Behind With The News

It isn’t often that My London Diary can claim a scoop, but I was interested to read a story in today’s Independent newspaper which begins “A new wave of disruptive protests will take place in London in May”and mentions OccupyLSX’s plans.

© 2012, Peter Marshall
The Occupy General meeting – numbers grew a little later on

Just over a month ago, on Saturday 3 March, I posted a story on Demotix, and a couple of days later on My London Diary as Greeks Protest With OccupyLSX in which I wrote:

I was surprised to find a general meeting of OccupyLSX was still taking place there this afternoon. After spending some time discussing the role of the police in society, this then moved on to planning further events, possibly a major protest on May Day or May 15, the anniversary of the start of last year’s protests in Spain.

Of course we always have events occurring on May Day, and it was more the May 15 anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish protests that was the more significant date, as postings on various other sites have confirmed. I’m not sure why the Independent now thinks it is news. I took the picture above early on in the general meeting and by the time I left an hour or so later there were possibly almost twice as many present, doubtless including at least two or three undercover police, though occasionally at some events I think they are in a majority – Chesterton’s ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’ sometimes seems fact rather than fiction.

© 2012, Peter Marshall

I was of course more interested in the Greeks and their protest, and most of my pictures were of that, taking place a few yards away from the Occupy general meeting, which also welcomed the Greeks and heard from one of them about the events in Greece.

Also not very new news is the film ‘Chimping’, which I learnt about on the dvaphoto blog,  where they mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve only just got around to watching. Posted on Vimeo by director/produced Dan Perez de la Garza, this is a film about what photojournalists do and the future of photojournalism, featuring “Pulitzer Prize winners Preston Gannaway and Rick Loomis, Emmy Award winner Paula Lerner, along with Todd Maisel, Chris Usher, Angela Rowlings, Edward Greenberg, Stan Wolfson, and Rita Reed” and although it has the copyright date of 2007, the issues it raises are still current.

Perhaps the most interesting comments come from Intellectual Rights attorney Edward Greenberg who describes photojournalists as “passive, ignorant, childlike and unwilling to stand up for themselves and as possessing the fatal flaw of many artists which is an overriding desire to be liked” and says “the pat on the head is unfortunately so important to the egos of many creative people that they forget they are in business… ” and that they have to make a living.  He also talks about annual earnings for some photojournalists as dropping from $80,000 to $30,000 over the past five years, though even the lower figure would seem like a golden age for most now.

Of course it is no longer possible to dismiss mobile phone cameras as not having the quality that newspapers need – particularly now that rather than 1.5 megapixels we now have monsters including the 41 Mp Nokia 808 Pureview. It’s no longer pixels or even technical quality that separates the pro from the citizen; on one side you have the quality of vision and on the other being there in the middle of things when they happen.

Several years ago at an NUJ photographers conference I heard a speaker talking about the need for photojournalists to adopt a hybrid approach to selling their work, making use of exactly the kind of new sites that were setting out to market the work of citizen journalist, and I started trying to sell my work through some of them, as just one of a several ways of getting an income from my work. After a very slow start it is beginning to increase, while other sources of income have gone down.

 A very different video which I also watched this morning is about perhaps the most famous film ever made about a photographer, Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window‘, made in 1954, and now turned into an incredible three minute single panoramic time-lapse video by filmmaker Jeff Desom and featured on PetaPixel.


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