Celebrating Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn, MP, End The Torture, Bring The Troops Home Now 22 May 2004

As I sat in the garden this afternoon, taking a rest after a week of hard work – 16 stories in the last six days – and still quietly celebrating Jeremy Corbyn‘s victory in the Labour leadership election with another glass of white wine, I wondered when I had first photographed Jeremy.

Certainly it was long ago, almost certainly in the BD era (before digital, which for me really means before 2002.) In more recent times it sometimes got to be embarrassingly often bumping in to him so regularly, along with another Labour MP Jphn McDonnell, destined now for a leading role in the Shadow Cabinet. Both men I admire for their integrity, even if their views on the moderate side. The idea of Corbyn being on the extreme left put forward by Cameron and other Tories (including some in the Labour party) is laughable, though I hope his election is a sign that we genuinely have a widespread reaction against the lurch to the right by Thatcher and Blair.

But enough party politics. Searching for my pictures of Corbyn presented some problems, but mainly that before digital I have only a limited capacity to search my images digitally. I actually got seriously into computing with an Amstrad PC 1512 in 1986, though I’d by then been using computers at work for six or seven years, mainly to catalogue my work. And I do have a database that lets me find images by locations and key words that I started then and covers my black and white work until sometime in 2000. But somehow it never seemed worth taking the time to fully enter people and events I covered into this, though some get on it. Most were filed separately to my main projects which were largely related to the urban fabric of London and thus not entered on the database.

Although I went digital to the extent of buying a Nikon D100 at the end of 2002, I could only afford one Nikon lens, a 24-85mm (equivalent to 36-127mm). The library I was then submitting images to could not at that time handle digital files, working with only black and white prints and colour transparencies, so most of my serious work was still on film. My earliest pictures of Jeremy will certainly be somewhere in those black and white negatives and probably in the 1990s.

By 2004 when the two images above were made I was still working with the D100, but had managed to afford a longer lens, though I can’t now remember which it was. The top image was taken at 140mm (210mm eq) and the lower one at 195mm (292mm eq), both in Trafalgar Square. I suspect it was a fairly cheap Sigma zoom, perhaps a 55-210mm, possibly the one that disappeared out of my camera bag in January of the following year when I was photographing the Red Army Choir. Not I hasten to add by one of the choir members, but in the very densely packed crowd of onlookers. I wasn’t too sad to lose it, though it was a very light lens to carry, but it did give me a good excuse to buy the newly introduced Nikon 18-200mm.

Michael Foot, Hiroshima Day Aug 6th 2004

I’d photographed Jeremy again as he compered the annual Hiroshima Day Ceremony that August, but its a rather ordinary picture and I seem to have been having problems with developing raw images at the time. Perhaps more interestingly, also present is someone with whom Jeremy is sometimes compared, Michael Foot, and I have several pictures of him. Foot was crucified by the press for wearing a donkey jacket to the Remembrance Day protest (of course it wasn’t really a donkey jacket) and Jeremy will doubtless get similar treatment this November, both for his attire and the white poppy he is expected to wear (though he might follow the advice of some others I know who wear their white poppy together with a red one.)

International Workers Memorial Day London, April 28, 2006

I’ve always felt that Jeremy and I share the same tailor, though not literally, but we certainly have a similar attitude to dress and hair. His hair is rather more lively than mine but we have quite similar beards and I have occasionally been mistaken for him, though I don’t think we look much alike.

Kings Cross – never again! London, 26 Nov 2005

By November 2005 I was working with a Nikon D70, bought on the cheap as a grey import. Although an ‘amateur’ camera it was far superior to the D100, and by then I was getting rather better at raw conversion, partly because of improved software.

Time for another glass. Though for Jeremy it will be another cup of tea.


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 taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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One Response to “Celebrating Corbyn”

  1. […] My main concern on September 12 was not however with the Labour Party leadership – in which I didn’t have a vote, never having got over being thrown out of the party as a member of a Labour student organisation that was ‘proscribed’ back in the 1960’s, although I did briefly photograph one of the victory parties – and wrote about it here earlier. […]

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