Emergency Alternative Parliament

I’ve photographed demonstrations organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change for around ten years, at first of course on film and now on digital. Often they’ve had some nice visual touches that make life easy for photographers – one of the earlier occasions I remember involved a rather attractive female ‘tiger’ being pushed through London on a bed, which was fine until the wheels fell off!

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
Tamsin, banner, greenhouse and Parliament. And a bus

But one thing that’s made life difficult for us in recent years is their trademark globe in a greenhouse. I’ve yet to find a sensible way to really use it in any photograph over the years, though it was less of a problem than usual.  It even sort of fits quite nicely into a few pictures, with the Houses of Parliament behind.

The demonstration was in Old Palace Yard, tucked in behind Westminster Abbey facing Parliament. It’s just a little frustrating that it’s almost impossible to see ‘Big Ben’ (or rather its clocktower)  from there, although I did manage to get the odd picture where it peeps around an edge.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
Big Ben can just be glimpsed from Old Palace Yard

But at least there were a few things to add visual interest, not least the ‘Green Queen’ who looked suspiciously like a mermaid I’ve often photographed. Tamsin Omand with her ‘Deeds Not Words’ sash and the ‘Speaker’ also added a little, although considerably less once he lost his wig. It’s apparently the most daring constitutional change our current government has yet made.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

Of course people are interesting, but it has to be said some more so than others, and trying to produce varied images from a succession of speakers can be hard. Some give photographers a tough time, keeping their eyes closed or looking down. You can see what I made of them – and other pictures from the event on My London Diary, as well as something about the purpose of the event. The banner in the second picture has a pretty good précis!

The lighting was interesting at times, with sunshine and showers, though unfortunately no rainbow in the right place (or anywhere else.) The rain was a bit a a nuisance, but fortunately all three lenses I was using have lens hoods that help a little, and the occasional wipe with a microfibre cloth kept cameras and filter free of drops.

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