Archive for May, 2010

Colour Lee/Lea

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Well not just black and white, I’ve also been taking a look at the colour transparencies that I made in the Lea Valley in 1982 and 1983. I put these on line a while ago, but there were one or two technical problems that needed a little sorting.

Looking back, I can see that the pictures are rather a mixed bunch (and yes,  a couple crept into the Lea Valley from a little way away –  at least one from the West India Docks) but I mean more in terms of approach than the subject.

© 1983, Peter Marshall

This rather abstract image is the rudder of a barge on the Lea Navigation

© 1983, Peter Marshall

While this is rather different in that the subject matter is quite clear, but it’s also clear that the picture isn’t really simply about what is actually depicted.

© 1983, Peter Marshall

This is another one that I particularly like which I don’t think I’ve put on this blog before, and it shows a bit of what is now the Olympic site.

These three are all from 1983, and there is another set from 1982. Clicking on my name at the bottom left of any of the pages takes you back to the home page of the River Lea site.

Some of the images are not quite the right colour. These were all scanned rapidly on the Epson 750 (using the Epson software) and its hard if not impossible to get some of them right. There is a very nasty purple in some of the shadow areas that can’t really be removed. Probably I could get a better scan on my negative scanner, but in a few of them the colour has perhaps aged a little badly. They were taken on several different films – the picture immediately above is clearly taken on Agfa film while the top two were not. I made dupes of a number of these images and I can’t always tell which was the original.

I switched to colour negative film (except for a few jobs where I had to submit transparencies) a couple of years after this, and looking at some of these reminds me why.  But there are a few here that I’ve been able to resurrect with a little help from Photoshop – such as this barge on the Thames not far from the Lea:

© 1983, Peter Marshall

It isn’t perfect, but a lot better than the original slide, thanks to a great deal of jiggery-pokey in Photoshop, some of it not done quite carefully enough.

Middlesex is of course the right bank of the Lea (its left is Essex) and visually the image connects with another in the group

© 1983, Peter Marshall

which I’ve always connected with a Man Ray image inspired by a phrase from Lautreamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror : ‘As beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table’ . He wrapped what was possibly a sewing machine in a sack and rope, while I found a giant one ready-made on a lorry at Three Mills in Bromley-by-Bow. But unfortunately no Lee Miller every emerged for me there from the Lee.

More on the River Lea (1980-92)

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Another wet day, and as there wasn’t a great deal happening that I wanted to photograph and no one had offered to pay me to photograph it, I stayed in and kept my cameras dry. Which gave me a chance to catch up on something I’d started a couple of times before but never found time to finish, a significant update on my web site on the River Lea.

Back when I started photographing it around 1980, the Lea was virtually an unknown river.  Quite a few Londoners would have heard of it, but I think relatively few could have told you exactly where it ran and even fewer would have actually gone to see it. Now, with the 2012 London Olympics being held on a bit of it at Stratford Marsh, it’s a tourist attraction, and if I go there I have to dodge crowds of tourists being taken along the Greenway by Blue Guides.

Of course they won’t see what I saw then:

This was a view of the Olympic site in 1990. Now it looks rather different. And the Pudding Mill River which ran alongside Pudding Mill Lane is no longer visible:

© 1990, Peter Marshall

And the footbridge provided by Major Villiers for the school children of Hackney Wick to get across the Navigation to their playing fields was removed last year; the flats were dynamited years ago:

© 1982, Peter Marshall

As you can see, I didn’t quite get around to trimming the scans – I did several hundred scans for the presentation I gave at  the London International Documentary Festival, and not surprising was rather pressed for time. Quite a few are in need of some spotting and retouching too, time has not been kind to some of these negatives.

Of course the Olympic site isn’t the only part of the Lea that has changed since then:

© 1982, Peter Marshall

Bow Creek is still there, but not much else. The power station and flood barrier are both long gone.  But my favourite images are still of something else that is lost, the timber yards. There are three from Dorford Wharf in Edmonton that I particularly like – this is one:

© 1983, Peter Marshall

When I took these pictures I wasn’t much into taking notes, and it was of course long before we had GPS. I could remember where I took every picture and what it showed without much trouble then, but 25 years later it is not so easy.  Later I got into the habit of writing significant information onto the contact sheets – things like the grid reference and street name, as well as carrying a little black book where I’d record stuff.

Later I moved to making the field recordings on a miniature tape recorder and filling in the book at home, as the writing I did on the street wasn’t always too legible. This did used to make me feel rather embarrassed as I stood in the street apparently talking to myself, but now we have mobile phones most people seem to do it most of the time.

The site the work is on is of course The Lea Valley, and if you want to go directly to the page with the stuff I’ve been talking about it is Black and white images 1980-92.

If you find anything you know I’ve captioned wrongly please let me know. And I confidently expect to get get more e-mails about this picture of the source of the River Lea asking me if I’ve noticed , er, that man is, er…

© 1983, Peter Marshall

And I didn’t set it up, unless just going there with a French photographer counts.

Long Lange Interview

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Although you can read the interview with Dorothea Lange made by Richard K. Doud in New York on May 22, 1964 at the Smithsonian Institution site, it was good both to have its existence pointed out and also to have suitable illustrations added, presumably all also from public domain sources on the ‘A Photo Student‘ blog by photographer James Pomerantz.

Although I’ve often criticised the USA approach to copyright it does have its good points, and one is the huge amount of publicly available public domain material. (Another is a proper concept of ‘fair use’ although this does not always work.)

If you haven’t already discovered the Library of Congress Online Catalogue (the web site was upgraded not long ago at a different address to make it easier to use) you are missing out.

This first illustration that Pomerantz uses is available there for free download both as scans from a copy neg of the print varying in size from 39Kb jpeg to 12Mb Tiff, from the original neg at sizes from 98kb jpeg to 20Mb Tiff as well as a scan of the print at 116kb or 41 Mb.

Since Lange made the image when working for the US Government, there are “No known restrictions on images” and you can download it and make a print for your wall with no guilty conscience. Personally I’d choose the scan from the negative and try and see if I could improve on the print.

You can actually build up an excellent collection of photographs in this way – including most of Walker Evans’s best images – for the cost of ink and paper alone.  There is also a very thorough explanation on the site about assessing the risk of using any of the photographs in the collection for various purposes. I think I’m pretty safe with this one, although unlike most bloggers I’m always very careful about copyright.

On the Street

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I used to think of myself as a street photographer, but sometimes I think I’ve got over it, or at least a certain perception of it. Back in the seventies and eighties there was perhaps a sense of adventure in going out with a camera and an empty mind on to the streets and shooting, perhaps feeling one was following in the footsteps of guys like Cartier-Bresson, Frank and Winogrand (very different though they were.) But now it too often seems to me pointless and lacking in intention, chasing a rather empty if occasionally highly graphic kind of imagery that has little to say.

Of course there is good street photography around. I admire the work of a number of people from the last decade or so, including friends of mine such as Sam Tanner, Paul Baldesare and the late Jim Barron, little of which is available on the web. More recently I commented here on a roll of film by  Sang Tan, and there is more of his fine photography in this tradition on his web site. Another interesting photographer in this tradition is Brian David Stevens, and he regularly posts work on his Drifting Camera blog. And although I seldom feel inclined to wade through the mountains of mediocrity that make up Flickr, you can come across something that has a freshness and originality there too.

Years ago I remember a photographer (it could have been Leonard Freed) talking about the work of Henry Cartier-Bresson, and referring to a whole section of his output as ‘waiters‘. These were pictures where the photographer had clearly seen the visual potential of a particular view and had then stood there and waited for the right person to come into the view and put themselves in the right place. It was an insight that greatly clarified for me the dissatisfaction that I felt with some of the master’s work, images that I frankly found rather boring but had not dared say so. The images of his that I loved, that struck me deeply, were those that were ‘taken on the run’, moments stolen from the flux.

The current 10th anniversary show at Photofusion in Brixton by members of the street photography web site inPublic isn’t a bad show, and there is plenty of good work. It’s worth a trip to Brixton for the panel by French-born Christophe Agou who now lives in New York, work from his Life below (1998-2001) on the New York subway which owes a little to  Walker Evans’s ‘Many are Called‘ but takes it to a very different and more personal level.

There are pictures in the show that amuse me, that intrigue me and a few that I wish I had taken, but there are also rather too many that – like HCB’s ‘waiters’ rather bore me, and too many that I feel I’ve seen too many times before.

And it did seem to me that relatively little on the wall was really new or at the boundaries of the tradition and rather too much that was safe and harking back (and at times more ‘pictorial’ than ‘street’.) Where, where were the enfants terrible pushing at the limits, exploring the new possibilities of the medium? By the time I reached the end of the show I was longing for some really bad photography just to liven things up.

Street photography as we know it of course owes a great debt to New York, from some of the pioneers around the Photo League in the 40s and 50s and a show that I would like to see is coming on shortly at the Met there, ‘Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein’s New York Photographs, 1950–1980′, work that remains considerably more radical than anything on show in Brixton. You can see some examples of his work at the Stephen Daiter Gallery site. The first photographer whose colour street photography moved me to think about its possibilities was another New Yorker, Joel Meyerowitz, who often roamed the city’s streets with Garry Winogrand, and you can see a good selection of Meyerowitz’s work on  iN-PublicBruce Gilden from Brooklyn is another great street photographer, with plenty of work on his Magnum pages.

I’m not always a fan of curators (not least because so many have proved so bad) but this would have been a rather better show had the pictures been selected by a suitable despot, preferably one with a proven record as a street photographer as well as a curator.  Street photography needs more edge.

Black & White?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I still can’t make up my mind what to do about my Leica M8. There are occasions when using a rangefinder camera like this just feels right, and you find yourself moving around and taking pictures in a way that feels so fluid and natural, the camera becoming integrated into your seeing and being in a way that just doesn’t happen with an SLR.  It’s hard to put into words but I think photographers who have worked for any length of time with a Leica M or similar camera will recognise what I’m trying to say.

But of course there are so many things a rangefinder simply can’t do, or can’t do well – such as using longer focal lengths or fisheyes or working very close to the subject.

The Leica M8 was such a disappointment to me because although it had a similar feel to film Leicas somehow I didn’t get the same results. I don’t understand some of the problems that I had, while others were only too obvious.

Firstly, many of the results were not as sharp as I’d expected. I think that the digital sensor is rather more demanding on lenses that film, and some of the rather well-used  wide-angle Voigtlander lenses I have are perhaps a little past their best. The 35mm f1.4 Leica lens (one supposedly not compatible with the camera) does rather better, but the smaller sensor makes it into a standard rather than a wideangle lens, and both Konica and Leica 50mm f2 lenses I own are fine as short telephotos.

But to really use the camera the way I want would I think need some new ultra wide-angle lenses, and the Leica lenses are not cheap.  They are also relatively large compared to my existing lenses, presumably meaning that the light path from the rear lens element to the sensor is nearer to the perpendicular, reducing some of the imaging problems.

The big problem with the M8 is of course colour. Although using an IR filter on the front of the lens reduces the problem it is still an issue with wide angle lenses.  Using Leica coded lenses again would help. I tried adding black dots on the lens mounts to code my existing lenses, and it was a partial solution, but with lens changes the dots soon wore off.  Some lenses I never managed to get the dots to work either.

Even with longer lenses where correction is rather easier, the colour produced lacks the quality that comes more or less out of the box with Nikon cameras and lenses.

When I climbed up rather unsteadily up the stairs of a bus on my way home after a little celebration a couple of weeks ago, it was clearly no ordinary bus but full of young people and party spirit. Being full of party spirit myself I joined in with the M8 and I think almost all of us were rather amused by the whole thing.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

Fluorescent lighting is always something of a problem, and that on buses seems to be peculiarly deficient, so shooting for black and white seemed a good idea. Buses are not a steady platform and everyone including me was moving quite a bit, and the movement actually made precise focussing tricky. A higher ISO would have helped, but the M8 is rather noisy at high ISO. I was working with the 35mm f1.4, but stopped down to f5.6; probably f4 would have been a better choice.

The M8 is much better as a black and white camera than for colour, but much as I like black and white pictures I can’t see myself going back to taking them as a regular thing. For me I think it’s in the past.

A few more of the pictures on My London Diary.

I Didn’t Get Up Early on Tuesday

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

I couldn’t be bothered to get up early on Tuesday morning, although I expected something interesting would happen when police came to search the ‘Democracy Camp’ in Parliament Square before the State Opening of Parliament.

The flashpoint came when the police moved on from there to also search the tents of the two long-term full-time residents of the square, Brian Haw and Barbara Tucker. Brian has been there – except for a night or two locked up in the nearest police station- since early June 2001, and has witnessed a few state openings in that time, so there seemed little reason for police to want to search their tents too.  You can see the altercation with the police on a You Tube video taken by one of the campers, and pictures of him being handled rather roughly by police were in the evening paper.

I missed being there because I like to sleep at home which is around 20 miles away and don’t like to pay the high fares for travel in the early hours unless I’m actually being paid to be there.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

I called in later in the day to find out what had happened, and to talk to people who had seen the events. So I was able to put a story on Demotix, but it rather lacked the drama it would have had where I there at the right time. You don’t get stories by lying in bed.

(There was actually another reason that I’ll mention in a later post why I needed to be at home that morning, but I probably would not have been there anyway.)

Earlier in the month I’d written another story about what was happening in the square which did attract quite a lot of interest – also on Demotix, as well as My London Diary (with more pictures) and Indymedia.

Distortion Correction

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

An interesting article on DPReview, A Distorted View, looks at the use by camera manufacturers of in-camera correction of lens distortion. It concentrates on geometric distortion, but also mentions lateral chromatic aberration.

Lens designers can make simpler, smaller and lighter lenses by failing to correct some of these distortions, which can then be removed by software.  Overall this can result in higher image quality. Many camera manufacturers have taken this route and the examples on the site I think demonstrate how effective it is.

Generally these corrections are applied in-camera to jpegs, but RAW files are left RAW. Where manufacturers supply their own RAW conversion software, this will then apply similar corrections when processing the RAW files.

There are two problems here. Firstly few of us use the specific software for our cameras, because good though it may be, it lacks the workflow advantages of Lightroom (or Aperture)  so it is essential that the information about correcting the lenses is available for use by other programs. Some manufacturers currently are unwilling to share the necessary parameters, although these can fairly easily be found from a series of test exposures of a suitable subject.

Of course not all lenses we use with cameras that allow interchangeable lenses are made by the camera manufacturer. One statement that made me laugh was that about Sigma lenses where the feature states “no Sigma lenses currently require software correction.”  I currently own four Sigma lenses, and although for some purposes the images are fine without correction, every one of them requires software correction of both distortion and chromatic aberration for critical uses.  I would not dream for example of sending out a high-res image of an architectural subject without doing so.

One of Lightroom‘s major missing features is its lack of ability to correct distortion. I export images to Photoshop where I can use plugins including the excellent PTLens (which can also be used as an external editor for Lightroom) Panorama Tools and other software.

I’d like to see this built in to Lightroom, along with an automatic removal of chromatic aberration – the manual version works, but is time-consuming.

The 10.5mm Nikkor DC fisheye provides an extreme example of both chromatic aberration and also what can be achieved by way of software distortion correction, although of course the distortion here is an intentional feature.

© 2005 Peter Marshall.
Original 10.5mm fisheye file (Chromatic aberration corrected)

Correction to rectilinear using Panorama Tools
© 2005 Peter Marshall.
Correction using the Fish-eye Hemi plugin

Where Was I on May 8?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Writing about ‘The New Thinking’ on copyright and the National Photography Symposium reminds me that I’ve not mentioned at all here what I was doing that weekend.  Apart of course from drowning my sorrows after the election results.

Saturday 8 of May I didn’t get drowned but I did get rather damp, as it poured down on several occasions. I’d hoped to be on Hayes Common, and so had around a thousand other people, for the Merrie England and London May Queen Festival, but it was far too wet for that. The event went ahead, but in a rather smaller format with many fewer people present in the Village Hall.

I’ve been photographing various May Queen events in London, including this, since 2005, and have more than enough material for a book or an exhibition about them. One show already promised was then cancelled apparently on cost grounds, perhaps an early victim of the recession, but I’m hopeful of getting another.  And its definitely one of the things on my short list for a Blurb publication if I can’t find another publisher (although that short list is getting rather long.)

I’d actually not been thinking of going to Hayes this year, as I should have been at a conference (not the NPS but another one) but an e-mail inviting me made me change my mind. We missed you last year it said, and so I changed my mind and decided to go.

Despite my getting soaked on the way there, it turned out to me a good decision, as being packed into a small hall gave the event a different atmosphere and of course a different look.  It’s nicer when the sun is out and everyone is having fun and dancing around – and of course much nicer for the girls and families involved – but the wet weather did give me something new.  Not the best pictures I’ve taken of these events, but something that widens the work.

Photographing events like this does very much involve getting to know people and establishing trust.  Working in the closer atmosphere (in every sense) did I think help me to talk to people and get to know them a little better. There are perhaps a few more things I may want to do in this project and this will make them easier.

I wasn’t sure whether to use flash or rely on a highish ISO inside the hall. The lighting was about as mixed as you could get – overcast grey sky through largish windows and fluorescents and some stage lighting.  In parts of the hall it was bright enough to work at ISO 1600 but there were plenty of darker corners.

I took a few without flash, but the colour on the back of the camera didn’t look too encouraging and I decided to switch the flash on. That way I could reduce the ISO a bit, with the flash as the main light source, but still picking up enough ambient to give reasonably even overall lighting. Most of the pictures were taken on the Nikon 16-35mm at 1/30 f6.3.   I would have been better off at 1/60 as I lost quite a few images through both camera shake and, more often, subject movement, and could well have increased the ISO as I was working with the D700. Though there are a few where I’ve actually panned a little with the moving subject thanks to the slow shutter speed that I quite like.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

If I’d known before I left that I would be working inside, I would also have taken the Sigma 24-70 f2.8, which I’d got back a few days earlier (a new lens as replacement for one that Sigma had been unable to fix)  but I’d left it at home.  I’d also have brought a second SB800 flash which I could have used on the D300 body; I had the Nikon 18-200mm on that but didn’t take many pictures with it.

The hall was too high for bounce, so I was using direct flash for all the pictures.  So long as there is plenty of ambient fill I usually find the results quite acceptable.  In the hot shoe, the SB800 puts the flash about six inches above the centre of the lens. Usually I use the built-in diffuser screen with wide-angles to get more even light distribution, though sometimes I like the little bit of vignetting you can get without it.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

One little thing I find helpful when there is someone very close to the camera on one side of the image is to twist the flash head away from them. Otherwise it can be hard to burn them down to an acceptable level in processing.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

And processing is something that can greatly improve flash images, often allowing  you to make the lighting rather more event when parts of the subject are at different distances from the camera.  People often don’t realise that I’ve used flash, and photographers sometimes ask why the lighting in my pictures is usually more even than theirs. I sometimes tell them that I prayed to the great god Ansel and was granted a special derogation from the inverse square law.

Of course there are many more pictures on My London Diary. It’s one of those events where it’s deliberately a very loose edit, because during the event I handed my card to many of the mothers and the people taking part all want to see pictures of themselves and their friends.

New Thinking on Copyright

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

It was largely the work of that succeeded in getting the disastrous proposals on orphan works (Clause 43) removed from the Digital Economy Act that was rushed through in the closing days of the Labour government.

The problem that so many of us found when we wrote to MPs and got replies from ministers and shadow ministers was that they really had no real idea of how the markets worked in photography and of the importance of intellectual property rights in general. MPs and peers were being made to vote on things they didn’t understand, written by civil servants (with more than a little help from the major industry players who stood to gain financially at the expense of the creators.) The people at ‘Stop43’ write:

We promised the new Government that we, creators, would produce New Thinking to replace the inequitable and unworkable ideas behind Clause 43

and they have, and it is most impressive. In outline they state:

We propose to allow “cultural use” of so-called orphan works and for this cultural use to switch all other uses and users to “known” works, to stimulate cultural and economic activity to the benefit of everyone.

To enable this we propose some changes to current copyright law and the establishment of a National Cultural Archive, which must be free to use.

You can download the detailed document ‘The New Thinking‘ or read the details on their web site. It really does take a new look at the whole area and make what appear to be well thought out and practical proposals. And very much at its basis is the “granting of Inalienable Moral Rights, copyright and fair contract law.”As well as covering the usage of so-called “orphans” it also includes ways in which works might be re-united with their creators. Moral rights of course  include that of attribution, which if implemented would reduce if not eliminate the loss of the connection.

The proposal was first presented at the recent UK National Photography Symposium in Derby, where the audience expressed almost universal support, although unfortunately I was unable to attend.

It’s something I think all photographers should read, and not just in the UK.  Almost everyone has long recognised that copyright needs to be international – even if some major countries have had some rather peculiar if not perverse implementations of the international agreements.

I don’t for a moment think that we will get legislation from the current UK government that does everything in the proposal – and I’m sure there will be very strong opposition from several powerful lobbies. But I think this is an important document in the debate, and one that I hope will change its course.

Time For Fair Votes?

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The UK Elections came and we voted – or at least many of us did, though one of the big stories was that many people in many places came to vote an hour or more before the polling stations closed but were unable to get in to do so. Because the local recording officers had failed to make sufficient provision they were denied their right to vote, and almost certainly at least one Labour MP lost his seat as a result. Unfortunately, perhaps because things seldom go wrong, we have a system where it is prohibitively expensive to challenge the results.

And of course, while usually I can turn on the radio the following morning and hear who will form the new government, this year it was different, with days of discussion and horse-trading. As virtually the only justification for our present system is that it delivers clear results, it perhaps is not surprising that it has now very  much been called into question, and there are probably relatively few people who are not sitting MPs who support it.

What has been more surprising are the demonstrations that have taken place in favour of electoral reform, and although I missed the first on the Saturday following election day as I had a prior engagement, I’ve covered a couple of these in Westminster since, and more are happening in cities around the country this weekend.

The coalition has promised some kind of referendum on the matter, although it seems likely it will be on a very half-hearted change – and that even then many of the majority party will campaign for a vote against it.

When the furore broke over MPs expenses, I was extremely dismissive. Frankly it seemed to me a lot of fuss over very  little, and at least in some respects the fact that the body now set up to supervise the system will cost a great deal more than the relatively minor sums involved in the disputed claims in some respects confirms my attitude. But it wasn’t about money at all but about trust, and it was an issue that raised great forest fires among the public. I wonder if voting reform is another issue whose time has come and will resonate in a similar manner, so that eventually even the most dogged of politicians will have to bow.

On the Monday evening following the elections, the Lib Dems were holding a meeting to discuss the coalition offers from both Conservative and Labour parties (though Labour didn’t really have anything to offer and certainly weren’t prepared to offer it, many of them relishing the idea of the Tories having to struggle with their legacy for the next session.)  There was a noisy but peaceful protest outside the building where they were meeting and I went along to photograph it.

Police had ensured that the protesters left a clear path through the crowd to the door of the building, and the media – including me – lined up for some time along its edge to photograph the people coming to the meeting.  But for some reason most of them decided not to face the crowd and walk in this way, but to barge their way rudely through the protesters. The media were disappointed and the Lib Dems rather went down in my opinion.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

Among those protesting were quite a few members of the Lib Dems, some waving party membership cards, which was one obvious thing to photograph. Slightly more dramatically, one had a party rosette and had presumably stood as a candidate for the party and was holding that out.  The ‘Take Back Parliament’ movement has also adopted the colour purple, a reference to a hundred years ago when the suffragettes wore purple sashes in their fight for votes for women, and supporters were urged to wear purple clothing, purple armbands and to have purple painted fingers; some too had purple face paint and there was a purple cow too at the protest.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

Another small link with the suffragettes was Tamsin Omond, one of the Climate Rush protesters who model their actions on those women who a hundred years earlier called for ‘Deeds Not Words’, and was more recently involved as an independent candidate for Parliament, attracting some support but unfortunately few votes. Given our system it is very hard for parties outside the major two and a half to persuade anyone there is any point in voting for them, even if voters support their ideas. I’ve photographed her at quite a few of the protests that she had been involved in, and it seemed a good idea to take a picture of her with a purple finger.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

I’m not a great lover of celebrities, but Billy Bragg is someone who I admire, and who got himself stuck into this election, working against the BNP, and I was happy to take his picture too, speaking at this event. I’m not sure about the blur – the light was fading a bit by the time he spoke and perhaps I should have increased the ISO to get a higher shutter speed.

Of course there were the usual staples of demonstrations, placards and banners and people, and you can see these and other pictures from the event in Take Back Parliament – Fair Votes on My London Diary.

Saturday saw another London demonstration organised by the same group, with perhaps a thousand people on Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament. This was a more organised event with a number of speakers and a little bit of theatre – including two guys in morph suits with a bar chart and a bright red dinosaur, as well as an MEP, a former Labour MP and radical comedian Mark Thomas. Both these events were pretty packed with photographers, and one of my favourite images from the day showed one of these:

© 2010, Peter Marshall

I particularly like the de-luxe fur-covered camera bag held by her assistant standing behind her.

Later there was a chance for yet a few more pictures of Big Ben (just in case anyone had missed that this was London.)

© 2010, Peter Marshall

But perhaps the image I was happiest with, although I’m not quite sure why, was one of the petition that the protest was delivering to Downing St.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

You can see more pictures from the day in Purple Protest Demands Fair Votes.