Climate Reality

Together with several other photographers we spent some time looking for this protest – and met protesters who were also having the same problem, but finally we found it, not actually at Tate Modern where the Facebook event page had said, but hidden from there behind some greenery at the edge of the busy riverside path in front of the gallery. I think it had only just started, and certainly quite a few others arrived later than us, perhaps having had a similar problem to us. We’d actually walked close to it earlier on our way to the Tate, but it had been hidden on the edge of a larger crowd of tourists listening to some busking musicians.

Like many protests it was rather a matter of preaching to the converted, and there were some good and worthy speakers, but perhaps a little lacking in popular appeal, but it was a part of a worldwide action, and seems to have been set up mainly to provide a photograph to send to the international web site. At the end of the rally those at the protest came out of the bushes to stand in front of Tate Modern and be photographed from a high balcony looking down at the crowd, who had been asked to wear yellow for the event.

I hope the photographer on the balcony got a decent picture, though I suspect it wasn’t too impressive.

Certainly it didn’t work that well from the ground, though I did my best, trying to show we were in London by including St Paul’s in the background, but getting the whole crowd in needed a very wide angle of view and this made the cathedral rather small; it was only a little better when I cut off a few at the edges. There was a similar problem when the crowd were asked to turn through 180 degrees for a picture with the  former power station behind them, with its high brick wall and tall chimney.

Of course I’d been using St Paul’s in the background while I was taking pictures of the protest and the speakers, but a longer lens had made it more visible, though of course not showing the size of the crowd – a few hundred people. By the time they were invited to walk up onto the Millennium footbridge I think quite a few had decided to leave. Probably the best viewpoint was as they came up the slope, but they did so in dribs and drabs. And once on the bridge it was difficult to photograph them protesting along it. I lent out with my camera, strap wrapped securely around my arm and tried a few pictures, but framing was tricky as I couldn’t see either viewfinder or rear screen. The frame at the top of this post was my best effort, and I was quite pleased with it.

I then rushed down to ground level and took some more photographs. Again there was the problem of either showing the whole group with a fairly wide view which made them rather small, or of using a longer focal length and showing just a small section of the protesters. As you can see from my other pictures on My London Diary at Worldwide Rise for Climate the latter approach was probably better than the wider view above.

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : 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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