Archive for April, 2010

And Who Are You Working For?

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Sometimes when police or security people talk to you its just a matter of being friendly, but too often it isn’t. Sometimes it’s easy to think that they are fishing for information, and I’ve often been surprised by questions from police that reveal they know more about me than I might expect – and that some have been reading this blog or my web site or know about my movements.

Although I’ve never seen a police “spotter card” for journalists like the ones that have been found and published for demonstrators, I’m fairly sure that they exist somewhere, perhaps on police station walls and that at least at one time if not now I was featured.

I don’t believe in being rude or uncooperative, but I do think there are some questions we should not answer and some distinctions the police try to make that we should as a profession refuse to admit. So many statements I’ve heard have clearly been the police trying to distinguish between “good” and “bad” journalists – the good being those who work directly for the large circulation and mainly right wing press and the bad being those who contribute to the kind of ‘leftie rags’ in which my work has been known to surface.

So for some time, my response when the police ask “Who are you working for?” has simply been to say “These days we’re pretty well all freelances” even on those too rare occasions when I am actually on commission.  It’s slightly more polite than what I’m thinking, which is that it is none of your business and letting the police decide who is a ‘goodie’ or a ‘baddie’ is going far too far towards a police state. If we have the credentials to show we are a journalist – such as an NUJ card – we should be treated as such – end of story.

So I was interested to hear the story of a well-respected and widely published photojournalist where the police seem to have acted as they should when he was harassed by security while attempting to work:

About 9.30 earlier today (29.01.10), I passed through the police line, showing my NUJ press card, without hindrance. A few minutes later, in front of the main entrance to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, a man came over to me and asked who I was and who I worked for. He was wearing a plain white identity tag around his neck with ‘press officer’ printed on it. He aggressively and repeatably asked me who I worked for. I replied that I had identified myself as a working journalist to the police and I told him to stop harassing me and who was he ‘press officer’ for. I also asked for his name.He told me that I was on private property and that it was ok for me to be a freelance but that I had to be working for someone even as a freelance, and he demanded that I leave. He took me by the arm and I told him to let go or I would ask for his arrest for assault with intent. He let go of me and demanded again that I leave. I again asked him who he worked for and his name. He told me that he was the Conference Centre press officer and that his name was Bob Honey. He again told me to leave and I told him that I was working and to stop hindering me and that who I work for is my business.He then called over a private security guard who told me to follow him. I refused and replied that he, too, should leave me alone and stop harassing me and that I identified myself to the police. The security guard then walked away.

A couple of minutes later five uniformed police came over to me, one of them a high ranking officer with braid on his hat, asked me who I was and I identified myself again by showing my NUJ press card. The only question he asked me was to verify my name. I did and this satisfied him and I continued working.

It’s good to be able to report that the police behaved correctly both when allowing the photographer to access the press area and when brought in by security to deal with the incident.  If they had any doubts about the photographer they could have checked up on the security hot line, but the card does carry a photograph.

The letter, sent to the union, continues with a request that the NUJ  make a formal complaint to the management at the QEII centre pointing out that freelancers have equal rights as staff journalists and asking them to ensure that they are treated equally. I understand this is in hand.

This is perhaps another story which makes clear why photographers need to join the union. If you are a professional working in London, then the London Photographers Branch will welcome you.

We Stole Your Pics & We Are Suing You For It

Friday, April 30th, 2010

When I saw this on PDN Pulse I just could not believe it.  You need to read the comments to get the full story and there is a rather better piece on it by Olivier Laurent on the BJP blog in which he makes clear just what a slap in the face this is to all photographers – as he writes “in my opinion, this case highlights one major problem affecting the journalism world in particular: a blatant lack of respect for a photographer’s work and copyright.”

Frankly it is unbelievable that what we thought was a respectable and trustworthy organisation should behave in this way. I hope it gets to court and AFP really get taken to the cleaners, since the legal issues appear to be clear cut. But I guess AFP will be paying lawyers huge sums to muddy the waters while apparently happily stealing work from photographers

But it isn’t the only current news about photographers getting a raw deal. Guardian News & Media wrote to freelance photographer contributors on Monday telling them it was reducing rates by 10%, unilaterally breaking a long-standing agreement with the NUJ.  You can read more about the cuts in the BJP. On Tuesday the NUJ London Photographers Branch unanimously passed a motion to adopt a model letter for photographers to send to GNM. More on the story on the Journalism web site.

So far the Guardian‘s response to this letter have been to say that they are sorry that the photographers concerned are unwilling to accept the new rates, and agreeing to delete any of their images that may be held in the paper’s archives.

I’ve never contributed work directly to GNM, although in the past I probably occasionally sent work there, I can’t remember it being used.  I very seldom send work to newspapers now, except by request. Most get thousands of unsolicited submissions every day. Most of these never even get glanced at, with most organisations using text search robots to try to identify images that might be of interest. Many stories in all our press now get illustrated with largely generic stock imagery supplied under bulk contracts from the large agencies. You can send a better picture but the chances of it getting seen by a human are very low and of being used almost zero.

Another current story is over Bauer Media, publishers of some of the leading musical magazines among a wide range of titles, which is trying to grab “all rights” from it’s freelance contributors for Kerrang!, Mojo and Q. Once they’ve paid to publish a picture or article in a single issue they want to be able to do anything they like with it for free, and those who have failed to sign up to this agreement have been told they will no longer be commissioned. If they succeed in imposing the agreement on these publications, Bauer plan to extend it to their other titles.

What can photographers do? Join the union and try to fight the cuts – and stand up generally for the rights of photographers and other journalists. Certainly refuse to supply work to GNM at their new rates. But also to try and support new media and alternative media, even if at the moment they don’t generate income directly. As well as trying to sell images as stock through libraries and occasionally to papers and magazines I also publish regularly on Demotix, and Indymedia as well as here and on my own web sites such as My London Diary. There I can tell the stories the way I want to and get work to an audience and just occasionally it does pay off with work.

Digital Myths?

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I’m not quite sure why the panel discussion at last Saturday’s ‘The Invisible City‘ got on to a discussion about the relative merits of digital and film. But for whatever reason, it did seem to me that various people were talking nonsense about the subject, and it would appear that rather a lot of students are being indoctrinated with it on their courses.

I think there are still quite a few photographers – particularly in academic circles – who have failed to come to terms with digital as a part of a more general antagonism and lack of knowledge about computing. I worked for some years as an IT co-ordinator and network manager in a college and learnt a great deal about the kind of resistance some have to computers and IT in general.

There are still some particular niches of photography where I would prefer to use film, although it often isn’t practicable to do so.  These are mainly areas which require the use of specialist equipment which simply isn’t available – or not at any reasonable cost – as digital.  Quite where that cost barrier lies will depend on how wealthy you are, and some may consider the Leica M9 a viable alternative to a M-series film camera, while I can’t bring myself to spend the cash.

However it is very hard to find a good reason to use a film SLR in preference to a digital version – with excellent cameras available for relatively small sums – the cost of a few months film for a serious student.

Though I’m not sure how many are serious students – in the old days  to be serious you shot a 100 foot can of bulk Tri-X a month, which I think worked out at 19 x 36 exposure films (and if you were really keen you learnt to load them from a daylight bulk loader but in the dark so as to avoid any fogging on the end of the film. A little under 700 exposures – less than I  now take on digital on a busy day.

Which perhaps leads us to

Myth No 1:

Digital makes you work in a different way, being less critical when you are working because  you are limited in how many exposures you can make.

It isn’t true, and I know photographers who shoot just they way they used to on film. I think they are missing out on things, because digital does open up new possibilities. It gives you the choice of working in a different way, but you don’t have to if you really don’t want to.

Looking through my contact sheets and comparing them with my digital exposures, I don’t think I’m less critical. I am rather more prepared to take risks, but overall I think digital has rather improved the quality of my work, both technically and in terms of being able to achieve various things that just were not possible on film. It provides a much more reliable system than film ever did, in almost every respect.

Digital actually provides a much greater opportunity to be critical while you are actually working, although I’m not a great “chimper“, as I find it disrupts my attention to the subject.  But being able to review your work immediately afterwards is a great advance, and with some kinds of subject it is possible to evaluate and retake pictures on the spot.

There are even some particular subjects where I take less images using digital, especially portraits. On film you could never be sure whether you had actually captured that fleeting gesture or if your subject had managed to blink in the critical fraction of a second. If I could, I kept shooting until I was fairly sure I had got the picture; with digital you can check and stop shooting when you know you have what you want.

Working with digital I simply end up with more good pictures. For a typical event where film might have given me half a dozen decent frames from which to select, with digital I may end up with 50 from which to choose.   Probably these would include the pictures I would have got on film, but they no longer stand out in quite the same way as the dross gets deleted.

Myth No 2:

Film gives you better quality than digital

I almost choked when I heard this. I often need to scan older work and have one of the best systems available for scanning 35mm film to give 80Mb scans, which  can really squeeze the last ounce out of film.  Quality is a rather subjective concept, but given an image from the D700 taken at a similar ISO, I would expect greater resolution, greater sharpness and less noise from the digital image.

So far as colour quality goes, there is just no comparison – digital colour is so much cleaner and more accurate than film ever managed (so long as you don’t allow camera or computer to mess it up.)  You may of course prefer the rather more limited and less real palette of film – and can if you wish use software to emulate it on your digital images. If your idea of quality is a retro look, then you might prefer film.

Black and white film normally does have a greater dynamic range than current digital sensors, although the difference is less pronounced once you have learnt to make use of raw images. And since digital is then able to cope with most subjects (and makes the use of fill flash even easier than on film with modern cameras) this is seldom a vital matter.

The only films that approach the quality of digital sensors of the same format are those extremely slow black and white films that were largely not designed for pictorial use – such as the no longer available Kodak Technical Pan, which I did use quite extensively. It wasn’t an easy film to use and required exposure at rather silly ISOs – from ISO8 to ISO64 depending on developer for pictorial negatives.

Kodachrome with its own peculiar colours was also available as an ISO 25 film, and could possibly compete with results from digital at 3 or 4 stops faster speeds were it still available, although – like Technical Pan – it could not match their dynamic range.

Of course film is available in different formats, and the kind of quality that I currently get at moderate ISOs from the D700 certainly seems to me to compare well with that I got from the Mamiya 6×7 I used to use.  With the great advantage that I can continue to get similar quality at much higher ISOs than with film.

Myth No 3

Film is better for storage than digital

Both film and digital present some problems for storage. But unless you happen to own a deep mine digital is probably the better bet. Digital storage can theoretically keep your images perfect forever – but only if you set up systems with suitable redundancy and regeneration of files. Film storage is more clearly time-limited, but low-tech to give decent short and medium term safety.

My perspective on this problem is perhaps slightly coloured by the rows of slowly deteriorating negative files behind me as I type.  But perhaps the most interesting and authoritative comment on this was made by Mike Seaborne from his position as a museum curator who obviously surprised some of the audience when he said that the best long-term storage is as pigment inkjet prints on well-made paper, fortunately something we can do for both film and digital images.

Myth No 4:

You need to shoot film if you want to work in black and white

Much of the best black and white work I’ve seen published in recent years has been shot on digital.  Although personally I decided to shoot entirely in colour with digital in 2002 when I bought my first DSLR, I know plenty of other photographers who have gone digital with the intention of shooting black and white.

Apart from all the usual advantages of digital, one important one for working in black and white is the ability to actually see your images on the back of the camera in black and white, although the conversion in camera is relatively crude.

Over the years I used quite a few different black and white films, including of course FP4 and Tri-X, but also many less popular films, most no longer available. In later years I worked mainly with chromogenic films – XP1 and 2 and TCN400 largely because it was easier to process them with my colour film. Each of these films had its own particular ‘look’, largely a matter of different sensitivity to different light wavelengths.  But with software such as Lightroom, not only do you have the possibility of emulating these different responses, but also you can vary the sensitivity in a much wider and complex way should you wish.  As in most respects, digital offers greater flexibility.

What might at some point attract me is however the ability to get decent quality results in light levels where film would have needed excessive “pushing” with the accompanying grain and loss of subtlety.  Even a relatively crude digital camera like the Leica M8  can produce pretty good black and white at ISO 1250, while the D700 is rather better at ISO6400.

Myth No 5

Inkjet prints can’t match the quality of darkroom prints

I haven’t made a print in my darkroom for several years.  But there is a certain undercurrent of truth in ‘Myth No 5’, and there are many bad inkjet prints made. But there are also many bad darkroom prints.

But you cannot buy a darkroom paper that is not capable of producing a halfway decent print, when only too many people are happy to print pictures on inkjet with materials that were not produced and are certainly not fit for that purpose.

Good inkjet prints need good paper and good inks. I first started making them using Cone Piezography black and white inks on Hahnemühle papers ten years ago – and the latest Piezography K7 inks (which I haven’t used)  are the best available solution for matte prints.  The prints I made were so good I abandoned for good any ideas of going back to make platinum prints.

Replacing ‘glossy’ prints took longer, but the Epson ABW system using Epson Ultrachrome K3 pigment inks on papers such as Ilford Gold Fibre Silk or PermaJet Classic Fine Art gives results that for 9 prints out of 10 are better than my old darkroom prints.  The only ones that are really hard to beat were made on a paper that is no longer available, the old cadmium-rich Record Rapid, which had a greater depth than modern papers. Some of these new fibre base glossy papers have a very similar ‘baryta’ coating to silver halide papers. 

Printing digitally actually needs the same basic skill as darkroom printing – deciding how a picture should look. But on the computer it is rather easier to achieve, and ‘dodging’ and ‘burning’ can be carried out with more control and precision.  Most images too need a certain amount of corrective retouching to correct defects such as dust and scratches on negatives or dust on the sensor. Increasingly my film images also need retouching to repair the ravages of time, and digital printing becomes the only option.

Of course inkjet printers and materials will be improved, but already they can hold their own against the darkroom, both for colour (which is where most of the printer manufacturers’ efforts are directed) and also – especially with the aid of third-party inks and papers – for black and white.

Further Thoughts

Were I still teaching photography, I would be concentrating on the use of digital photography. Not only because I think it in almost every respect improves on film and is the future of our medium, but because I think it is a very much better teaching tool, because of the more or less immediate feedback it can give.

Years ago, when still teaching darkroom printing, I found it worth teaching students the basics of working with digital images with Photoshop before getting them to make prints in the darkroom.  Before you can print well, you have to learn what good prints look like, and get some idea of what can be done with the various controls that we have – exposure, contrast, burning, dodging – and it is easier, faster and considerably cheaper to get learners to appreciate these in the darkroom once they have experienced them on a computer.  Now of course there is no need for the darkroom, although they can still learn on screen before wasting ink and paper on the print.

Alternative Processes

Silver based photography is fast becoming another alternative process – like making collodion negatives (in some ways the apex of photography) and cyanotypes or gum bichromate prints. Of course there will be students who want to learn and practice these things (and I’ve tried most of them), but they are neither necessary or generally useful for photographers, although they do help in the appreciation of the history and traditions of photography.

Shoot 36

Friday, April 30th, 2010

For those of us who want to remember the old times, or for those who never experienced them, professional photographers are invited to take part in Shoot 36, which invites them to shoot a 36 exposure film using a single body and one fixed focal length lens, pick the best 6 images, scan them full frame and upload them to the site.

You can see the full rules on the site if you want to take part in what I think is an interesting bit of fun. So far the one set of six images that stands out for me is from Sang Tan – some nice pictures even if not entirely sticking to the rules!

As it says on the site:

  • It’s a challenge.
  • It’s a bit of fun for the professional photographer.
  • It’s about enjoying past techniques.
  • It’s about hand processing film.
  • It’s about the anticipation of discovery.
  • It’s a test of our skills as photographers.
  • It’s about the smell of the chemicals.
  • It’s about loading a spool.
  • It’s about a fridge full of film!.
  • It’s about taking pictures not because we are paid to but because we want to.

One day I might even try it myself – I’ve got plenty of outdated film to use!

Good News for North London

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

According to a report in the Socialist Worker this afternoon and later confirmed by The Guardian, Health Secretary Andy Burnham has reversed the planned closure of accident and emergency and maternity services at the Whittington Hospital and stopped the “consultation” over this and other hospital closures in North London. It was the Camden New Journal who first broke the story both of the cuts and of this change of mind, and it also has the most detailed story. It’s good to see a local paper that is doing its job, at a time when so many have really stopped being local papers and are simply some kind of franchise with a few more or less local gobbets.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

Its good news for all who live in or visit the area, who would otherwise have faced lengthy journeys trough often traffic blocked streets should they have an accident – or be expecting a baby –  and shows that a well-organised and well-supported campaign can result in a change of policy.

In the Camden New Journal, the minister is reported as going rather further in his statement, saying “as far as I’ve seen there is no clinical evidence or clinical support for any kind of downgrading or closure. On that basis, it’s simply inconceivable that Labour would support the closing or downgrading of the Whittington A&E or its maternity service.” So the Labour party has now joined the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in a pledge to keep the hospital open.

© 2010, Peter Marshall
The youngest demonstrator should get his or her wish

You can read more about the march at the end of February by several thousand people to the hospital on My London Diary, where of course there are many more pictures. It’s perhaps a pity that the CNJ didn’t have some better photographs to go with its story.

Croydon Blur – Does VR Help?

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I usually like my own pictures to be sharp. It doesn’t worry me that something like 2/3rds of Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s greatest pictures are said to be – by modern standards – lacking in this respect, and I love some of Robert Frank’s Welsh images that are grainy and almost blurred out of existence, when he photographed coal-blacked miners in dark interiors. But mostly I’m working in at least half-decent light and there really is little reason for blur, given too a camera that can work at ISOs well beyond film.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

© 2010, Peter Marshall

© 2010, Peter Marshall
Three consecutive frames taken over around 15 s

Most of what I took at the BNP demo in Croydon is sharp, but exactly when things got a little more exciting I got a series of slightly blurred images. And I’m not entirely sure why.

I’m shooting at 1/250 f8, and with the lens at 30mm and focussed at 2 metres.  I think I was focussed on the hood of the guy being held, and that is almost sharp, though perhaps that was a bit closer. Things were happening pretty quickly at the time but I was taking my time and shooting carefully, zooming out from 35 to 30 and then 19mm. They are reasonably dramatic, but I’d have liked just a little more bite, and a few of the other frames are softer still.

One problem is obviously camera movement, and I’m obviously following the movement of the foreground figures with the camera, and thus blurring the background.

Had I known this was about to happen, I might have increased the ISO to get a higher shutter speed – I was working at ISO400 and could easily have given myself another stop or two. But I don’t think this was really the problem, as later, shooting a further incident with the same settings everything was pin sharp.

I do wonder slightly if the vibration reduction system – which was switched on – had any effect on the image. Obviously I don’t expect it help get me sharp images of moving subjects, but in picking up my movement of the camera could it actually try to counteract that and in the process make  people who are moving in a different direction less sharp?

Let’s be clear. That was a question and not an answer. I may be talking utter nonsense, but I was surprised by these images. Would I be better off leaving VR off for most of the pictures I take? Who after all needs VR for a 16-35 lens?

Met Reissues Advice To Police

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Amatuer Photographer points out that the Met has recently revised its advice to police officers on photography in public places. The new document is rather more positive, starting from the position:

We encourage officers and the public to be vigilant against terrorism but recognise the importance not only of protecting the public from terrorism but also promoting the freedom of the public and the media to take and publish photographs.

and under that the first section is:

Freedom to photograph/film

Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel.

The advice, which supposedly has “been made clear to officers and PCSOs through briefings and internal communications” generally clarifies the law – Section 43, 44 and 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000 and makes it clear that officers do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film. In particular, “where it is clear that the person being searched is a journalist, officers should exercise caution before viewing images as images acquired or created for the purposes of journalism may constitute journalistic material and should not be viewed without a Court Order.”

The guidance also gives clear advice on who is a “genuine journalist” in the statement:

“Genuine members of the media carry identification, for instance the UK Press Card, which they will present on request.”

This seems a considerable advance from last May, when at the NUJ photographers conference Commander Broadhurst apparently seriously asked the question “can anybody apply for an NUJ card who has a camera?”

I hope that this advice to officers will help to reduce the friction there has certainly been between police and the press (and public) over photography. It might not be a bad idea to print off a few copies to hand out to police that we meet!

May Day may well prove a good test of whether good intentions (and perhaps a desire to avoid the prosecution of police for unlawful actions) at the higher levels of the force have permeated down into good sense on the ground.

There has been some attempt again this year in the Tory press to spread rumours of insurrection and mayhem about the street theatre planned for next Saturday – a May Day Carnival, again with the ‘Four Horses of the Apocalypse‘ , but this time their four marches converging on Parliament Square dragging the corpses of Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Nick Griffin to a People’s Assembly.

Last April 1 at Bank we saw what happened when the officer in charge inspired a spirit of panic through radio and TV appearances (and doubtless in police briefings)  and encouraged psyched up police hooligans to attack both press and demonstrators, using their agent provocateurs in plain clothes to incite riot.  It isn’t clear what the police hoped to gain from these tactics, clearly exposed in the press and public’s photographs and videos, but it is fairly obvious that they backfired in this instance. Perhaps it was the death of Ian Tomlinson – so clearly an innocent bystander – that really turned the tide against them.

I hope the police have learnt the lesson from April 1st, and that on May Day their response will be proportionate and calm. Let the protesters protest and the press report on that and not on another day of police atrocities.  I hope.


Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Bite! magazine is an interesting project that presents one photographer every day with a  slideshow of their work and a brief text. The photographers are selected by guest curators, including some well-known names. And although Bite! is a stage for emerging talent, with a special focus on photographers from Asia, Africa and South America, the photographer whose work drew my attention to it was an American I first wrote about admiringly some years ago.

I can’t remember now how Ami Vitale first came to my attention, but I do remember our meeting each other at a glittering reception in a Polish castle at the first Bielsko-Bialo FotoArt Festival in 2005 where both of us were showing. She was a fan of my web site and I was very much a fan of her work, and I still am. Perhaps one day I’ll get back to some real writing too, but really photography is more fun.

As curator Hannamari Shakya says about her work, “She gets close with people” and it really shows in her pictures and it is very much how she is. The set of Vitale’s pictures at Bite! is the first of her work I saw, from Guinea-Bissau, and it still has the same powerful impact for me.

There are a lot of other sets of images on the site, and most of those I took a brief glance at looked worth exploring further when I have the time, and I’ve added the site to my RSS feeds to remind me to do so.

The London International Documentary Festival

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The LIDF starts more or less now, with the premiere of Abel Ferara’s innovative docu-film Napoli, Napoli, Napoli at the Barbican this evening  (I’m sorry I’ll miss that and the party afterwards) and it goes on until 8 May featuring more than 130 films from 36 countries, bringing the world’s stories to the capital.

One of the reasons I’ve not been posting much this week is that I’ve been busy putting together a small presentation for The Invisible City tomorrow. The event starts at 10.30 am and goes on until 4.30pm, though my contribution is mercifully shorter.

I’m actually taking two pieces to the event. One is a rather higher resolution printed version of a kind of psycho-geographic spoof I wrote for a web site that folded soon afterwards (I think co-incidentally.)  I’m told that Hub Kings Cross where the event is being held would like to keep it up on the wall for a while after Saturday, but I don’t know any details. I’m please to be going back to King’s Cross too, as its an area I was involved a little with around the start of the Kings Cross Railway Lands Group, helping in a very small way in the planning exercises they organised to find what residents of the area really wanted.

Apart from a few minor corrections, slightly better image quality and a slightly different layout with each page on the web site being replaced by an A4 sheet, ‘1989‘ remains more or less as it is on the web.

© 1989, 2006, Peter Marshall

From ‘1989

There are some small compromises in design, partly because I had to do it a a hurry, but also because although the images are large enough, I think ideally I would have liked them just a little bigger and with more white space.  What I’m putting on display is more like a print or magazine version of the work (I put it together and printed it using Desk Top Publishing software.)  Years ago I used to occasionally teach a little using Pagemaker and it still does a neat job without fuss.

Printing was very easy after a first ruined sheet when I forgot what I was doing. Using the Epson ABW method they provide on the R2400 (and other printers) it was simply a matter of choosing my own preferences for the colour of the black and white images and reducing the ink by around 10% which I find gives better prints on the Epson Archival Matte paper.  It is normally only a material I use for proof prints, as it can give a rather nasty yellowing with age, but so long as these prints last on a wall for a few weeks they will have done their job.

The other thing I’ve been working on for LIDF is a 20 minute presentation on  30 years of my work in the Lea Valley.  The finished presentation includes work from 1982 to 2010 and concentrates on the Olympic area and south from there, although there are some pictures from further north – including the source.

Many of the pictures I’ll be showing are on my River Lea – Lea Valley web site, but there are quite a few that have yet to make their way there, including some I’d forgotten about myself. If I’d had another month to prepare I would have included more of my colour work, including more panoramics as there are still some parts of my archive which are pretty unexplored.

© 1983, Peter Marshall
Behind these warehouses on the Lea Navigation, in Duck Lees Lane, Ponders End was the works where one of the key inventions of the 20th century was made, the foundation of the whole electronics industry. But I may well forget to mention that tomorrow! Putting the presentation together has been a major effort, first of all finding and scanning images and then hours of swearing at Microsoft Power Point. In the end I ended up finishing it in Open Office’s equivalent, Impress, where I found ways to do things rather faster. It also enabled me to export a high resolution version as a PDF which might be useful.

Other photographers taking part include Tom Hunter with his Swan Songs and Life and Death in Hackney; Ruth Baily with pictures of the Midland Hotel and Alexander Brattell’s exploration of Victoria Park. Mike Seaborne, who runs the Urban Landscape web site with me is also talking there.

Tomasz Gudzowaty

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Thanks to Verve Photo for reminding me of the work of Tomasz Gudzowaty, a very fine Polish photojournalist (b 1971)  who has won too many awards over the years to mention.   In the past few years he has concentrated on photographing sports, but bringing to the area the kind of humanistic eye of a great photojournalist.

His interests are away from the big events, the big money and the champions (though he does have a very nice set of portraits of ‘The Olympians‘, sporting champions from the past on his web site) , looking very much at minority sports and people at all levels in them, managing to get published the kind of stories that don’t usually make the sports pages and magazines.

One of his more recent essays that has won awards is on urban golf in India,  a game invented and played by slum kids – and not the kind of event I photographed a few years ago in Shoreditch, though it has some similarities, but unlike me he makes some stunning black and white images from it.

© 2006 Peter Marshall
Urban Golf in Shoreditch was sponsored by a drinks company