Posts Tagged ‘costumes’

XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession

Saturday, July 2nd, 2022

Carmen leads the XR Carbon Procession at Hyde Park Corner

Extinction Rebellion had obviously put in a lot of thought and effort into their Carmen’s Carbon Procession on July 2nd, 2019, and there were quite a few photographers and videographers who came to photograph it. Doubtless all of us filed our pictures with the agencies or publications, but I don’t know how many got published. Probably the only pictures used came from later in the day when they ended the event with a protest in Trafalgar Square close to where a large audience had gathered to watch the opera.

Protests in the UK seldom get reported, unless they result in considerable disruption, violence or involve celebrities behaving badly. So far as most editors are concerned they are not ‘news’. Of course much of the press and media is owned by a small group of billionaires whose interests those editors have to bear in mind even where there is not explicit direction. But more generally they operate under a general restraint of upholding the status quo and from their personal position as part of the well paid middle class – something which has been very apparent in the coverage of the recent RMT strikes.

But overall Extinction Rebellion have done much to bring the climate crisis into a wider public consciousness, and I applaude them for this even if I agree with some of their left and anarchist critics. And perhaps an opera-based protest exemplifies the middle-class nature of the organisation. But mobilising such a large middle-class movement is certainly an acheivement, and many of their harshest critics are those who have failed to mobilise more than a tiny fraction of the working class. Though nothing at the moment suggests that XR’s efforts will result in any of the decisive action needed to be anything but too little too late.

Relatively few people actually see protests on the streets, and most who do are too intent on getting on with their life, shopping or hurrying to meetings or to catch trains to take much notice. Much of XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession in any case took part on fairly empty back streets and it was more an event staged for the media than a protest.

The protest took place on the day that BP, a company which began life in 1909 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Ltd, a part of our imperial exploitation of Iran’s vast oil reserves was greenwashing its polluting and climate-damaging activities through sponsorship of a Royal Opera House performance of Carmen to be relayed to 13 BP giant screens in major cities across the UK.

An opera singer performs a little from Carmen

It toured the offices of oil companies belonging to the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) urging them to abandon the pretence they can combat global warming without a huge cut in oil production and delivering copies of the Extinction Rebellion Handbook ‘This is Not A Drill’.

As well as Carmen in costume, there was a fine opera singer and a group of musicians, XR drummers to draw attention to the event and a team who marked out the company offices as crime scenes.

The procession found a floral arch in Grosvenor Square

The event met on Ebury Bridge before marking to perform in front of the nearby offices of Italian petroleum company ENI, on an otherwise rather empty street in Pimlico. They then moved on for another performance on a busy lunchtime street corner in Eccleston Square and then the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) close to Victoria Station. By then they needed a rest in Hyde Park before going through Mayfair to the offices of Saudi Aramco at 10 Portman Square.

And an illegally parked symbol of the kind of extreme wasteful consumption that has got the planet in such a mess

It had taken them around three and a half hours to get there, and I decided I’d taken enough pictures and was getting tired. But probably the parts of the event more likely to be featured as news in the UK were to come. Their next planned performance was outside BP in St James’s Square, from where they were going on to protest close to the giant screen in Trafalgar Square, hoping to make clear to the audience there that the Royal Opera House should end their greenwashing sponsorship by BP.

Security at Saudi Aramco take a copy of the XR Handbook ‘This is not a Drill’

More at XR Carmen’s Carbon Procession


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade

Thursday, March 17th, 2022

Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade

Brent is the London Borough with the largest Irish population and there are also significant numbers in the neighbouring boroughs of Camden and Islington and Hammersmith & Fulham, with Kilburn and Willesden Green being the in particular having large populations of Irish descent,

Brent St Patrick's Day Parade
St Patrick, Willeden Green, 2007

So it was hardly surprising that Willesden Green for some years had its own St Patrick’s Day procession, held on the day itself, March 17th, as well as the London celebration begun in 2002 when Ken Livingstone was Mayor on the nearest Sunday. Labour Brent also celebrated days for some of its other communities until recently cuts in funding from a Tory dominated central government made this no longer possible.

Willeden Green, 2007

The parade in Brent was on a smaller and friendlier scale than the London parade, and far more a community festival on the street, with others as well as the Irish joining in and having a good time.

St Patrick, Willesden Green, 2008

The multi-cultural nature of Brent was clear in that the parade began outside an Islamic Cultural Centre and those taking part included many local school-children from a whole mix of heritages. Brent as well as St Patrick’s Day also then celebrated Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Chanukah and Navrati, and Holocaust Memorial Day, along with a black history programme, its own ‘Respect’ festival and a world food and music festival.

Willesden Green, 2008

St Patrick blesses the photographer, Willesden Green, 2009

But it was very clearly an Irish event, with Irish people from all across London coming to watch and take part, both in the parade and in the various pubs and bars along the route.

Willesden Green, 2009

Some of the floats in the parade were also in the main London St Patrick’s Day parade, but the atmosphere here was much more relaxed. Here are a few pictures that I made from 2009-2013.

Willesden Green, 2009
Willesden Green, 2010
Willesden Green, 2010
Willesden Green, 2010
Willesden Green, 2010
Willesden Green, 2011
Willesden Green, 2012
Two St Patricks, Willesden Green, 2012
Willesden Green, 2012
Willesden Green, 2013

In 2013, the event was much smaller as council funding had been cut, thanks to Tory austerity policies. And because St Patricks Day that year was on the Sunday, the celebration in Brent was held a day earlier so not to clash with the London parade.

I think this was the last St Patrick’s Day Parade in Brent – certainly it was the last I photographed. You can see many other pictures from Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade on My London Diary

Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade 2007 (scroll down the page)
Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade 2008
Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade 2009
Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade 2010
Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade 2011
Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade 2012
Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade 2013


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Notting Hill Carnival 2006

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

Children’s Day 2006

I’d missed Carnival in 2005 for the first year since 1990. I’d tried to get there despite a painful knee injury a few days earlier, but had had to abandon the journey; the quarter mile walk from home to railway station ending with me collapsing in pain and deciding it just wasn’t possible.

Children’s Day 2006

By 2006 I had a considerably improved camera, the Nikon D200, still DX APS-C format (Nikon were still adamant it was all you needed) but with a hugely improved viewfinder and 10.2Mp. And a rather wider range of lenses, though for carnival I only took the remarkably versatile Nikon 18-200mm zoom (equivalent to 27-300mm). Looking at the full-size images its hard to fault the lens quality, though it had more distortion than prime lenses, but this was of no consequence for these pictures.

Notting Hill Carnival 2006

The other big change was in processing software. Pixmantec had brought out its ‘Raw Shooter’ software and it was streets ahead of anything else. So good that Adobe had just bought out the company as it couldn’t face the competition. Even though this gave them the Pixmantec raw processing engine it was some years and several versions of Lightroom later that reached a similar level.

Notting Hill Carnival 2006

As in most years I went to Notting Hill on both the Sunday – Children’s Day – and the Bank Holiday Monday for the Carnival proper. I’d photographed the Sri Mahalakshmi Temple Chariot Festival earlier on Sunday, as well as taking a few pictures around Stratford, so I didn’t arrive until after 2pm on the first day, and for some reason I only put a few of the pictures on My London Diary. But there are rather more from Monday, and I’d decided to concentrate more on the actual procession than in most earlier years.

Notting Hill Carnival 2006
Notting Hill Carnival 2006

More pictures on My London Diary.


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.


Notting Hill Carnival 2003

Monday, August 30th, 2021

Notting Hill 2003

2003 was the first year I photographed Notting Hill Carnival using a DSLR, a Nikon D100. It was primitive by current standards with a small, dim viewfinder image and on 6.1Mp with a half-frame size sensor. Nikon at the time swore that what they called the APS-C sensor was all that you needed for a professional digital camera, and although they were right, later brought out ‘full-frame’ cameras to keep up with the Canons and others in what was really a marketing rather than technology led decision.

Notting Hill 2003

I’d switched to Nikon for the D100 but was still also using various Leica mount film cameras as well as occasionally my pair of Olympus OM4 cameras for both of which I still had a range of lenses from 15mm to 90mm for Leica and 21 to 200mm for Olympus. But for the Nikon all I had was a 24-80 zoom, bought largely because it was one of the cheapest Nikon lenses available. On the smaller sensor this was equivalent to 36-120mm full-frame, so meant I was working with no really wide lens.

Notting Hill 2003

The colour quality of these images is also rather limited, not by the camera but mainly by the raw processing software then available and also by my relative inexperience in using it. If I have time one day I will find the raw files from my backup disks and reprocess them. But although I think they are a little drab I think they still show the carnival spirit.

Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003
Notting Hill 2003

And here’s just one I rather like from the following year – by which time I and the processing software had improved a little.

Notting Hill 2004

More at the bottom of the August 2003 My London Diary Diary page
And for those from August 2004.


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.


Notting Hill Colour – 1993

Saturday, October 17th, 2020
Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1993 93c8-nh-007-positive_2400

Although almost all the pictures I took at Notting Hill Carnival in 1993 were in black and white, I did make a few colour images, and here are a small selection.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1993 93c8-nh-008-positive_2400

Almost all of them were of the procession, and I think taken in a fairly short period of time, mainly on Ladbroke Grove.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1993 93c8-nh-019-positive_2400

I tried to cut my equipment to a minimum for carnival, partly to make it easier to move through the crowds, but also because I was just a little worried about taking what looked like camera bags full of expensive equipment to the event. And I wanted to be able to dance as I took pictures.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1993 93c8-nh-022-positive_2400

Instead of a normal camera bag, I took a small khaki canvas ex-army shoulder bag which I still use today when I want to travel light, issued in 1942 possibly for a gas mask, large enough to take a camera, one or two spare lenses, a decent supply of film, notebook, water bottle and a few oddments, which back in those days would usually include a Mars Bar for when my energy lagged, and sometimes a sandwich or two.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1993 93c8-nh-027-positive_2400

Probably when I saw some particularly attractive and colourful costumes and had finished a black and white film I picked a colour one to reload the camera – probably my Minolta CLE, a rather superior second version of the Leica CL which for some obscure reason Leitz decided not to put their name on, ending their collaboration with Minolta. I then took pictures quickly to finish the film so I could get back to my real work using black and white. I think that happened a couple of times on Children’s Day, but on the Monday I concentrated on more serious black and white work.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1993 93c8-nh-034-positive_2400

In crowds I always made sure to put the shoulder strap over my head and on one shoulder and hold the bag on my stomach so as not to get caught up behind me. I always kept the camera on a strap around my neck too. But generally the crowds were good-natured and in high spirits and I had no trouble taking pictures.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1993 93c8-nh-031-positive_2400

Just once, in the centre of a heaving crowd of dancers in front of a sound system I suddenly realised that someone had put their hand into my left trouser pocket. I grabbed it and held it there protesting, and slowly pulled it out to reveal it holding a wallet. But it wasn’t mine (I’d left that at home) and of course it had no money in it. I’m not sure why he was planting it on me, but pushed it back into the hand I was still firmly holding and told the guy to eff off and he ran off pushing through the crowd. It didn’t seem the place to investigate further.

More pictures on page 6 of my Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s on Flickr.


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.


Carnival 1991 in colour

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

In 1991 I photographed Carnival in both black and white and in colour. I went on both days, but I think it was only on Sunday, the Children’s Day, that I took any colour pictures. Nearly all were taken on Ladbroke Grove as the floats and groups went down, often stopping for quite long periods.

I’ll post a few pictures here, but there are quite a few in the album, Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s, starting at this one if you want to see more.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-036-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-070-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-073-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-083-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-099-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-120-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, London, 1991 91c8-nh-152-positive_2400

The picture above is the last colour image from 1991 in the album.


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.


More Carnival 1990

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

A few more colour pictures from Notting Hill Carnival in 1990 – there are more on page 5 of the Flickr album.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-31-positive_2400

This was the first year I went to Carnival, and set a pattern I followed in most years, taking the train from Hammersmith to Westbourne Park station, arriving around the middle of the day, before things really got going then walking along to All Saints Rd and photographing around there and Talbot Rd and the surrounding streets.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990  90c8-04-11-positive_2400

Later I’d walk up Portobello Rd and under the Westway and take pictures in the north of the area where the streets were less busy and I could still move around. I found the procession route in the south of the area very crowded and impossible for my kind of photography.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-14-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-25-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-2-positive_2400

I think all these colour pictures were taken on the Sunday – Children’s Day, and that on Monday I worked only in black and white. Most of the pictures I made of the actual procession were on Ladbroke Grove.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-3-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, Notting HIll, 1990 90c8-04-5-positive_2400

If you want to look at more, and at those from later years you can go to page 5 of Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s. Clicking on any of the pictures above will also take you to a larger version in this Flickr album.