Million Women

Violence against women is something most men as well as women are against, but it keeps on happening, most but not all of it by men, whether domestic violence or war or otherwise. The annual Million Women Rise event around the world helps to raise the profile of the fight against it, and I’m happy to photograph it, although being an all-woman protest it does raise some problems.

Most of the women taking part are pleased to be photographed, knowning that pictures such as mine help to gain the event and the cause some publicity, but in past years I’ve occasionally been verbally abused by a small minority of those taking part, and march stewards have occasionally objected to me even standing on the edge of the pavement to take pictures of the march. This year I had no such problems.

But many on the march see it not just as a women-only march, but the march as a women-only space, and I work in a way that respects this view, although it very much limits how I can cover the event – and the quality of that coverage. So while at most marches I work almost entirely with wide-angle lenses, getting close to the marchers, here I feel bound to behave differently, and for much of the march was working with the 70-300mm in place of my 16-35mm.

The AF Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4-5.6D Nikon ED lens (Nikon really know how to give things snappy names) is one of their cheaper offerings, though I bought mine secondhand from a friend, so it was cheaper still. Nikon now offer a similarly specified 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens that costs rather more and weighs almost half as much again, supposedly focuses faster – and of course has vibration reduction.

Supposedly the lens I have isn’t quite optically up to the standard of the newer lens – or Nikon’s larger and heavier pro offerings, but I think you would be hard put to see the difference once it is stopped down one or two stops. It seems excellent up to 200mm or a little above and not bad above that, and when used as a DX lens on the D800, hard to fault.

Being a relatively light, fairly small lens (at least in full-frame digital terms) makes it good for carrying in the bag and for handheld use. With the kind of things I photograph, the lack of VR is seldom an issue – you need a fast shutter speed because the subject is moving. And although I’ve heard people complain about focus speed and hunting, on the D700 or D800 body it seems to work rapidly enough.

You can see more pictures, some taken with the 70-300mm and others with the 28-105, and even a few with the 16-35 inĀ Million Women Rise on My London Diary. Among them are a few that I had some issues with the language involved and didn’t put on the wire because the images contain the ‘c’ word. I don’t have any problems with women who want to reclaim the word, but it might offend some.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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

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