Archive for December, 2016

My Year

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

2016 was certainly a year of interesting times, and it kept me busier than I would like, though financially somewhat disastrous so far as my photography was concerned, with the agency though which I was selling most images was bought up by the Chinese on behalf of Getty.

I’ve not looked through all of the over 14 thousand images that I thought interesting enough to share with the world on My London Diary, but have gone through those that were the lead images in the roughly 325 stories I posted on that site this year. These aren’t always the images I liked best, as these are sometimes rather offbeat and unsuitable as a lead image or in portrait format, which doesn’t fit the web as well, but these are certainly some of the better images I’ve taken in 2016.

Overall I was pretty pleased to find so many good images, but disappointed not to find any that really stood out. Anyway, here are the dozen that I picked to sum up the year. I started with the idea of choosing one from each month, but eventually abandoned that idea and instead just chose those that appealed to me most.

Clicking and image will take you to the story it heads on My London Diary

9 Jan: Class War at White Cube, Bermondsey

27 Feb: Stop Trident March, Hyde Park Corner

9 Mar: Ugandans protest rigged election, Trafalgar Square

1 May: F**k PArade 4 Anti-capitalist street party with Class War and others, Tower Bridge

19 Jun: Class War at the Ripper Museum, Cable St

3 Jul: Neturei Karta at start of Al Quds Day march

27 Jul: UVW and supporters at CBRE Offices call for reinstatement of the Wood St 2, City of London

2 Sep: Black Lives Matter Movement outside the IPCC call for justice for Dalian Atkinson

29 Sep: LSE Cleaners launch their campaign

28 Oct: Focus E15 try to enter Theori Housing office in Walthamstow

5 Nov: UVW cleaners outside John Lewis, Oxford St

8 Dec: Class War at Zaha Hadid Architects, Clerkenwell

A Happy New Year to you all. Let’s hope it be peaceful and prosperous too.

Thanks to those who have sent me a small donation for my work on >Re:PHOTO. If you are a regular reader please consider supporting the site – see below.

Last week in Hull Photos

Friday, December 30th, 2016

28/12/2016: 27n51: Humber and Humber Bridge, 1981 – Humber

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my new HULL PHOTOS web site, ‘Still Occupied‘  and since then I’ve kept up my promise to add a picture each day to the site, on the Introduction page

I’ve had a few comments, both in person and on Facebook about the site, and have been pleased with the positive response, but there are a couple of questions people have asked.

I try to remember to post an update every day on Facebook showing the new image, but I have forgotten a few times when I’ve been busier than usual, and I’ve been asked if there is any easy way to find any new images that people have missed. I don’t think there is, as the previous post could be in any of the eleven sections into which the site is (somewhat arbitrarily) divided.

So I’ve decided to do a post here every week with the last 7 images I’ve put on the site.  In future I’ll try to add some of the comments that I’ve written about them on Facebook too.

27/12/2016: 27n23: New Holland view towards Hull, 1981 – Humber

27n15: New Holland, 1981 - Humber
26/12/2016: 27n15: New Holland, 1981 – Humber

25/12/2016: 27m65: Cafe, Hessle Rd, 1981 – North & West Hull – Hessle Rd

24/12/2016: Hull General Cemetery, 1981 – Springbank

23/12/2016: 27m35: Hull General Cemetery, 1981 – Springbank

22/12/2016: 27l55: Humber Bridge and Hessle foreshore, 1981 – Humber

I’ve also been asked about the order in which I took the pictures and the meaning of the file numbers – such as 27l55 for the image above.  Until some time in 1986, I gave every negative filing sheet a unique number and letter, starting with 1a to 1z, then 2a – 2z etc.  Each filing sheet had 7 rows of negatives and each contained a strip of up to 6 negatives.  Rather than trying to read negative numbers in the darkroom, I counted up rows from the bottom, starting at 0, and then across the strip, starting at the left as 1.  So the negative for the above image would be on row 5 and the 5th negative from the left.

However, especially when I was working with more than one camera,  the filing sheets would not always get filled up in exactly the order I took the pictures. I might come back from a trip to Hull, for example, with 20 26 exposure cassettes to be developed, perhaps in 4 batches of 5. I tried to file them roughly in order, but sheet 27m might have been taken a few days before or after sheet 27l.

And when it came to cutting the films from a single long strip to put into the filing sheets, I might start cutting into lengths of 6 from either the first or last exposure on the film. Usually I’d have slightly over the 36 images on the film, and I’d end up with one short strip from either the start of end of the film – which I would always file in row ‘0’ of the sheet.

So without the aid of EXIF data which we now take for granted, there is no simple way to determine the exact order in which I took pictures, though the actual negative numbers on each film usually enable me to tell the order in any particular film (though later I owned cameras which started at frame 36 and worked back down to frame 0.)  So I am simply putting images on line in order of the file reference (though with just a few exceptions.)

2016 Yunghi Grant awards

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

One Facebook group I’ve belonged to for some time is an invite only group with almost 5,000 members, The Photojournalists Cooperative, a confidential discussion forum where we can discuss photography related issues, largely on the business side of photography, in private. But what is no secret is that this group was created by Yunghi Kim, a photographer who has been with Contact Press Images for over 20 years.

Like all photographers Kim has her pictures taken from the web and used without permission, but she has been more diligent than most in chasing up these copyright infringements. A little over a year ago we read (and you can read it on Photoshelter) the she was to donate “$10,000 to create ten one-time grants of $1,000″ with money that she has received “from fees recovered from unauthorized use of my work”. You can read more about her and the grants in I Wanted To Protect Myself, and I Wanted To Empower Other Photographers on Vantage.

American Photo in January 2016 published a fine article, Yunghi Kim on Intimacy in Photojournalism by Hannah Smith Allen illustrate by some of her powerful images, and you can see more of her work on her own web site and she is also on Facebook.

Kim apparently got back enough from copyright infringements to continue the grant into 2016; entries closed on 20th December and another group of awardees was announced on Christmas Day, and I read about them on PDN Pulse a couple of days ago with a link to the announcement on Kim’s blog which gives some information – and of course a great image – from each of them. On it she writes:

We thank all those who submitted entries to this year’s grant; it was difficult to narrow it down to ten. Jeffrey Smith and I feel privileged to read everyone’s stories and proposals, and are heartened to see that there is really strong editorial thinking and story development even as funding resources become more challenging each year.

I am immensely proud of all the entrants of this grant: committed photographers who are a part of our photojournalism community, all doing meaningful work as best as they can manage, often under difficult circumstances. My life has been enriched by being able to help in a small way.

The submissions are selected by Kim “in consultation with Jeffrey Smith director of Contact Press Images. Decision-making is inherently subjective. Please no complaints.”

The grants are a wonderful initiative by Kim, and a great example of a photographer showing her concern and love for the medium and what it can achieve.


Tips and Vauxhall

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Thursday April 14th was such a nice day I might have gone out taking pictures just for the joy of a walk in fine spring weather, or perhaps simply enjoyed a bike ride around some of the outskirts of London. But in my diary was a protest by the Unite Hotel Workers outside the Dept of Business, Innovation & Skills which meant a trip into London.

I’m not in favour of tipping. I’m happy to pay the rate for services that others provide, and when I’m providing services for others expect to perform to the best of my ability. Tipping is something which I think demeans those who depend on it and a practice I’d like to see outlawed. Just like other forms of bribery.

But while it – and ‘service charges’ still exist then these monies should go to the people who provide the service, and not simply as just more cash to the employers.  And this is what minister Sajid Javid promised, mandatory rules on tipping in hotels and restuarants that give 100% of tips to staff. The protest was taking place to remind him of that promise, which he has failed to implement.

I like the picture above partly because it has everything in it – the minister’s picture with a statement of his promise, the sign at right that shows where the protest was taking place and the Unite flag.  I like too hte dynamism of the flag – and the hair of the Unite activist at the centre of the image.  It isn’t perfect by any means (and I don’t like ‘perfect’ pictures) but a scene where I realised the possibilities and then spent several minutes and rather a lot of exposures to get a picture that worked, at least for me. You can see a few of my other images at Make Tips Fair.

Since I was coming to London for just one fairly short protest it was an opportunity to do something else I’d been meaning to photograph for a while, in a walk around London’s largest current development area, Vauxhall/Nine Elms/Battersea, indentified back when Ken Livingstone was Mayor as a major ‘opportunity area’.

Progress on its development was slow for some years thanks to the financial crash, but for some time I’d been watching the site and taking occasional pictures, particularly of the new US embassy being built there, as my train took me past on the way to Waterloo.

When I’d walked past on my way along the Thames path back at the start of 2014, there was relatively little to be seen happening apart from a few blocks of new riverside flats, but two years later it was very different. There were now people living in some of those flats, and more new blocks were going up.

Vauxhall seems always to have been a location that has attracted some particularly poor architecture, with the 1960s drab blocks built despite their prominent position on the river not far from Parliament and contirbuting to the Duchy of Cornwall’s coffers.

I’m no great fan of the MI6 building either, though it does have a certain appealing inappropriate oddity.  I’ve always suspected the architect had prepared the initial drawings as a joke and that no-one was more surprised than Terry Farrell when they were given the go-ahead.

And on the other side of the road is St George Wharf, with the distinction of having twice won the Architects’ Journal’s ‘Worst building in the world’ award.

At least the new US Embassy building – in an unfinished state – looks to be less of an eyesore than the current fortress in Grosvenor Square, surely one of London’s uglier buildings despite its distinguished architect. And perhaps by having a moat will be able to avoid the heavy secuirty fence, though doubtless there will still be the armed patrols. It will be a little handier for me to photograph the many protests it will continue to attract, just an easy walk from Vauxhall Station.

The largest part of the development is still inaccessible to the public and to the passing photographer, but generally appears to be fairly mediocre in design. It will I suspect on completion also be a large addition to London’s growing private public space where photography is not allowed.

Vauxhall and Nine Elms


Travelling times

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

I should ride my bike more. Not just because exercise is good for you, but because it really is the most reliable way to get around in Central London. Traffic is bad, and getting worse, and many times this year I’ve found myself sitting in buses that are hardly moving, wondering whether to get off at the next stop and walk to get their quicker.

One problem is that it is rarely possible to get off the bus until it reaches a bus stop – and that can sometimes take ten minutes if you come across a real snarl up. Bus drivers are not allowed to open bus doors except at stops, though occasionally will let passengers leave by the front door opposite the driver where they have better vision if it is safe to do so.

Most buses too have an emergency lever to open the normal exit doors, and sometimes passengers get frustrated enough to make use of this. I haven’t yet done so myself, but several times have taken advantage of it when others have done so.

It’s particularly galling for those of us old enough to have spent time travelling on the old Routemaster and other now vintage buses with their open rear platforms, enabling you to leave and enter the bus anywhere and at any time. There were a few accidents, but in general Londoners managed to arrive in one piece. One of Boris’s minor disasters among many as London’s mayor was his new Routemaster bus, which traded on the name but otherwise had few of the traditional features.

One of them was a two-person crew, one driving and the other looking after the passengers, but that second person was soon phased out – and the open platform at the back replaced by sometimes rather crude automatic gates – there are at least two designs, one of which regularly savages unwary tourists waiting to descend.

There are other faults too, and even with improvements to the air conditioning you can still get cooked in warm weather. There are still a few of the old Routemasters around on a route heavily used by tourists and travelling on those reminds me of how much generally bus design has improved, with a far smoother ride, but at least you are not trapped inside. But Boris’s ‘blunderbus‘ stays with us after he has gone on to be a rather curious and undiplomatic Foreign Secretary.

But on April 9th it wasn’t a bus that let me down but one of London’s suburban trains, both running late. It’s something I also blame on the politicians, particularly Mrs Thatcher, whose vendetta against the GLC robbed us of effective London-wide government in 1986, and carried out a nonsensical privatisation of the whole British rail system. My train into Clapham Junction run by a private company was held up by signalling problems and I missed the connection to the Overground service which took me within walking distance of the Carnegie Library and I arrived almost half an hour after I had planned.

Fortunately I was just in time for the last speeches before the occupiers emerged to cheers and applause from the large crowd which filled the street outside – as you can see at Carnegie Library Occupation Ends.

A bike would not have solved my travel problem on that journey, as I would still have been held up on the first train, but it would have got me there a little faster after that. And barring accidents and punctures a bike is the most reliable form of transport, and the almost always the fastest in central London, with traffic only slightly slowing you down, even if as I almost always do, you stop at red lights.

But there are problems. The library would have been fine – just lock the bike to a nearby lamp post and get on it afterwards, but covering the march that came afterwards – March to Save Lambeth’s Libraries would have meant walking with it taking pictures and then returning to pick up the bike before going on. As it was I went with the march until just after it passed a railway station on another line before getting a train back into the centre of London – just a little faster than I could have ridden.

The main problem is simply carrying my kit. I’ve tried using a back-pack, which would be OK on a bike, but I don’t find it too convenient, and prefer my old shoulder bag. I can’t cycle with it on my shoulder, it’s too large to fit in a pannier. I’d need to have a bag which would double as both a back-pack and shoulder bag to keep me happy, and I’ve yet to find one suitable.

Trains (and buses) do have one advantage – and one that links with the protest I was photographing in Lambeth – that you can read on them. I never travel without a book in my bag. More seriously, libraries were vital to me when I was young, and I doubt if I would ever have got to university without my local public library and the books I was able to borrow and read. And it was there that I also developed my interest in photography, reading every week the Amateur Photographer magazine that we certainly could not have afforded to buy.

But I suppose the point of these ramblings, jogged in my mind by looking at my work on April 9th is that days like this are almost as much about ‘logistics’ as about photography. Starting with a list of events in my diary, working out which ones I intend to cover and how to get from A to B to C… Of course some things are clearly impossible, as you can’t for example be in Stratford and Hammersmith at the same time.

I often spend an hour or two on the Transport for London Web site and looking at maps planning the next day’s events. Its ‘Journey Planner‘ isn’t entirely reliable and often you need to break down a journey into several stages to get it to return the best result from public transport. Sometimes it misses the obvious or seems to have something against certain bus routes, but it’s usually a good starting point.

But using a bicycle, particularly a folding bike like my Brompton which you can put on a train or tube any time of any day would often both simplify journeys and speed them up. I ought to get myself sorted out and use it more.

I left the libraries march close to Loughborough Junction and a train and a tube took me to Westminster and Downing St, where a couple of thousand people were partying on the street and calling for the prime minister, David Cameron to resign. Cameron must go! This followed the leaking of the ‘Panama Papers’ revealing some rather dodgy financial affairs about a great many of the rich and powerful, which since then have been largely, as usual, swept under the carpet. Eventually, but for different reasons, Cameron did go, but as I told some of those I was photographing, changing the Tory in charge isn’t going to make things any better.

Next stop was around a mile away, rather appropriately on Horseferry Road outside the Channel 4 building, against the cruelty to horsed in races such as the Grand National which they were broadcasting that afternoon. It does seem to me an unneccessary cruelty, with four horses already having died at this year’s Aintree meeting, though I do think there are many more important issues to protest against, both so far as animal rights are concerned and also human rights. This fitted in well with my movements for the day, but I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to photograph it. And rather fewer people than expected had arrived to protest – probably fewer than were watching the race in the average betting shop. Stop Grand National horse slaughter

It was then a short walk to Victoria station and the tube to Oxford Circus, from where I walked north up Regent St and on to Portland Place and the Polish Embassy. Though quite a fast journey it would have been faster by bike, but I arrived as people were hanging hundreds of wire coat hangers on the Embassy door, having I think missed some speeches beforehand. Which since they were probably mainly in Polish was probably not a bad thing.  Among the wire coathangers were a few plastic ones, which would not have been of much use to the back-street abortionist, but otherwise the symbolism of this protest against plans by the Polish government to  outlaw abortions except in very limited circumstances was pretty clear.

The protest in London involved a few hundred, mainly women, but reflected much larger protests in Poland – which did eventually suceed in getting the law dropped.  Don’t Criminalise Abortion in Poland

Then it was back to Oxford Circus and Westminster on the tube to return to Downing St, where the Party against Cameron was continuing, though on a rather smaller scale than earlier in the day. It had developed into rather more of a street party, less fluffy and more hard-core, mainly gathered around a bicycle-hauled sound system, and with a rather greater emphasis on Carmeron’s Bullingdon initiation pig-related activities.

Perhaps surprisingly the police seemed happy to simply watch the event rather than exercise their frequent obsession with traffic flaw and try to clear the street.  I wasn’t sure whether this merely reflected a sensible decision based on the available resources or perhaps an expression of their own views against our current government, which they feel has treated them badly in various ways. Of course the main villain so far as they are concerned is Theresa May, then Home Secretary and now the replacement for Cameron.

Finally it was just a short walk to Trafalgar Square, where in front of the National Gallery, Colombians were protesting against political persecution. End Killings in Colombia seemed to call for something a little more than just people holding banners and I tried to make use of some of the long shadows that some of the protesters were casting to provide a more sinister view.

Steps in the corner of Trafalgar Square then took me down to the Bakerloo line platforms for the two stops to Waterloo and my train home.


Photographers photographs

Monday, December 26th, 2016

The Photographer’s Guide To Choosing the Right Bio Picture on PetaPixel certainly made me smile, and I hope it will you.

It’s not a subject I’ve ever given a great deal of thought to for my pictures of myself, and I’ve tended to simply pick the first one that comes to hand whenever I’ve needed to produce a picture of myself.

Photographers seem often to take pictures of other photographers, and there are a few that people have posted on my Facebook page or given to me. I don’t think any of them will mind if I post them here (and two are by friends who are now dead, Townly Cooke and Tony Mayne.) These are just a selected few of those I have.

Peter Marshall by Luca Neve
Me at a protest by Luca Neve

Photo by Milena Nova, paint by black bloc

Photo by Paddy Garcia

by Paul Baldesare

From a portrait session in my home by the late Tony Mayne

Taken on my camera in the Prince Arthur pub, probably by the late Townly Cooke

Battle Of Cable Street 80th anniversary march and rally, Tower Hamlets October 201
Photo by David Hoffman at Cable St

And finally one of me with Linda, which I think was a self-portrait at a party in Paris where one room was set aside as a studio for all the guests to make use of. I think it was probably me rather than Linda who pressed the cable release.


All photographs copyright of the named photographers.

Happy Christmas

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

With Christmas greetings to you all – and let’s hope for a peaceful New Year

Peter Marshall


And some more card pictures from previous years:

I can’t remember at all which image I used from 2009, but I did photograph some angels:

Marching to the Wave, Dec 2009

I can’t remember either what I used the following year, and I can’t find anything which is really Christmassy. But I did photograph the Passion, and could perhaps have used one of the gory crucifixion images, or this one as the resurrected Jesus makes his way out of the tomb, scaring the Roman soldiers on guard (despite some theological doubts about it.)

Jesus scares the bejesus out of the Romans

In 2011 I was spoilt for choice – A UK Uncut Santa at HMRC, Topshop and Vodaphone, a real life Christmas Fairy at the Royal Exchange, the London Christmas Lights and an evening in Hampton Hill with Santa, lots of children, a doggy Santa and a private show in a tatoo parlour… Perhaps this picture.

Children gift-wrapped in the Christmas parade, 2011

In 2012 the Santas were out in force again for Santacon, having fun in Trafalgar Square.

Santacon 2012

Vigil for Chelsea Manning, 2013

I had a few pictures from 2014 to choose, and suspect I may have used a not very Christmas image from the cleaners protesting inside John Lewis – with its Christmas decorations on show. But protests in shops in Brixton calling on them to pay a living wage to their workers were also led by Santa, there was a ‘Fossil-Free Nativity’ in Westminster and I met Santacon both at the start of their ramblings on Clapham Common, and later in the day around Great Portland St, where they (and I) had a good time together fuelled by an excess of festive spirit.

Santacon 2014

The picture for this year’s card, at the top of this post, was taken in December 2015. I did take a few more pictures of Santacon, but this was from an entirely sober event, and one where the BMX club riders were out there to raise money for charities rather than contribute to the profits of the drinks industry. Though I expect some of them, like me, did have a glass or two later in the day. But bicycles – and probably cameras – are best operated with a clear head.

Christmas Cards

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Like many other photographers, most years I pick one of my pictures to use on a Christmas Card, though these days given the cost of postage, more people get it in the In Tray than in their letter box. Some photographers simply pick their favourite image from the year’s ouput, perhaps interesting to receive, but it seems somehow to me more about self-publicity than any outpouring of Christmas spirit – and could be sent on any day of the year. Others send complex image montages, amusing and clever, which are fun to get, but are often not the kind of thing you want to show to some of your visiting relatives. I’ve settled for images that have at least some seasonal relevance.

I can’t actually remember which pictures I chose some years – but here are some of those that either I did or might well have sent from the past.

Ruislip, 2003

Fathers 4 Justice, 2004

Fathers 4 Justice, 2005

Santas get engaged at Santacon, 2006

Christmas Fair next to Tower Bridge, 2007

Muriel Lesters’ Serenade Bomb Makers, 2008

to be continued…

The Marshall Clan

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Back in the bed the other morning I also reflected on my own name as well as domain names – and of course there are some links with and both of which point to web sites containing my work. But I know of at least two other photographers in the UK who are also called Peter Marshall and I’m sure there are more.

Silverprint used to be just a few yards from the Elephant. 2015

I became aware of these two in rather odd circumstances, the first when buying photographic materials in one of my favourite shops, Silverprint, now moved from London to Dorset and concentrating on on-line sales. I’d been a customer since the company began (and of Goldfinger which was its precursor) and knew the boss slightly, and usually would have a chat with Martin when I called in at the shop when it was in Valentine Place, but one day I got a very frosty welcome. Eventually things resumed their normal friendliness when it became clear that it was another Peter Marshall whose cheque had bounced.

EDL protesters barrack another photographer, 2010

My second rather disconcerting encounter with another Peter Marshall came when I got an emailed death threat from an ultra-right nutter and couldn’t understand what it was about at all – but was later contacted by another Peter Marshall and things became clear – they didn’t like the pictures he had taken. I’ve had my own threats and hostile comments from the extreme right both on-line and in person – and often because I’ve been mistaken for another photographer, though one with a different name – and been protected at times by both police and saner right-wing elements, so I wasn’t too worried.

A man with fearless ferret – but not me! 2007

Over the years we’ve also had a number of phone calls at home – ours is one of the few numbers still listed in the printed phone book, which gets slimmer each year – clearly intended for other Peter Marshalls. My favourite is still the guy who asked my wife “Is he the Peter Marshall who keeps ferrets?”

Bruce Kent speaks at a rally against Guntanamo in 2003. I turned down the invitation to speak there which was almost certainly intended for another Peter Marshall. 2003

I’m often also confused with the Peter Marshall who has written a number of fine books including ‘Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism’, and I only wish I had, but my works are fairly strictly photographic. We do have a slight connection in that he wrote ‘Into Cuba’ with photographer Barry Lewis, who was a fellow student with me back in Leicester in 1970-71, both of us learning to teach chemistry, but where I also managed to study media, film and photography.

Another person I’ve been confused with is a TV journalist and reporter who I sometimes hear on Radio 4 and there are many more. You can find a few of us by putting the name ‘Peter Marshall’ into Google. When I tried this while writing this post I came up at number 11, and also this site at 14 and more again at 18, 27, 28 and a couple of times lower down in the first page (which for serious searching I have set to 100 entries.) But I gave up looking then, as Google tells me ‘About 64,300,000 results’!

One of my grandmothers was Welsh, but not quite a dragon. 2009

There are apparently at least 400 of us in the UK alone. I sometimes wonder if I would have done better had I chosen a less common name (though why Ralph Pierre LaCock, decided Peter Marshall would be a better stage name remains a mystery.) I do actually have a middle name that I never use, Gwyn, and might have gone down better in Wales as Peter Gwyn Marshall, or Gwyn Marshall or just Peter Gwyn – or I could have chosen something completely different (though it wouldn’t have been LaCock, or even Lacock, where the inventor of photography William Henry Fox Talbot lived.) And though I am Welsh enough to play for Wales, though I don’t have the accent.

Lacock Abbey, now owned by the National Trust and housing the Fox Talbot Museum. 2007

Seriously, a good name can be a great advantage, something that sticks in peoples’ minds will greatly improve your chances of becoming well-known. Sticking out from the crowd is very useful in building a reputation – and why some photographers make a silly hat their trademark. I’ve always tried to be inconspicuous when taking pictures, avoiding bright or unusual clothing, wanting to blend in, but while that may help in taking good pictures, it does nothing for your publicity.


by any other Name…

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

I woke up early this morning (or rather a couple of mornings ago by the time I publish this) thinking about names. In particular about domain names, though I drifted on to more personal thoughts. I find myself in the rather ridiculous position of having 25 domain names, which is a little more than I really need.

It isn’t really quite so bad as that, as four are ones I hold for other people or groups rather than myself. Six of the others too are for sites I wrote for group shows I organised with other photographers, and one a group site I curate with another photographer. But that still leaves 14 that are all mine. Which seems slightly excessive.

The latest acquisition is of course Hull Photos at which I set up around a month ago. I was staggered to fine that that particular domain name was still available – as too were several others I considered. I chose it as being short, easy to remember and exactly describing what I intended to use it for. The ‘’ is I think entirely appropriate for a site dedicated to a UK city, and has the advantage of being one of the cheapest of domain registrations to maintain.

When I first registered a domain, I think back in 1996, almost any name you could think of was available. I chose because I had already written a small site featuring London’s buildings (it’s still on-line but at a different address in that domain – and looks very dated, having only had the kind of essential changes needed to keep it working with modern browsers.) Later, largely because it was going cheap, I also registered, and both this and now point to the same page, a kind of front end to my work on London that I wrote around 15 years ago – with minor updates since.

At the time I intended ‘Buildings of London‘ to be a much more extended site, showing a good selection of the roughly 100,000 pictures I had taken of buildings of all types across the city, but somehow that has yet to happen – though it will probably come soon. Long ago I registered yet another domain for that purpose.

The 2012 London Olympic site in 1980

Another site with a specific purpose is, which displays some of my work along the Lea Valley, which I’d photographed since the 1980s. I set up the web site in 2005; I’d been thinking about it for several years but went full steam ahead once London had been awarded the 2012 Olympic Games – and later many of the pictures went in to my book ‘Before the Olympics’.

An obvious choice for my work would be domains using my own name, and I registered two of these, which is my London’s Industrial History site, written for me by my elder son as a present back in 1999 and still looking good, though some of the scans reflect an age of lower standards.

Then there is also, where I had to have the – in the middle because the site without it was already taken for a US preacher. could be used for any of my sites, but I needed a domain for my Paris Pictures, and that’s it.

And of course there are two domains you are all aware of, My London Diary, at (and and a couple of others) and >Re:PHOTO, this site, which is a name I find some people don’t understand but which is explained here. That had to be just, partly because only a limited range of letters etc are allowed in domain names, but also because many people can’t easily find the ‘>’ or ‘:’ on the keyboard or phone.