The Mystery Woman

© 2013, Peter Marshall

You may recognise her (and comment if you do), but I have no idea who she was, but as she walked out of the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday lunchtime, two photographers who had been standing around ignoring the two events I was photographing sprang into action.

It wasn’t a pretty sight as they stood in her way, though she had clearly expected to be photographed and paused briefly for them to work – when I took these pictures – but they continued to pester her as she crossed the pedestrian crossing and on the far side of the road before she eventually walked off. Not only that, but they pushed and swore at another photographer who seeing what was happening had also decided to take pictures and they felt was getting in their way. He had just the same right as them to be there on the street and taking pictures and their action was uncalled for.

© 2013, Peter Marshall

The people taking part in one of the protests were watching this and asking each other who the woman was, and they asked me. None of us had a clue. I went up to one of the two photographers who was busily looking through his shots on the back of his camera and made a polite enquiry but he refused to give me any information at all. His response rather shocked me as I’m used to working with other photographers on the streets and there is a culture of sharing and cooperation.

I don’t work with paps, and don’t do that kind of photography. It gives photography and photographers a bad name. You can photograph people without hassling them, as I did on this occasion. But in the end it isn’t the photographers but the whole media culture which produces them that I’d like to see put an end to. Unfortunately whatever result finally comes out post-Leveson isn’t likely to alter this.

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