograph the bikers. The glare from their powerful front lights as the came down the slope towards the town hall was overpowering, and the first of them were past fairly quickly. Fortunately they had to wait for some of the group to catch up, and then for the traffic lights at Kensington High St, so I was able to take a little more time. There wasn’t a great deal on many of the riders or their machines to show their support; a few had flags on their machines or labels on their clothing, one or two with Grenfell t-shirts visible. I took most of the pictures opposite the marchers waiting to leave so their banners and hearts appeared in the background.

 

Grenfell silent walk – 10 months on
Bikers for Grenfell

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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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Hizb Ut-Tahrir at Turkish Embassy

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

I first met Hizb Ut-Tahrir in 2004 and have photographed a number of their protests since then. There are often some at them who are not very happy about being photographed, though mainly it is a few men who are unhappy about the women on their protests being photographed. Of course they have staged women’s protests – such as one at the French embassy in 2010, but at most the women are relegated to an area well away from the speakers. At least at this one there were powerful speakers so they could hear what was going on, but at least while I was there, no women spoke.

The organisation was started in 1953 in Jerusalem by a Sunni Muslim scholar and aims to restore the Khilafah Rashidah, the “Rightly Guided” rule of the four caliphs who succeeded the Prophet in a 30 year reign when Muslim armies conquered much of the Middle East. They would sweep away the more recently created states such as Turkey which they accuse of complicity in handing Syria back to Assad in accordance with colonial interests.

While many Turks and Kurds condemn Erdogan as a dictator who is increasingly moving the country toward an Islamic regime, they condemn him as a secular leader, and in particular for his strengthening Turkish military and economic ties with Israel – which they do not recognise. The protest called on all Muslims to support the brave people of Palestine who “are raising their voices to speak out and protest against the illegal occupation, as they are mercilessly killed by the Zionist regime.”

Hizb Ut-Tahrir is banned in many countries, including, according to Wikipedeia, “Germany, Russia, China, Egypt, Turkey, and all Arab countries except in Lebanon, Yemen, and UAE.”
There were moves to ban it in the UK after the London bombings and again around the 2010 election but it remains legal here as there is little if any evidence of them being actively involved in any terrorist activities here. The organisation was given a huge boost by the invasion of Iraq in 2003 but numbers of supporters have declined in recent years.

More at Hizb Ut-Tahrir protest against Turkey.

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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

________________________________________________________

Mayfair Monopoly

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

We had come to Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair for the start of a Land Justice Network event, loosely based on the board game ‘Monopoly’, The Landlords’ Game, an illustrated tour of London’s wealthiest areas reminding us that land ownership in Britain is one of the most unequal in the world, both in rural areas and in cities.

The unequal ownership of land, much deriving back to the Norman conquest and its aftermath is the basis of our class system and the inequalities which still persist which arise from it.

There is an excellent report of the event on the Land Justice Network web site (including one of my pictures) which also has links to the great map and guide for the walk by Nick Hayes which people at the left of the picture above are looking at, and those of you who missed the event can repeat it on your own if you wish.

Much of Westminster is owned by the Duke of Westminster, since 1677 when an area of swamp on the outskirts of the city came into the possession of the 21 year old Sir Thomas Grosvenor by his arranged marriage to the 12 year old Mary Davies (arranged marriages at an early age were not unusual then), who had inherited the land from her father. At the time it was hardly worth much, but eventually it became Mayfair, Park Lane and Belgravia, and the backbone of the enormously wealthy Grosvenor Estates.

Although the land belongs to the Grosvenor estate, many of the buildings are owned by overseas companies, particularly those in tax havens – such as the British Virgin Island – outside whose offices we stopped for several speakers, including Christian Eriksson talked about his investigations for Private Eye tracking the massive increase in tax haven ownership of UK property by various dubious characters.

The tour included stops outside one large house empty for around 15 years, the London offices -‘Grouse House’- of Odey Asset management whose owner Crispin Odey formed ‘You Forgot the Birds’ to oppose the RSPB who want to stop the killing of birds.

Then there was Foxtons, and along Park Lane to the Grosvenor Hotel, which hosts many of London’s most dubious events including awards for property developers, and into Hyde Park, the scene of many former battles over the public right of access, before walking along what was called London’s most expensive street, Grosvenor Crescent, where there is a statue of the first Marquis of Westminster (the family continued climbing, from Baronet to Baron to Earl to Marquis and finally Duke in 1874.)

I left the tour briefly to photograph another event, catching up with it again at the final rally in Cadogan Square, part of the second largest of the surviving aristocratic freehold estates in central London, owned by the Cadogan family, one of the richest families in the United Kingdom. The Cadogan estate began with another marriage, that of the second Baron Cadogan to Elizabeth Sloane, the daughter of Sir Hans Sloane, who had purchased the Manor of Chelsea in 1712.

More pictures at: The Landlords’ Game

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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

________________________________________________________

Friday the 13th

Friday, July 20th, 2018

I suppose on average the 13th of the month falls on a Friday once in seven months, and there is no real significance in this. This year, 2018, we had one in July (for Trump’s visit) but also there was one earlier in April, and slightly unusually for a Friday I photographed three events.

Inminds human rights group hold regular protests every couple of weeks, usually on a Friday against various aspects of the Israeli state’s treatment of Palestinians. They are at various locations, often outside companies who support the Israeli military or prison system in various ways, which provides some variety in the pictures on those occasions I go to photograph them. A constant feature is of course the Palestinian flag, rather a lot of them, including some on some very tall poles, which look good from a distance but are often difficult to photograph. Flags are often a problem too in seldom flying as the photographer would want, sometimes hanging limp, sometimes spelling out their message back to front.

As well as the flags, there is also some great Palestinian music which I never tire of hearing, extremely evocative. The speech about the reason for the protest of course differs depending on the location and the particular event, but many of the large banners they erect are the same, and it is sometimes difficult to produce different pictures.

Today it was Palestinian Prisoners Day and the protest highlighted the plight of the roughly 6,500 Palestinians currently in Israeli jails, around 350 of them children, and the protest was on the South Bank embankment in front of the Royal Festival Hall. And it was next to the downstream footbridge attached to the rail bridge into Charing Cross, which gave me a different perspective to play with.

It was also conveniently on my way across the bridge for the short walk to Downing St, where Stop the War had called a protest calling for Theresa May to stop her plans to take part in bombing Syria, together with French and US forces, following a possibly unreliable report of a chemical attack by Assad’s forces.

They were not the only groups there to protest, with a number of Syrian Assad Supporters, Veterans for Peace, and others who continued the protest after Stop The War, having had a few speeches from their members and taken a letter to Downing St (fortunately they went with an MP who was allowed in to deliver it, though they were not) in their highly controlled protest packed up and left. Things then got a little more interesting with people going on to Whitehall and blocking traffic, eventually being removed by police.

Though better to photograph, this also threatened my schedule, as I was hoping to cover a small protest at the Ministry of Health by NHS staff from hospitals across London opposed to the proposed pay deal for all NHS staff other than doctors, dentists and very senior managers.

It would have been easy if the Dept of Health was still in Whitehall, in Richmond House where it had been since this was built in 1987, just a few yards from Downing St. But unfortunately it recently moved out to new offices in Victoria St around half a mile away, rather a long way to run carrying cameras and bag. I saw the protesters outside in the distance as I trotted down the street, but then looked again when closer and they had disappeared, having occupied the foyer.

Fortunately security had not locked the door, and I was able to follow them in to take a few pictures, but was rather out of breath and perhaps not at my best. After a few minutes they went outside and posed for some group photographs.

More on all three protests:

Palestinian Prisoners Day protest
Don’t Bomb Syria protests
Ditch the Deal say NHS Staff

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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

________________________________________________________

Not Quite Déjà-vu

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

This morning I took a look at the front page of Café Royal Books, a small independent publishing house based in Southport, England originally set up in 2005 by Craig Atkinson as a “way to disseminate drawings and photographs, in multiple, affordably, quickly, and internationally without relying on ‘the gallery’“.

Since 2012, Café Royal Books has published at least weekly an ongoing series of publications presenting mainly ‘British Documentary Photography since 1960’. As he says on the site:

“This type of work has historically been neglected, in the UK and overseas by major institutions. It is often neglected by the photographer too, possibly because there has been no outlet, as such, for it.”

The publications usually present a series of images by a single photographer on a single project. It may be the work from a single event or representing a much longer project.  CRB has produced some larger works, but these weekly publications are generally between 24 and 40 pages, more a zine than a book, with the aim of building up a comprehensive survey of the area of work. Some photographers are represented by quite a few such volumes, in some cases more than 20, while others have preferred to stop at a single issue.

Atkinson keeps down costs, wanting to keep the issues affordable – currently £6 each for most.  You can get every title (except the special editions etc) with a 60 issue subscription – roughly the annual output – and there are also limited editions in a boxed set of 100 books every 100th title aimed “at public collections, so the books remain accessible.”

Among the photographers who have already had issues published are some very well-known names – including Martin Parr, Jo Spence, Daniel Meadows, Brian Griffin, David Hurn, Victor Sloan, Chris Killp, Paul Trevor and others, but some of the best books are by people you may well never have heard of.

The three most recent titles are Diane Bush — The Brits, England in the 1970s,
Ian MacDonald — Greatham Creek 1969–1974 and Janine Wiedel — Chainmaking: The Black Country West Midlands 1977, each worth a look, and you can page through them on the web site. Another recent title is John Benton-Harris — The English, where I have to declare an interest, as I helped John translate his ideas into digital form. It’s a great introduction to the work of this photographer who came to London to photograph Churchill’s funeral and stayed here as one of our most perceptive observers – and was also largely responsible for the seminal 1985 Barbican show ‘American Images 1945-80‘, providing most of the ideas and contacts and doing much of the legwork for which others were rather better at taking most of the credit.

But the déjà-vu? It came on the back cover of a book by another US visitor to this country, Diane Bush, who was here from 1969 for ten years, becoming a part of the Exit Photography Group with Paul Trevor and Nicholas Battye which produced ‘Down Wapping‘. On the back cover of her ‘The Brits, England in the 1970s’ was a picture of a car parked in front of a fence, using the reflections of that fence. It isn’t the same car nor I think the same fence, nor quite the same treatment, but I immediately thought of my picture when I saw hers.


Parked car, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1978 – Peter Marshall

I don’t think there is much possibility that I had seen her picture when I took mine, but have a nagging suspicion that somewhere, by some photographer, is a similar image that we both had seen before making our pictures.
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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

________________________________________________________

June 2018 – At last

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018


Huddersfield Royal Infirmary campaigners at the BBC – NHS at 70 – Free, for all, forever

I have at last finished updating My London Diary for June 2018. It’s been hard work for various reasons. Thirty three stories and around 1800 pictures represents quite a lot of time, travelling to and from events as well as being there to take the pictures. And on average it probably takes me another couple of hours to process and caption the images to upload to one of my agencies. Some stories require quite a bit of extra research, as well as more general research to keep up with events.

After I’ve sent off the pictures there are other things to do. Most I make available on Facebook for my friends and the public, particularly for those who took part in any events. Usually having created a Facebook album I then post links to the pictures on the event pages or other relevant places, as well as putting them on Twitter.

For the posts on My London Diary I then go through the pictures again, picking out more pictures that fill gaps in the story, showing different aspects or different people taking part and ‘develop’ those to add to the set I’s selected to go to an agency. Typically I’ll put a little over twice as many on my web site as I file, and these often include a number of the more interesting pictures which I’ve decided for various reasons aren’t suitable for the agency.

The text that was filed with the pictures is a starting point for My London Diary, but often needs extra information. And since it is my own web site and meant to be a personal one, often it gives rather more of my opinions. Finally, although I designed the web site to be easy to update, adding the information also takes time, most of it in adding captions which as well as telling readers what the pictures are about are also vital in making them accessible through on-line searches.

June 2018

NHS at 70 – Free, for all, forever
Torture protest at US Embassy
Vauxhall & Nine Elms
Peckham & Deptford
Many Thousands March for a People’s Vote


Vote No to Disastrous Heathrow Expansion

White Pendragon letters refused
No Heathrow block Parliament Square
Stop Arming Saudi to bomb Yemen
Protesters Stand Up For The Elephant
Assange in Embassy for Six Years
Staines Walk
Justice for Grenfell Solidarity March
Massive Silent Walk for Grenfell Anniversary


‘SOAS 9’ deported cleaners remembered

TGI Fridays demand Fair Tips & Fair Pay
Stop Brexit ‘Pies Not Lies’


Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day

Zionists protest against AlQuds Day
100 years of Votes for Women
End government killings in Nicaragua
Anti-fascists oppose Free Tommy protest


Free Tommy Robinson

Close all Slaughterhouses
Flypast for Queen’s Official Birthday
Colombian Carnival for Water, Life & Land
Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths
University of London staff in-House now
Zionists defend Israel shooting protesters


Free Palestine, Stop Arming Israel

Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland Now


Sikhs remember the 1984 genocide

Anti-Knife UK protest

At the bottom of the page is a link to the pictures I occasionally take travelling around London, mainly from bus or train windows, and a few when I’m walking. I like to travel on the top deck of buses which gives a different angle from Google’s Streetview, and trains often provide a quite different view of the city.

London Images

As usual, comments are welcome here on any of these pictures and stories.

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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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Stop the Killing

Friday, July 13th, 2018

I spend a lot of time at events wondering what I should photograph. Of course there are people and situations that are visually attractive and it would generally not be sensible to miss these opportunities, but that isn’t enough. It can often even be quite misleading and unrepresentative of the event, though it’s often such images that get published, and what I think many photographers aim for to sell to newspapers.

Another type of image that seems often to get published are group photos, with large numbers of people holding a banner, taken frontally in the manner of team photographs – I often joke about putting someone in the middle holding the ball, though few find them funny. I suppose for small events these at least let you see how many were taking part, and local newspapers used to feel that showing more faces boosted sales, but when there is often a large group of photographers crowding to get around the centre spot I usually avoid it.

My motivation for photographing events is to tell the story. And for me that very seldom can be done in a single image but requires a series of images. Placards and banners are often very important in this, as to are gestures and expressions. At this protest, I tried to show something of the anger that people felt at the cold-blooded shooting of Palestinian protesters by Israeli snipers.

Things that are worth photographing aren’t always particularly photogenic, and it is often something of a challenge to make pictures that are visually attractive, clear and precise. I took a great many pictures, probably over a thousand, though at times there were very many of the same subject as I tried hard to ensure I had something close to what I wanted.

Photographing an event like this involves a huge number of decisions about where to be when and what to photograph – and on more technical matters such as focus, focal length and framing. I try to concentrate on these and take advantage of the automatic features of the camera to deal with as much as it can; though usually I like to chose where the focus is, I’m happy to let the camera actually auto-focus there, and to let auto-exposure get the exposure more or less correct.

This was a large protest, with several thousand packing mainly in to a fairly small space, making movement through the crowd a little difficult. There was a small press area in front of the stage, but I chose not to use it for photographing the speakers as it was too close to them looking up from below. But the crowd perhaps meant I stood in that one place rather longer than I would have liked.

I wondered briefly whether or not to photograph the counter-protest by half a dozen Zionists a few yards away, and decided to do so – and you can see a few at the link below. There were many, many more Jews in the protest ashamed of the actions of the Israeli snipers following their orders to kill and maim unarmed protesters at a distance, shooting many in the back as they ran away, using bullets designed to expand and inflict maximum damage to those they did not kill.

And as usual at such protests there were the anti-Zionist Jews with their message “Judaism Demands FREEDOM for GAZA and ALL PALESTINE & forbids any Jewish State” .

Here I’ve only posted a small and fairly random selection of the images that I took – and written very little about the actual protest. You can read more and see an unusually large number – around a hundred – of the pictures I made (edited down from perhaps a thousand) on My London Diary at Great March of Return – Stop the Killing

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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

________________________________________________________

CND At 60

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Sixty years ago I wasn’t really into politics, only just a teenager, and didn’t then share the views of my two elder and wiser brothers. I think I still saw war as rather like the school playground, where you had to stick up for yourself and fight (even if not very effectively.)  Jim was 13 years older than me, Alan just 4 years my elder and I think both spent that Easter weekend marching to Aldermaston, though I can’t recognise either of them in the film clips and photos of the event.  Three years later I remember them coming home after a protest organised by the Committee of 100, when thousands sat down in Whitehall; Jim had gone limp and been lifted off the street by police, and his spectacles were broken, but on that occasion there were no arrests.

Later I did join CND, and went to a number of their protests and marches in London, though I’ve never walked the full distance to or from Aldermaston. Back in 2004 I went to the rally in Trafalgar Square on Friday, but left the marchers in Kensington, joining them again for a few hours on the Sunday as they made their way from Maidenhead towards Reading before walking back to pick up my bike and cycle home. And then on Easter Monday an early morning train took me and Linda back to Reading in time to join the final day’s march to Aldermaston.

It was a privilege to be able to walk part of the way and talk with Pat Arrowsmith, and there were many old and some new friends on the march. Because I was going to have to walk at least 12 miles (and actually rather more) I didn’t take my normal camera bag, but just a small digital camera, the Canon Digital Ixus 400. It wasn’t a bad camera, but the pictures are not quite to my usual standard and only about 3.8Mp. Seeing the difference between this and the Nikons made me upgrade a couple of years later to a Fuji FinePix F31 6Mp camera.

I’ve been to Aldermaston a few times since then, but for the protests I’ve usually put my bike on the train to Reading and cycled the 12 miles from there.  Sometimes even lazier, just from Mortimer station and once from Aldermaston station, a mistake as the Atomic Weapons Establishment (Bomb Factory) is up a rather large hill.   There is a similar climb, Hermit’s Hill on the Reading Road at Burghfield, but after struggling up that a few times I now take a slight detour along Clayhill Rd, also as its name implies a hill, but less daunting and with less traffic. Coming back to Reading Hermit’s Hill is exhilarating, though highly dangerous given the potholed state of our roads , and I was lucky to survive on this occasion. Slow-moving cars did mean I had to brake a little, a waste of energy which always disappoints me.

Not only was it the 60th anniversary of CND, but there was also something else to celebrate – the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, finalised last year and signed by 122 nations, for which ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, of which CND is a part was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Of course the UK is not one of those 122 nations, although long ago British governments argued that although they were against unilateral nuclear disarmament, they favoured multilateral nuclear disarmament and would be ready to sign a treat if other nations did. It never was a serious promise – there are too many vested interests in warfare and military expenditure.

There was a great deal of grey hair on show, and a number of people who had marched in 1958, including Walter Wolfgang who spoke at the event. Veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent recalled how he had cursed it as a young cleric in Kensington as it blocked the road for several hours and disrupted the schedule of four weddings he was conducting, though it was soon after that he was converted to the cause.

More about the event and more pictures on My London Diary at CND at 60 at Aldermaston.

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