The Italian Job

One of the larger community festivals in London takes place every July in Clerkenwell around St Peter’s Italian Church, which holds its Procession in Honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, when floats and walkers representing biblical scenes, various associations and banners and the heavy statues from the church are paraded around the neighbourhood, followed by the priests and a large crowd of parishoners.

At the climax of the event, in front of the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, white doves are released and soar up into the air. This year they stopped around long enough to form a rather neat triangle for my image.

(C) 2007, Peter Marshall
Release of the doves, Clerkenwell, July 2007

At extreme left, the statue looks on, while the hands of the priests stretch up into the air, and the crowd behind cranes for a view. I was pleased to get this image, as it’s a tricky and rather unpredictable occasion, with everything happening rather fast.

Saint Veronica is said to be the patron saint of photographers (and laundry workers) as an image of Christ’s face remained on her towel after she wiped him with it as he was on his way to the crucifixion. Her day was a week or so earlier on July 12, but I have to admit I hadn’t prayed to her. But I certainly did a lot of praying on the day, if largely to St Ansel.

Incidentally, despite shooting this on a Nikon D200 which can shoot at 5 fps, I still took this on single shot mode, trusting my reflexes rather than motordrive to catch the precise moment. I’m happier working this way, though I suspect it may be rather less reliable.
It’s actually a great event to photograph, hard not to make some decent portraits, especially of the children. You can see my virtually ball by ball account at My London Diary.

Down in the Sagra or village fair, much Italian wine was being drunk and ice cream and food being eaten and various aspects of Italian culture being celebrated, including the argument. The cheap red wasn’t bad at a pound a cup on what we voted the best stall there.
(C) 2007, Peter Marshall
An animated discussion at the Sagra

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