Mike Russell (1953-2011)

I was sorry to hear the news of the death of photographer Mike Russell who I know both as ‘Mike’ and as ‘Minimouse’ although I never knew why he had adopted this alias as there was nothing ‘mini’ about him, except perhaps his ego. In a profession where there are too many prima donnas, Mike stood out as a guy who was always concerned about others, always had a smile on his face and a welcome, someone it was always a pleasure to meet when photographing events on the streets.

Mike persuaded me to overcome my opposition to the ridiculously authoritarian ‘media policy’ of the Climate Camp and spend a day on site as one of the media team at Blackheath, and it was largely due to his efforts that despite the anti-media hysteria of some campers that there is such a good photographic record of what were some of the most significant environmental protests in the UK – and I should really have listened to him earlier.

Our last exchange only three months ago was a minor argument and ended in a typical suggestion from him “let’s get together over a beer and talk about it”, but sadly we never did.  I and others will miss him on the streets.

More about his career in photography and aspects that I was unaware of, particularly his early adoption and pioneering of digital photography on the EPUK site, and his pictures on his website, including some from Climate Camp – in what he described as “An unashamedly self-indulgent collection of photographs that I’ve enjoyed taking” – are certainly worth a look.

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