Archive for November, 2019

Big money

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Blogger and photojournalist Avi Adelman has just hit the jackpot in the US with a settlement from Dallas Area Rapid Transit system (DART) of $345,000 for his wrongful arrest for criminal trespass when he photographed a person on the ground being treated by paramedics for an overdose at Rosa Parks Plaza, in public in a public place which is DART property. After the arrest he was detained for a day, but a week later the charge was dropped and after an investigation the arresting officer was later disciplined.

You can read the story on Petapixel at Photographer Wins $345K Settlement Over Unlawful Arrest While Taking Pictures.

The arresting officer took action because she beleived that Adelman taking pictures was in breach of the medical privacy law established in the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). But as Adelman says, “The subjective personal opinions of LEO personnel should never be allowed to interfere with lawful and protected First Amendment activities.

The article states that Adelman considers this settlement “a major win for photojournalists everywhere”, but I think he only means photographers anywhere in the United States. Here we don’t have a written constitution to have a “First Amendment”, and certainly any settlement that might have been reached in the UK over such a case would have been for only a fraction of the amount DART paid.

I don’t think either that there was any great public interest in the pictures that Adelman was taking, and probably police and others here would have attempted to protect the privacy of the unfortunate person being photographed. Unless it was someone in the public eye or the police or paramedics were clearly abusing someone I don’t think I would have wanted to take pictures of this incident in any case.

However taking such pictures would probably also have been legal here, as it was a public event taking place in an area open to the public where there could be no real expectation of privacy. Here it’s more a matter of decency than legality. But some other countries attach more importance to personal privacy and photographers who photograph such events could find themselves paying out rather than raking it in.

October 2019 complete

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

It’s taken me a lot of work to get all my pictures from October sorted out and on the web on My London Diary, and two trips away from home didn’t help. Apart from those visits to Unstone, Sheffield and Matlock it was also a busy month with more protests by Extinction Rebellion and around their actions, ending the month with 39 posts including over 1500 pictures.

October 2019

IWGB Protest UCL outsourcing

St Mary’s Hospital Strike For Equality
Support Chilean protesters
Algerians call for free elections
Assange – Tell the Truth BBC
Iraqi solidarity with Iraq protesters

UFFC 21st remembrance procession
End Family Courts aiding violent fathers
Against compulsory relationship education

Catalans say release Political Prisoners
Lumsdale & Matlock
Matlock Town Walk
Cuba leads on climate say RCG
March for a People’s Vote
Windsor

XR demands Murdoch tell the truth
XR defies protest ban
Protest defends freedom of speech
XR No Food No Future protest
Rally supports Bolivia’s Evo Morales
Against Ecuadorian President Moreno
Solidarity with Rojava – Kurdish Syria

XR Strength in Grief Procession
Brexit unfair for EU citizens
Trade Unionists join the Rebellion
Brick Lane Night
Bangladeshi students protest campus violence
Extinction Rebellion Day 3
Biofuel Watch – Axe Drax at BEIS
All Rise For Climate Justice
Stirling Prize for Architecture
Extinction Rebellion continues

XR Rebels marry on Westminster Bridge
Extinction Rebellion occupy Westminster
Sheffield, Yorkshire
Unstone, Derbyshire
IWGB at Mayfair club Loulou’s
Saudis support killer Prince MBS
Justice For Jamal Khashoggi

London Images


Stonewall 50

Friday, November 15th, 2019

At 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, police began a raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, a Mafia owned pub according to Wikipedia known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth.”

Police raids on gay locations were not uncommon, but usually the police who took money from bar owners and tipped them off in advance of the raids, but this hadn’t happened at Stonewall that night, probably because the police felt they weren’t getting enough payback.

In the raid, police separated all those dressed as women and as usual in such raids tried to get them to go into the toilet with a woman officer to be examined – and, if they had male genitals, arrested. But people refused, and men refused to show police their ID.

You can read a lengthy account of how the events developed in the Wikipedia article. The riots that arose from the raid, largely started by lesbians and transgender people who stood up to the police continued the following day and are generally accepted to have begun the gay liberation movement not just in the United States but elswhere across the world.

The annual Pride celebration in London is now largely a corporate event, a parade rather than a march, and although this year it was said to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, to many it hardly seemed to do so in an appropriate fashion. But there are other Pride celebrations around London that now seem more authentic, and the Forest Gayte Pride festival had the advantage of taking place on the actual 50th anniversary of Stonewall, with events on the 28th and 29th June.

I arrived a few minutes late for the start of the Pride march in Forest Gate, which appeared to have started a little earlier than the time I had been given, but managed to photograph its final few hundred yards and the speeches in the Pride Market at its conclusion. Unlike the huge event in central London, this was very much a community event, and far more interesting for that.

Among those who took part in the march and spoke was the local mayor Rokhsana Fiaz. She replaced the former mayor of Newham, Robin Wales, who had been mayor since the post was established in 2002 but was deselected in 2018 after a challenge to questionable voting procedures by affiliates which would have kept him in power despite the votes of local party members.

More at Forest Gayte Pride celebrates Stonewall 50


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Whales, Lions (and Wales)

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

I remember whale meat. Back in the days of rationing after the war several ‘delicacies’ were introduced to the British diet, available ‘off-ration’. These included snoek, spam and whale meat, and women’s magazines carried government propaganda in the form of recipes intended to make them edible.

We got spam fritters in schol dinners well into my youth and they were more than averagely disgusting; many of us carefully removed the pink stuff and ate the batter, hoping to scrape our plates into the pig swill bucket while the dinner lady (school kids back then always said they were trained by the Gestapo) wasn’t looking. We hoped the pigs didn’t object to a little cannibalism.

But whale meat only happened once. My mother cooked it for dinner (what you now probably call lunch) and it was a black day around the table. I don’t think even she took a second mouthful, certainly the rest of us tried this promised delicacy and downed forks – or at least pushed the offending substance to one side of our plates while finishing off the potato and veg. Back then you weren’t allowed to leave anything on your plate, but that day was an exception. Even the cat wouldn’t eat it.

But apparently it is considered a delicacy in Japan, and they have continued fishing for whales under the pretence of ‘research’ but that hasn’t produced enough to meet demand, so they are now proposing to go back to sea, harpoons at the ready to hunt more seriously.

One poster said ‘Eat Kale Not Whale’ and I have some reservations about that. Kale isn’t too bad, but this year it has grown and grown in our garden, doubtless because of our unusual weather (another negative consequence of climate change.) You can have, as I’m finding, too much kale.

The Global March For Whales at least in its London manifestation appeared to be a rather conservative event, with none of the more radical groups who protest against whaling attending, almost as if they had not been informed it was happening. Numbers were low and perhaps it had been deliberately kept quiet to avoid the rowdier elements.

I left before the march – or rather walk along the pavement – to the Japanese Embassy began to photograph another animal event which was supposed to be taking place in Trafalgar Square, and walked around the square without finding it. Then another photographer shouted from across the road and I found a small group in the shade outside a pub.

It was a really sweltering day in the sun, and the organisers had decided it was just too hot to go ahead as planned with a lengthy vigil 4 years after the shooting in Zimbabwe of Cecil the lion by an American trophy hunter using a crossbow.

The man who was wearing a lion costume would have been seriously in danger of heat stroke had they held a long protest in the sun, and was finding it hot even in the shade, so I think their decision was wise.

Instead they were intending to have a much shorter photocall. I took a few pictures as they were getting ready but had to leave before this took place.

More pictures and more about both events:
Global March For Whales
Remember Cecil the magnificent lion


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Another Grenfell protest

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

It seems increasingly unlikely that we are ever going to see justice for the victims of Grenfell as the establishment use all the tricks in their book to protect those responsible.

Perhaps in the end after years of purposefully drawn out inquiry by police and judges a few small companies will be found guilty of failing to follow some aspects of building regulations and be given insignificant fines, though I doubt even that. But the real culprits seem almost certain to escape scot-free.

THe RCG have a fine banner by Andrew Cooper

So far we have only seen the first stage of the official  Grenfell Tower Inquiry which appears to have been a travesty, with the judge shifting blame on those responsible for fighting the fire and coming to a conclusion that not only flies in the face of what experienced fire-fighters say, including those who were there on the night, but could well lead to more deaths in other high-rise fires. People are almost certain given the publicity by the report to die in some future fires because they try to escape rather than staying safe in their homes. And quite clearly had the idiotic Jacob Rees Mogg lived in Grenfell he and his family would have died there.

These blocks – Grenfell included – only got approval on the basis that any fire would be contained within a flat and would be expected to be able to burn itself out even if fire-fighters did not attend. Building regulations made sure that this was the case, and the towers were built to enable any firest that did occur to be safely fought from within the building. The flats were essentially small self-contained concrete units, isolated from each other, with dry risers to supply water on the landings when needed and smoke traps.

Simon Elmer of ASH who produced a report on Grenfell

The blame for Grenfell lies squarely with the government ministers who altered the regulations and allowed building owners to make their own fire inspections, with owners who saved money by arranging inadequate inspections and employing contractors to add unsuitable cladding and otherwise compromise the building safety. Contractors too bear some resposiblity for agreeing to install unsafe cladding and for doing so in a way which removed the gaps essential for safety.

Another small left-wing group declined the offer to join the RCG protest

Kensington & Chelsea Council and its TMO must bear the main responsibility for this particular building, with councillors and others taking the decisions which made the building a fire-trap. They were more than incompetent, bullying those who informed them of some of the problems.

The council too failed to properly deal with the survivors, despite some extravagant promises made in the early days after the fire by Theresa May and others. A full year after the fire only 41% of the households from Grenfell Tower and adjoining Grenfell walk had been permanently re-housed. Of those in the wider affected area, 29% had been able to return to their homes and 1% – one family – permanently rehoused. The other 70% (90 families) were still in some form of temporary accomodation. This despite Kensington & Chelsea being one of the wealthiest boroughs in the country.

Many of those most closely involved are still suffering intensely from trauma and both initial relief and counselling were other areas where the council and other official response are felt by many to have been inadequate – and put to shame by the community response. As an outsider I don’t feel entitled to comment, though I’ve certainly heard the pain expressed by some of the community.

People pose on the council steps at the end of the RCG protest

Various groups formed after the fire, some with more support among the victims and wider community than others. Although all have I think taken part in the monthly silent walks which aim to keep the memory of the events alive, there have been arguments with some groups urging a more radical stance is needed to get action.

Two of these groups, both relatively small, had come to protest at the Kensington & Chelsea town hall outside the council meeting. I had gone to photograph the protest by the Revolutionary Communist Group who have run street stalls on Ladbroke Grove close to Grenfell and organised other protests in the area as well as taking part in the silent walks. As well as their own speakers they had invited others to talk, and as main speaker Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing, whose report and film produced within a few weeks of the fire remains the most authorative account of the reasons why Grenfell was a tragedy waiting to happen.

More at No Justice for Grenfell


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Don’t attack Iran!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

For a few days it really looked as if Trump was about to launch an attack on Iran and he was really being urged to do so by some of his hard-line advisers.

Trump had called off a planned air strike at the last minute which was planned in retaliation for the shooting down of an unmanned US reconaissance drone by Iranian forces. Iran had said it had strayed into Iranian air space while the US claimed it was in international air space.

Despite the US official claim it seems almost certain that the drone was attacked in Iranian air space, when it and an armed Boeing P-8 Poseidon US navy surveillance aircraft with a crew of 35 flying close to the drone had strayed into it over the Gulf or Hormuz.

Iran issued a statement that both aircraft were in their airspace and that they had twice warned the US before deciding to attack the drone, but had decided not to attack the manned aircraft, stating “we could have shot it down, but we did not .”

It was perhaps this statement that caused Trump to call off the US attacks at the last minute, saying he had been told 150 Iranians would be killed, and that this would be disproportionate.

Trump also stated; ” There was a plane with 38 people yesterday, did you see that? I think that’s a big story. They had it in their sights and they didn’t shoot it down. I think they were very wise not to do that. And we appreciate that they didn’t do that. I think that was a very wise decision.

But the US threat remains, with Trump in a later tweet promising “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.

Because of the high and continuing threat level of war against Iran, Stop The War had called an emergency protest to demand our government to make it clear to Trump that it did not want and would not support a war against Iran. They protested opposite Downing St and tried to deliver an urgent letter to the Prime Minister, but were refused admission to Downing St by an apologetic police office on the gate as they had not arranged permission some days beforehand.

I had thought that MPs were allowed entry without prior arrangement, but Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington, was refused entry. The protesters were told to put the letter in the post.

More pictures: Don’t Attack Iran


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Elsewhere

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Two recent articles I’ve read on other sites that I think you might be interested in, both with some fine photographs as illustrations.

In Can Photojournalists Be Entirely Objective? on Artsy, Kelsey Ables looks at the problem that photographers have in “today’s social media–oriented political landscape “of following the NPPA Code of Ethics instructions to “recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work” and to “resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.”

If you are a regular reader you will know what I think of photo-ops. A few years ago I was involved in a NUJ attempt to produce a code of ethic and came to very much appreciate the problems involved.

The second piece is more entertaining, and is a feature on Aperture advertising an Aperture/Magnum print sale, now over. 15 Photographers Reveal What’s Hidden in Their Work and the pictures were among the over 120 included with roughly postcard size (6×6 inches) prints selling for $100 a piece with an undisclosed percentage going to Aperture.

I’m not quite sure what makes a postcard size print “museum quality” though these are “signed or estate-stamped“, and quite frankly I think a waste of money.

If you’ve a a spare $100 and want to support Aperture take out a magazine subscription, which will get you many more images printed high quality and mainly rather larger. I subscribed for many years but recently gave it up partly because I already have far too many books and magazines around the house, but also because frankly it just isn’t as interesting as it used to be.

The pictures are accompanied by short comments by the photographers (quotations from previous writing by those who are no longer with us.) There are a few of the 15 I’d hang on my own wall if I had a rather larger than postcard copy.

Dairy Scary?

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

I don’t know how much of our milk and cheese actually comes from industrial dairy farms like that shown in the picture above.

According to the RSPCA only around 8% of UK milk comes from cows “housed all year round regardless of milk yield, time of calving and so on”. The RSPCA has a lengthy document for farmers setting the RSPCA Welfare Standards for Dairy Cattle, and a shorter and less technical  The welfare of dairy cows information sheet – February 2017 (PDF 654KB) which very much reflects their concern for animal welfare.

Of course these documents are only advisory and again I’m not sure what proportion of our milk and diary products come from farms which follow them, though I suspect it is fairly high. It is very much in farmer’s interests to look after thier animals, and those farmers that I have know personally are very much concerned and involved with them.

I’d like to see welfare standards such as this being legally enforced rather than simply advisory. But to label the whole dairy industry as ‘Scary Dairy’ seems to me misleading. Some of the claims that Viva! and other vegans make simply make no sense; no cow produces enough calves to need the 14,000 pints of milk the average dairy cow provides each year, and there are certainly no calves starving from lack of milk.

Of course farm animals are slaughtered at some point. It is the nature of the beast; farmers breed them only for economic reasons, not to gratify animal lovers (except for those very few kept as pets. They only exist because they produce food and other animal products that farmers can sell. Of course we should have strict laws that eliminate unnecessary suffering governing how animals are killed and ensure that they are enforced.

I remain irredeemably ‘speciesist’. We are in so many respects different from all other species although of course we have much in common, including a high proportion of our DNA, having evolved over thousands and millions of years from other species (which have also evolved, but differently.)

I did my best to photograph the Viva! protest and to caption the images that I filed to represent their views, reporting as objectively as I could. Mostly I chose to photograph things that I view positively, but while I support better animal welfare I think that the approach taken in this campaign is highly emotional and both dishonest and disingenuous.

  There are a few more pictures at Viva! protest Coca-Cola Dairy Farm.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Parliament Square

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

While I used to think of Trafalgar Square as being the centre of protests in London, and it still is a place where protests take place, over the years there does seem to have been a shift towards Parliament Square (and the nearby Old Palace Yard), largely I think after the years of vigil there by Brian Haw and supporters. And often when I’m in the area for one or two events I’ll come across others that I’d not known about it advance.

Of course Steve Bray and his SODEM campaigners against Brexit are always around when Parliament is sitting, day in day out – and even during the recent recess they only moved as far as the Cabinet Office. But today was a special day for them, marking the number 50. Not the number of years they have been protesting, but the fiftieth birthday of their founder.

There was so much else going on that I managed to miss the peak of the celebrations, arriving back just as they were finishing. But though I try, you just can’t be everywhere all of the time. I should have asked them when I walked past earlier about their plans, but I was in a hurry to get elsewhere.

And that elsewhere was in front of the gates to Parliament, where Operation Shutdown , a group of families and friends bereaved by knife crimes were calling for urgent action by government over knife crimes. I don’t share their faith that a meeting of the government’s emergency  response committee COBRA would do much to help – or that tougher sentences for carrying and using knives and guns would have any real impact on knife crime, but there is clearly a need for action.

Clearly a starting point should be to reverse the government cuts to youth services and family support and to look at programmes to work with young people. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has come in for a great deal of criticism, but has set some reasonable policies in this area, but it really needs a reversal of the harmful policies imposed on local councils by the Coalition and Tory governments. So Operation Shutdown were clearly demonstrating in the right place, and of course their pain and grief is only too clear. Though they were I’m afraid talking to a government with little idea of how most people live and close to zero concern so long as they and their friends are getting richer.

Sometimes I have a problem with cropping. Often there is a tension between making an image visually strong and the text which locates and explains what the picture is about, and perhaps this image is a good example, where I think I have cropped just slightly too tightly. It’s often a good idea to give the reader some slight puzzle, but it’s hard to know if most people on seeing this will actually decipher ‘Stop the Mass Slaughter Of a Generation Now!’ Another inch or two at the left would have helped.

On the Olympus camera which has now become a part of my standard outfit, I work with the camera set on RAW and the aspect ratio as 3:2. But when working with raw images, the camera actually always records the whole sensor, with a roughly 4:3 ratio, which includes a small strip on top and below the 3:2 frame. When editing the pictures I do sometimes find that including some or all of this improves the images. Just a pity that there isn’t any similar leeway at the picture edges!

Just across the street, on the pavement in front of the grassed centre area, there was another protest, by the UK Chapter of the Free Balochistan Movement. It was the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, and they were calling for an end to the large-scale disappearances, arrests and torture of anyone suspected of having links to the Baloch nationalist movement by Pakistan military forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

My day which had begun with the mass lobby, hadn’t ended, and I returned just a little too late to SODEM, before going on to photograph two other protests, to which I’ll refer in a later post.

More pictures from these three protests at:

SODEM Steve’s 50th Birthday
Operation Shutdown against Knife Crime
End torture in Balochistan


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.




The Time Is Now

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Lobbies of Parliament are generally not the most exciting things to photograph, but at least ‘The Time is NOW for Climate Justice‘ began with a kind of march, and had at least one very recognisable face in ROwan Williams.

I’m sure some of the other faith leaders holding the banner as they march along the pavement in Whitehall will be recognisable to some, and we can probably work out which faith most of them are representing. It was a rather timid march, moving quietly and sticking to the pavement, which isn’t very wide here and has quite a few obstacles as well as tourists to get in the way of both photographers and marchers.

The front of the march halted briefly for photographs in Parliament Square, though the place just isn’t so interesting with Big Ben (and the rest of the Clock Tower) under wraps. As well as to photographers, this is a disappointment to the tourists who I think should get a discount on their trips to London until the covers are lifted. I’ve managed to partly hide the rather ugly sight behind Lloyd George in his Superman costume about to leap off his plinth, though I have to say his is one of my least favourite statures, looking like some nasty plastic toy that might come free in your cornflakes.

I let the leaders move on and walked back to photograph the other walkers straggling along behind, eventually finding some who were enjoying themselves and making a considerably more lively protest.

A few minutes later I met yet more people marching down Whitehall, this time with some dressed in giant condoms, with the message “Don’t Screw With The Planet” and that it’s no use us cutting carbon footprints if we keep increasing the number of feet. 

‘Population Matters’, of course it does, and it’s a message that is far more important for the richest nations, where people typically have ten times the carbon footprint per capita than in poorer countries with high birth rates. The most effective way to curb population growth in poor countries is to increase people’s wealth and security. While it’s good to make effective contraception cheap and widely available, people also have to want to use it.

More pictures at:
Time Is Now Walk of Witness
Condoms Cut Carbon