Archive for the ‘My Own Work’ Category

Rebellion continues

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

The second day of Extinction Rebellion’s shutdown of Westminster was in some respects a disturbing one for those of us who believe in civil liberties and the rule of law, with the police moving in at times like a group of thugs and deliberately destroying the property of the protesters.

XR have a dedication to non-violence and made no attempt to stop the police or to resist the arrests that took place, and the use of force seemed quite uncalled for. Of course large scale acts of civil disobedience do cause inconvenience and annoyance to others, but the response of a civilised society should be to try and resolve the issues rather than to attack the protesters.

Those who break laws can and in the case of XR do expect to be arrested but should not be assaulted and too many arrests that I saw seemed to involve an unnecessary use of violence and deliberate infliction of pain.

One new banner read ‘CLIMATE STRUGGLE = CLASS STRUGGLE’ and it is perhaps hard not to see the police as a force being used by the small group of those who are rich and powerful to protect their own narrow interests at the expense of the rest of the people. Their more vigorous response on this second day of protest can only have been a result of considerable political pressure on them to subdue the protests. They clearly came not to keep the peace but to try and win a battle.

As you can see from my pictures, the protests were still continuing at various sites around Westminster and the general atmosphere was something of a festival. But a festival with a great deal of commitment by people desperate that our government take effective action against the most serious problem faced by the country and the world. We are just beginning to see a government forced into taking belated action against the threat posed by COVID-19, but we need a similar level of action against climate change that otherwise will be even more catastrophic.

‘Everything Will Change’ whether we like it or not, but we have a choice to make changes which may avert the extinction of our species. But our government continues to fiddle while the planet burns.

More at Extinction Rebellion continues.


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.


Luminous Lint

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

One of the messages that arrived recently in my inbox was from Alan Griffiths of Luminous Lint, a perhaps strangely named web site which has a great deal of information on the history of photography and is certainly the best site of its type.

For those with time on their hands due to self-isolation over COVID-19, and particularly for students whose colleges have close down, Alan has very generously made this subscription site free for the next month or so – and will review the situation then.

Take a look, and if you find the site interesting then please consider taking out a subscription if you can afford it. Sites such as LL take a great deal of work and it is only the income from subscriptions that make it possible. Here are the details of the offer from his e-mail :

While we all go through the turmoil of COVID-19 we each have to do what we can.

It is important for all students to have access to high quality materials on photohistory as universities, schools and libraries around the world close down so I’ve opened up Luminous-Lint.

You can login to www.luminous-lint.com for free with the email address spring@lumlint.com and the password “spring” all in lowercase. You can login here.

This will be available until 18 April 2020 and then I will take another look at the situation.

I would ask the following of you:

1. If you see any errors or have something to add let me know. I’m always at alan@luminous-lint.com

2. Subscribe if you can afford it as it allows me to provide services to those who can’t.

Other than that – have an interesting time exploring and I wish you, your family and friends all the best,


My own sites, including My London Diary, London Photos, Hull Photos, The River Lea and London’s Industrial Heritage (see below) and a few other smaller sites you can find links to on this site remain free all the time.

I’m able to provide them without charge thanks to a relatively small pension from some years of teaching and a largely abstemious lifestyle :-) as well as the occasional sale of prints or images for editorial use, but small Paypal donations, as the text I often append to these posts suggest, are always welcome. And you can also help by sharing these posts or other work on my sites on social media.

As well as those web sites, you can also find over a thousand rather higher resolution versions of my images on my Flickr account – and I hope soon to add a few thousand more. I’m happy to share these images – and for you to share them with your friends – but they are all copyright and a licence is required for any commercial or editorial use.

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.

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, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

London 1986 on Flickr

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

I’ve just uploaded the first tranche of 112 of my black and white pictures from 1986 on to Flickr. These are some of the pictures I took in the first four months of the year.

In 1986 I made around 5500 exposures on black and white film, the great majority of them being photographs taken on the streets of London, concentrating on the fabric of the city – the buildings and shop fronts in particular. At the same time I was also taking colour film, with a greater focus on shops and window displays.

A few of those black and white exposures were taken outside London on holidays and visits to family and friends, and rather more on a project in the industrial areas beside the Thames in Kent from Dartford to Cliffe.

Most motifs were taken with a single frame, carefully thought out and executed much as if I was using a large format camera, rather than the 35mmm Olympus fitted with a shift lens which I used for most of these images. A few received a second exposure, perhaps to concentrate on detail or where I could see an alternative approach and even more rarely I became excited enough to take more.

The almost a thousand images which will eventually be in this album represent about a quarter or a third of this work – the images I now find more interesting. Some of the scans have minor technical problems that annoy me but are probably not apparent to most viewers. Most were made while I was learning to use a DSLR to photograph negatives.

Although I had been walking around London with a camera since 1973 it was really in 1986 that I made a serious start on photographing the city as a whole, much as I had previously concentrated on various areas of docklands. Photographically I was inspired by the work of Eugène Atget in Paris, recording the old city he saw disappearing, but also by the encyclopedic work of Pevsner and his co-workers in ‘The Buildings of England‘, the original series of which were published between 1951-74. These both inspired and infuriated me by their omissions and the sometimes crass judgements and in particular what seemed to be a disdain for the vernacular, the commercial and the industrial. I decided my own view would be more comprehensive and I would photograph any building I found significant or interesting as well as exemplars of the typical.

Later I would often go into the library at the National Building Record, then in Saville Row, and while waiting for my appointment pull one of their London files from the shelves and leaf through its contents. For most areas it was church after church after church, occasionally enlivened by some ancient house or stately home. Perhaps the odd old pub, but little else to reflect where the ordinary people of London lived, worked or shopped. A few of my images helped to widen their collection, much of the older work in which I was told was donated by Church of England clergy with time on their hands and the money to indulge in photography as a hobby.

I had of course set myself an impossible task, and I realised this from the start, but made it even more so by widening my view in later years to take in the whole of Greater London. I kept at work for almost 15 years, by which time I had covered most of those areas that particularly interested me. But it had also become clear to me that times had changed and in particular that technology was changing.

I had already made use of the web to put some of my work online – in my Buildings of London website first put online in 1996 (with later revisions but never brought up to date as I decided it was impossible to scale it up) and this continued with London’s Industrial Heritage in 1999. The images on these sites reflect the But by 2000 it was clear to me that the impact of digital photography would lead to the city becoming on-line as a whole in a new way that made the continuance of my project redundant.

Google brought this to fruition with the launch of Street View in 2007, though I think it only came to London in 2008. When you view an area on this now, you can probably see it as it was some time in the last year, but, if you are fortunate, can also go back to various other views taken as far back as 2008. But for those relatively few areas and buildings in my pictures you may be able to go back to 1986. Much of London has changed dramatically since then.

Richmond Ave, Islington 86-2d-42_2400

You can watch them here, but its better to go to Flickr and watch them at a larger size.


XR Wedding

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

I’m not a wedding photographer. I have been asked to photograph weddings on quite a few occasions, but with a handful of exceptions for family and friends I’ve always refused – it just isn’t something I have any interest in and I’m fortunate to be able to afford to refuse work I don’t want to do. There are others who enjoy it and find it fulfilling – and who need the money.

I think until this event my full tally was five – two sons and three old friends for whom I did it as a wedding present. And at this wedding on Westminster Bridge, although I was taking pictures I wasn’t ‘the wedding photographer’, it was a part of Extinction Rebellion’s protest.

Though I had known one of the couple for some years. I think I first photographed Tamsin back in 2008 when she was leading the attempt by Climate Rush to storm the Houses of Parliament, and got to know her better at a series of protests over the next year or two, mainly against Heathrow expansion.

I hadn’t known when it was announced by XR that there would be a wedding that she was to be one of the couple getting married. The start of the event was somewhat delayed as her partner was held up at a protest outside the Dept of Business etc (BEIS) in Victoria St, and Tamsin had to go and find her, but eventually all the vital parties were present and the ceremony began.

It proceeded much like any other wedding, except there seemed to be considerably more kissing, but all the normal bits were there, including the exchange of rings.

I was some distance away and to one side, and at some parts of the ceremony the participants had their backs to me and it certainly wasn’t possible to move to get a better view. But for some of the time I was in a perfect position as this picture of Tamsin slipping the ring onto Mellissa’s finger I could not have been better placed. This is a relatively small detail from a frame (below) taken with the angle of view roughly equivalent to using 200mm lens, though I was actually working at 31mm (62 mm equivalent) using the 14-150 zoom on the Olympus OMD EM5-II.

It was a dull afternoon, but I was still working at 1/100s f8 at ISO400. I suspect the image stabilisation of the Olympus body helped to keep the picture sharp, at at lowish ISOs the quality of the Micro Four Third’s image is great. I think in low light, at ISO3200 and above, there is a noticeable advantage for full-frame, but when you can use slower speeds it is hard to tell the difference.

More pictures at XR Rebels marry on Westminster Bridge.


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.

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, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


XR Westminster

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

I don’t know who these two men were, striding purposefully with their document cases but I think they had emerged from a government ministry and they were probably making their way to another or possibly the Tory party HQ. It’s possibly quite unfair, but to me they seemed to epitomise the reason why we are in the situation we are in, a determination to carry on ‘business as usual‘ when it is quite clear that to survive we need drastic system change. We can’t trust men in suits.

XR were protesting across Westminster, and it was hard to keep up with what was happening at I think eleven locations, but I did quite a lot of walking around and taking pictures, with a pretty total shutdown of all the roads in the area. Police made movement a little more difficult by setting up some road blocks of their own, which seemed totally pointless but made my job more difficult when they wouldn’t even let me walk across Lambeth Bridge although I showed my press card.

They seemed also to be making the very occasional and almost totally random arrests, picking on small groups or individuals when hundreds were blocking roads. It seemed a simply pique at being unable to control the situation of mass peaceful civil disobedience.

Although it was taking place in London, the XR protest was not a London protest, with the huge bulk of the protesters having come into the city from small towns across the country. XR has been very successful at motivating a largely white mainly middle class and highly educated population but rather less so with the urban working class, and there were far fewer from London’s ethnic communities than at most London protests, and who are well represented in movements such as the Youth Climate Strike and of course anti-racist and anti-fascist protests.

It will of course be the poor and those who have to struggle most to make a living in our cities who will be the first to suffer as the effects of global heating kick in, just as it is the countries of the majority world who are now feeling it most severely. But perhaps it is hard to persuade people who are living in precarious situations of the efficacy of the kind of apolitical and non-violent approach that appeals to XR supporters.

More at Extinction Rebellion occupy Westminster.


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.

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, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Sunday afternoon Sheffield

Friday, March 20th, 2020

We found ourselves at Sheffield station a couple of hours before our train was due to leave – as usual we had booked Advance tickets that were only valid on a particular service to save ourselves a small fortune on the journey, but hadn’t been sure when exactly we would be able to travel.

Rail fares in the UK are a crazy system which has become much worse since rail privatisation, leaving us with a system where standard fares are the highest per mile in the world, thanks largely to rail companies owned by foreign governments and dodgy capitalists all hugely subsidised by the UK taxpayer.

It’s now hard to find what the standard price is, but for the journey we were undertaking I think around £85 each. But then there are Off-peak, Super Off-peak and advance tickets, these latter often being sold at various prices depending on how far in advance you book. The whole system is more like a lottery than a ticketing system and is seldom understood even by those who sell the tickets. But by advance booking and taking a slightly slower route (including a 55 minute wait in Birmingham) we were able to get the price down to less than a third of the standard fare, even without going into any of the complex methods involving split ticketing and other dodges that have spawned an new web industry.

It truly is a crazy system, and at times it’s better for us to book from London rather than our suburban station, with at times a 200 mile journey into the city actually costing less than the tube across London and the 19 miles to our local station.

One of Labour’s more popular policies at the last election was the re-nationalisation of the railways, but unfortunately it was an election fought on ‘getting Brexit done’ rather than so many more important policies. And so we ended with a government pledged to get us out of Europe, but with no comprehension of the other desperately needed changes in policy, nor the ability to make any realy sensible deal over Brexit, with too many among it committed to a ‘no deal’exit. And which is now proving itself utterly incapable of handling a global pandemic.

Back to October in Sheffield, Linda saw the wait as an opportunity to indulge her tea-room obsession and led us off towards one in the canal basin, but unfortunately it had closed down since she was last there. There was a pub open, but that wasn’t what she required, and after some discussion and a short walk around the area we retired back to the station where she was at least able to buy a takeaway tea and cake.

I would happily have had a rather longer walk around and would probably have avoided Victoria Quays, which I’ve photographed on several previous occasions.

Quite a few more pictures, both of the canal basin and from the walk there and back to the station at Sheffield, Yorkshire.


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.


Enjoy the country

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

The Corona virus seems to be bringing out both the worst and the best of people and organisations. So while we have the incredible spectacle of a billionaire island-owner and airline boss threatening his workers with redundancy and demanding compensation from the government (and has avoided paying a fair share of tax and sued the NHS for a large cash deal in earlier years), there are also other business owners like Gary Neville who has announced there will be no redundancies or unpaid leave and has handed his hotels over to the NHS for extra capacity, and companies like Greggs who are offereing free hot drinks to all Emergency Service Personnel, Health and Social Care Workers.

The National Trust has had to close its houses, but is making its car parks and gardens free for all, good news for those who have to self-isolate but are still able to get out and get some exercise. Of course we can also do so in all those NT sites that are always free to the public as well as the rest of the countryside – and even in towns and cities so long as we keep well away from others.

I don’t have a car, and there are few NT sites within my cycling range which normally have admission fees, but its a welcome gesture. And since there are few if any events now taking place that I could cover even if I were not a high-risk case I may well find myself doing a few more country walks or rides now that I have time on my hands. Though so far I’ve spent most of that extra time in front of a computer, getting some of my old black and white images scabbed and retouched ready to go on-line.

I’ve always liked to walk, both in country and city, though my legs are not quite as good as they used to be. Most of the walks I’ve done in recent years have been with small groups of friends, but in the current situation I will perhaps revert to wandering on my own – with a camera, though perhaps not to the extent I did around London in the 80s and 90s, when I was out a couple of days most weeks filling the pages of my A-Z with ten or twelve miles of wandering and taking several contact sheets of photographs.

The pictures accompanying this slightly meandering piece are from an afternoon walk last October in a not particularly spectacular area of the countryside around Unstone Grange, a residential centre between Chesterfield and Sheffield where we were attending a weekend conference. There are a few more at Unstone, Derbyshire.


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

The Rich don’t care

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

The main event I had come to Mayfair to cover was the continuing dispute at one of the most exclusive of clubs, LouLou’s, where the IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch was holding one of a series of protests on behalf of the kitchen porters who work there.

The porters want a living wage and to be treated with dignity and respect and given decent terms and conditions including proper sick pay, holidays and pension contributions.

LouLou’s is an exclusive club and membership is apparently only available to people who are regarded as celebrities and they include some well-known names. What they appear to have in common, from their reactions as they were escorted past the protesters is any regard for the people who work long and unsocial hours to service their needs.

And of course they are also people to who spend silly amounts of money on their own entertainment – the annual subscription to the club is £1800 and a gin and tonic costs £20 – but begrudge the workers a living wage. That £20 drink is over two hours wages for a kitchen porter.

The club tried to play a very hard game, suspending some of the workers – all migrants – on trumped up charges in August. But the protests and an online petition:

Migrant workers at Brexiteer millionaire Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street club have been suspended on trumped up charges. #5HeartlessStreet

Their crime? Demanding a living wage & sick pay.
Sign & help end this injustice

increased the pressure. And on December 11th the IWGB made an announcement:

11 December: The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has called off strikes planned for today and tomorrow at 5 Hertford Street, as it consults members following an offer from the club.

5 Hertford Street has offered its kitchen porters the London Living Wage from January 2020, 5 days sick pay, and regular quarterly consultations with the union on terms and conditions.

https://iwgb.org.uk/post/5df0d186b3f7c/5-hertford-street-concedes-top

More at IWGB at Mayfair club Loulou’s


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.


Defending the Indefensible

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

It just hadn’t occurred to me that there would be protesters defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, hereafter MbS, the man responsible for sending a team of assassins to kill and then dismember with bone saws the body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd 2018.

Of course their state-sponsored posters and placards – including two large electronic screens strapped to two men didn’t mention the killing, nor MbS’s other purges, including the 2017 arrest of business leaders and other prominent Saudi figures in what he called an anti-corruption campaign, the kidnapping of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in 2017 and more – including recent arrests of yet more leading Saudi figures who he sees as possible rivals.

So when I first walked up to their noisy protest I misunderstood their reason for being there. I couldn’t of course understand what they were shouting, and it was only after I read the posters that I realised they had come to support MbS and not to protest against a cruel dictator.

Of course some of them may have had good personal reasons for supporting MbS. Saudi businessmen operating in the UK may well be profiting from his economic reforms and support his Vision 2030 for a Saudi Arabia that in some respects will modernise, largely in the interests of business. Some of those taking part will be working for the Saudi government and companies such as Saudi Aramco, supposedly the most profitable company in the world, though this position is perhaps under threat by MbS’s current oil war with Russia. And some may have been paid for their evening’s work.

Certainly if you are a Saudi citizen and have any intention of returning to that country in the future, being seen as a supporter of MbS rather than an opponent will be vital for your health – as the brutal Khashoggi murder testifies. You need to be seen (and filmed) to be on the right side.


Justice for Jamal Khashoggi

On the anniversary of Khashoggi’s death, a small group of protesters on the opposite side of the road stood in a quiet line in front of the Embassy garden holding posters, and later burning nightlights, in a silent vigil for the cruelly murdered journalist. It was a small but dignified and rather more impressive display than the PR event taking place opposite.


More on both events:
Saudis support killer Prince MBS
Justice For Jamal Khashoggi


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.

Brighton 1983

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Here’s one I made earlier. I’d forgotten completely about this image, taken on a family trip to Brighton, but came across it in my archive on hard disk when I was looking for something else a few days ago, and thought it looked interesting.

But I was busy with other things and didn’t make a note of the file name, and when I decided I would share the picture I couldn’t find it. I spent an hour late last night looking through folder after folder of images. It didn’t fit any of the categories I have, and I went to bed annoyed with myself for not being able to find it.

I spent another half hour this morning. If only when I scanned images back in 2012 I had added some metadata. I’d thought a little more about when I’d taken the image, and thought it was almost certainly when we had two young German girls staying with us, some time in the early 1980s. I couldn’t exactly remember the year, but it was easy to track down some of the pictures I’d taken of them playing with my own children.

It still wasn’t easy to recognise this image from the small thumbnail in File Explorer’s ‘Large Icons’ mode, which was on its side and rather low in contrast, and I wasn’t sure I had found it until I double-clicked to load it into FastPictureViewer Pro and see it full-screen.

I wasn’t surprised to find that I hadn’t retouched the scan and there were as usual quite a few blemishes, particularly noticeable in the sky area. Usually I retouch images on a second computer which has a small Wacom Graphire pad and stylus, and is still on Windows 7 – I can’t get this old pad to work on Windows 10. I couldn’t be bothered to switch to that machine for a single image, so I did the retouching using a mouse. It made me realise why I normally use the Wacom pad.

Then I saved the image, resized it to post online (the original is roughly one hundred times the number of pixels), converted to 8 bit sRGB and made the mistake of saving it again over the original file. Fortunately on a drive connected to the other machine I had a backup. So I had to start that machine to restore the original file, and before I did so used the stylus and pad to do a slightly better and rather easier retouch.

Back in 1983 we were of course working with film, and when I took this picture I couldn’t be sure I had caught the moment. It surprises me now that this was the only frame I took, but of course I was on Brighton Palace Pier with a group of people most of whom were more interested in ice creams and silly hats than taking pictures, and some were probably pulling at my arms as I stopped to make this exposure with my Olympus OM1 on Ilford FP4.


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.