NHS At 63

© 2011, Peter Marshall

I don’t know who the woman in the red dress in this picture is, but I’ve photographed her on at least one other of the protests over the Con-Dem coalition governments proposals to privatise our National Health Service, carrying as she is here the red flags of ‘Unite – the Union’ in protest. To me she seemed to look an archetype of the revolutionary woman and could well have been a model for some Soviet Socialist Realist poster or painting, striding out into the future, and I rather liked having placed her in front of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (and the building at left of centre with the chimneys is Portcullis House, parliamentary offices. Behind her, carrying the University College Hospital Unison banner is one of the women who have led the protests in London, Janet Maiden.

© 2011, Peter Marshall

The woman in the red dress is there again at the left of this picture made with a 16-35mm, but the reason I’ve put it here is really to point out why I sometimes really like the 10.5mm full-frame fisheye, which I used to take the picture below:

© 2011, Peter Marshall

I think the fisheye with its closer viewpoint and steeper perspective turns what was otherwise a rather ordinary view into something rather more powerful. Of course it helps too that everyone at the front of the banner is looking in my direction, at least partly because I have rushed towards them with a camera. There is however sometimes a problem in that I do need to get very close, and tend to get in the way of other photographers who are taking a less wide view.

Here it wasn’t a great problem, as I was standing very much to one side of the banner, but I do try to avoid being a problem to colleagues when I use the 10.5mm for things like this by working fast and then moving back and using a more normal lens and viewpoint.  More often I’ll use it inside crowds and other situations where I’m less likely to get in the way.

The protest was taking place on the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service – and it seems likely to be in rather poor health by the time it reaches 64 as the parts which can easily provide a profit are handed out to private companies (parts of the bill were rushed through before the parliamentary recess under the cover of Murdochgate.) But there was not a great deal that could be photographed to show this birthday, until I saw that someone had brought with them two large silver inflated numerals.

© 2011, Peter Marshall

More pictures in NHS 63rd Birthday on My London Diary.

2 Responses to “NHS At 63”

  1. jennieF says:

    The woman in the red dress is the amazing Nicky Marcus, Unite Regional Officer for the London & Eastern region.

  2. Thanks for the information. One of many amazing women fighting for the NHS.

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