Posts Tagged ‘procession’

11 October 2008

Monday, October 11th, 2021

It was the start of the final 100 days of the Bush adminstration and the ‘Hands off Iraqi Oil’ coalition whose members included Corporate Watch, Iraq Occupation Focus, Jubilee Iraq, PLATFORM, Voices UK, and War on Want and was supported by the Stop the War Coalition and others had come to Shell’s UK headquarters at Waterloo to protest against plans by Britain and the USA for Iraq to hand over most of the country’s oil reserves to foreign companies, particularly Shell and BP.

Iraq had nationalised its oil by 1972, and it provided 95% of its government income. Many had seen the invasion of Iraq by the US and UK (along with Australia and Poland) as largely driven by the desire to gain control of Iraq’s huge oil reserves and the US had engaged consultants to help it write a new oil law which it got the Iraqi cabinet to approive in 2007 which would give foreign oil companies – including Shell and BP, long-term contracts within a safe legal framework. But large-scale popular opposition meant the Iraqi parliament failed to approve the new law. But in June 2008, the Iraqi Oil Ministry went ahead with short-term no-bid contracts to the major foreign oil companies – including Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Total and Chevron and later these and other contracts were made more favourable to the oil companies.

After the protest at Shell’s offices the protesters marched to protest outside the BP HQ in St James’s Square and then to the US Embassy, and I left to cover the London Freedom not fear 2008 event outside New Scotland Yard. Similar protests were taking place in over 20 countries to demonstrate against excessive surveillance by governments and businesses, organised by a broad movement of campaigners and organizations.

The London event highlighted the restrictions of the right to demonstrate under the Labour government’s The Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005, (SOCPA),, the intimidatory use of photography by police Forward Intelligence squads (FIT), the proposed introduction of ID cards, the increasing centralisation of personal data held by government, including the DNA database held by police, the incredible growth in surveillance cameras, ‘terrorist’ legislation and other measures which have affected our individual freedom and human rights.

For something completely different I walked a quarter of a mile down Victoria Street to Westminster Cathedral where people were assembling for the Rosary Crusade of Reparation, one of the larger walks of public witness by Catholics in London.

This tradition began in Austria in 1947 with the roasary campaign begun by a priest praying for his country to be freed from the communist occupiers. The first annual parade with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima took place in 1948 in Vienna on the feast of the Name of Mary, Sept 12, which had been established by Pope Innocent XI in 1683 when Turkish invaders surrounding Vienna were defeated by Christian armies who had prayed to the Blessed Virgin.

As the procession to a service at Brompton Oratory began I walked back up Victoria St to Parliament Square, where a number of other small protests were in evidence. All over the centre of London there were people giving out leaflets about the growing problems faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka, where they allege a program of ethnic cleansing is being carried out by the government. International media are banned from the Tamil areas of the country and NGOs have been ordered out of some areas, so there are few reports of the war. Worse was to come and in 2009 in the final stages of the war conservative estimates are that 70,000 civilians were killed in the the Mullivaikkal massacre.

Others in the square were protesting against the UK’s scandalous treatment of asylum seekers and calling for the asylum detention centres to be closed down.

Brian Haw was still there, and I wrote:

Facing Parliament, Brian Haw‘s peace protest continues – he has been there for almost 2700 days – over 7 years – and it will soon be his 60th birthday. Brian says that now the police seem to have largely abandoned attempts to get rid of him legally there have been a number of odd attacks against him and others in the square – which the police have ignored. I took some time talking to a man who smelt of alcohol, was talking nonsense and acting unpredictably – and who then went and started to insult Brian. One of the other demonstrators stood between him and Brian who was filming him. I put down my bag as I took photographs in case I needed to step in and help, but fortunately he eventually moved away.

There were others protesting in Parliament Square, including one man who asked me to take his picture. He told me his name was Danny and that he had been there on hunger strike for two weeks, protesting over his failure to get his case investigated. He claimed to have been abused by police and social services following an incident in which as a seven year old child in Llanelli he was implicated in the death of a baby brother. I was unable to find any more information about his case.

Finally I saw a group of people walking past holding leafelts with the the word CHANGE on them and rushed after them to find they were Obama supporters hoping to persuade Americans they met to register and vote in the election. It was time for me to go home.

Parliament Square
Rosary Crusade of Reparation
Freedom not Fear 2008
Bush & Cheney’s Iraq Oil Grab


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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



Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Most years around this time I would be enjoying an afternoon in Clerkenwell, with the area thronged with Italians and people of Italian descent enjoying their major London festival, the procession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the area around St Peter’s Italian Church. These pictures are from Sunday 21 July 2013, eight years ago.

When Queen Victoria gave the procession special permission to take place in 1883, it was the first Roman Catholic event on English streets for 349 years and was doubtless rather a contentious event. The Popery Act of 1698 had made discrimination against Catholics official, and when the Papists Act of 1778 relaxed some of these restrictions it led to a week of intense riots in London, with the Catholic Chapels at foreign embassies being burnt down and attacks on Newgate Prison and the Bank of England before the army was sent in to stop the destruction. After that things got rather quieter, though we still celebrate with what was very much an anti-Catholic bonfire on November 5th each year.

The celebrations now are very much both a religious and cultural event, and along with the procession from the church there is also an Italian festival or Sagra in the street below the church, with traditional Italian food, music, dancing and wine.

I’m not sure if the wine improves my photography, but it’s hard to resist and I usually meet up with a few of my photographer friends and it is as much a social as a photographic occasion. But I always try to photograph the religious procession, and in particular the release of doves which has become the highlight of the event. In 2013 six doves were released by six of the first communicants in a slightly uncoordinated manner, and – as the top picture shows – didn’t really fly in a way that made a good picture, at least not for me. It’s always a rather unpredictable event.

The rest of the procession follows in a more predictable fashion, though it has changed a little over the 20 or so years I’ve photographed it. But as often with processions most of the more interesting photographs come before the actual event, and while I stay taking photographs until the end of the procession has moved off down the road, my photographer friends are probably back down in the Sagra, while most of the crowd is up on the street applauding the walking groups and floats.

The route has changed since I first began to photograph the event, perhaps to make things a little easier for those carrying the heavy statues, though I think some of the floats had problems in the narrow streets to the south of the church in Hatton Garden. It now sticks to the main roads, in a triangle down Clerkenwell Road, up Rosebery Ave and back down Farringdon Rd. At its rear are the clergy and a large group of parishoners, but most of those watching are long back down drinking and eating before the procession finished.

I didn’t feel my photographs from 2013 were as good as on some other years, but they do tell the story of the event. You can see more of them at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Links to the festival in some other recent years on My London Diary: 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019


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.


Cake, Yacht and Dodo

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

The cake came outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) where PCS members who work as cleaners and catering workers were beginning the first ever indefinite strike at a government ministry, demanding they be paid the London Living Wage, and get decent conditions of employment.

It was the third anniversary of the founding of the BEIS, and also the third anniversary of the campaign to get the workers there decent pay and to be employed directly by the BEIS, rather than outsourcing companies ISS and Aramark whose only concern is cutting costs to the bone by exploiting the workers so they can undercut competitors for the contracts and make profits at the workers’ expense.

A crowd of around a hundred supporters was there to cheer the strikers when they came out of the BEIS to begin their strike and there were speeches from trade unionists including PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, and UCU’s Jo Grady as well as then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP and some of the BEIS workers. I did manage to get a piece of the cake before I had to leave for the Royal Courts of Justice.

Extinction Rebellion had brought the yacht to to court to begin their ‘Summer Uprising’, another series of protests in five major cities against the criminal inaction by the government on climate and ecological collapse. The yacht was named Polly Higgins after the Scottish barrister who fought for years for an Ecocide Law and had died of cancer 3 months earlier, only 50.

When I arrived some kind of new age ceremony was taking place with people bringing water from across the country to pour into a large bowl and a Druid celebrant in long white robes. It’s one of the kind of things that makes it hard for many to take XR seriously as a movement.

But of course it is serious and the crisis that we face is existential. An ecocide law would be a powerful way to restrain some of the worst excesses of companies that are driving us to extinction. There were some good speeches at the event, with some very clear thinking, but also a few which made me cringe a little.

Eventually it was time to march, with the pink Dodo and the yacht, making our way across the river towards Waterloo where XR was to set up a camp on Waterloo Millenium Green.

There really is a climate and ecological emergency, with too many species going the way of the dodo, and we do need governments to tell the truth and make real and difficult actions to halt what seems an inevitable slide into irreversible heating which will make the world uninhabitable for many species, probably including our own. It’s time to end the kind of lip-service which has our government setting targets long into the future while ramping up disastrous policies like Heathrow expansion, road-building and coal mines.

The yacht went with them at the back of the procession, which halted for some time to block Waterloo Bridge, remembering the many arrests there in the previous XR protests, before continuing. It was then stopped by police on Waterloo Rd, causing far more rush hour traffic chaos than necessary by completely blocking the Waterloo roundabout. Eventually they were allowed to continue and occupy the green space they were heading for, but by that time I had left and walked into Waterloo station to catch my train home.

XR Summer Uprising procession
XR call for Ecocide Law
BEIS workers begin indefinite strike


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.


St George

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

The details of the life and death of St George (as you can read in Wikipedia) are recorded in accounts dating back to around 1600 years ago, though details vary and the Pope in 494 CE who officially made him a saint called him one of those “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God.

According to the early texts, George was born in Cappadocia, now a part of Turkey, where his father came from, but his mother was a Palestinian Christian. Cappadocians were generally historically regarded as Syrians, though St George’s family are usually said to be of Greek descent. St George became, like his father, a Roman soldier, becoming a member of the elite Praetorian Guard, and was beheaded in the eastern capital of the Roman Empire on 23 April 303CE, 1718 years ago, during Emperor Diocletian’s purge of Christians who refused to recant the faith.

His behaviour and suffering apparently convinced one prominent Roman woman, Empress Alexandra of Rome, possibly the Emperor’s wife – to become a Christian – and to share his fate. The purge failed to have its intended result, and around 21 years after George’s execution, Christianity became the preferred religion in the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine.

George’s body was buried in Lydda in Palestine and Christians there soon became to regard him as a martyr. Some legends say that his martyrdom resulted in the conversion of not just the Emperors’s wife but 40,900 other pagans.

The dragon came along considerably later, only appearing in legends around 700 years after his death, apparently terrorising the city of Silene in Libya, which there is no evidence that St George ever visited. The dragon in my picture above, from a St George’s Day procession in Southwark, seems to have come from Chinatown. But dragons can fly.

The traditional patron saint of England was the last king of Wessex, Edward the Confessor who died in 1066, and it was only in 1552 that as a part of the English Reformation that St George officially became the only saint recognised in England, although along with various other countries English armies adopted him during the crusades and in our battles with the French in the Hundred Years War from 1337-1453. Surprisingly we didn’t drop St George although we lost rather badly.

St George’s Day remains an official feast celebrated by the Church of England, usually, though not always, on April 23, as Easter sometimes interferes. Rather more is made of it by some other countries and churches.

The St George’s cross, widely used by football supporters and right-wing extremists in England, comes from the 10th century in the city of Genoa in Italy, becoming used in England in 1348 when Edward III founded the Order of the Garter and made St George its patron saint. It has never been officially adopted as the national flag, though now widely used as such. It is of course a component of many other flags, including the UK’s national flag.

Over the years I’ve photographed many different celebrations of St George’s Day in and around London, and the pictures come from a few of these in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2016.

2005 St George’s Day
2009 St George & the Dragon
2009 England Supporters,Trafalgar Square
2009 The George Inn, Southwark
2009 The Lions part: St George & the Dragon
2009 St George’s Day – Trafalgar Square
2011 St George’s Day in London
2016 St George in Southwark Procession
2916 St Georges Day in London


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.


Arbaeen – 7 Feb 2010

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

One side of my work on London that has perhaps been overlooked, certainly in my posts on this site, is the coverage of religious festivals. Of course not all are public events and most of my work has been on the streets, but there are many processions and similar events that I’ve been able to photograph, mainly by Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims.

Some of these have been taking place in London for many years – such as the annual procession from the Italian Church in Clerkenwell which dates back to the Victoria era, while others have only come here as London has become more multicultural with the arrival here of many from our former colonies. But we have also seen a revival of some older traditions in more recent years, for example with more Christian processions of faith on Good Fridays, as well as the importation of Christian events from other countries and such as the annual blessing of the River Thames.

One of the larger and more colourful of these annual festivals is the Arbaeen procession of mourning by Shia Muslims organised in London by the Hussaini Islamic Trust UK since 1982, the largest and oldest such event in Europe.

It commemorates the sacrifice made by the grandson of Mohammed, Imam Husain, killed with his family and companions at Kerbala in 680AD and takes place on the Sunday following the end of 40 days of mourning the martyrdom of Husain.

I’ve photographed this event on several occasions, and in 2010 I wrote:

Imam Husain is seen by Shia Muslims as making a great stand against the oppression of a tyrant and representing the forces of good against evil. Husain and his small group of supporters were hugely outnumbered but chose to fight to the death for their beleifs rather than to compromise. Their stand is a symbol of freedom and dignity, and an aspiration to people and nations to strive for freedom, justice and equality.

London Arbaeen Procession

You can see and read more about the procession, with its impressive silver and gold replicas of the shrines of Karbala, Zuljana, the horse of Imam Husain, its flags and banners, the re-enactment of the events by children, the prayers and recitations,

and the beating of breasts on My London Diary: London Arbaeen Procession.

You can also find pictures of the Arbaeen processions in March 2007, March 2008, February 2009, Jan 2011 and Jan 2012 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 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.


October 12th 2019

Monday, October 12th, 2020
Ian Hodson, National President of the Baker’s Union BFAWU speaking

I was back with Extinction Rebellion on Saturday 12th October 2019, beginning in a rather wet Trafalgar Square, where Trade unionists were holding a rally in driving rain to show their solidarity with Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strikers. It was raining hard enough to make it difficult to take pictures, with rain drops settling immediately on my lens filters as soon as I wiped them off with my chamois leather held in my left hand.

It’s hard to hold an umbrella and take photographs, though I did for some pictures, and sheltered under other people’s for others. But umbrellas both greatly restrict movement and also other people’s view and I don’t like to use one.

But Global Extinction was the only issue that campaigners were protesting about in Trafalgar Square, there were also a hundred or two campaigners from the 3 million organisation, EU residents living in the UK who were protesting against the promise broken by Vote Leave that “There will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present.” They had dressed for their protest in blue and yellow rain ponchos, highly suitable for the weather.

From Trafalgar Square I got on a bus to take me to Marble Arch. Although police had cleared XR from their road blocks and got the buses running, rain in London always results in slow-moving traffic, but the journey did give me time both to dry off a little myself and more importantly to clear most of the interior condensation which was misting up my lenses.

Extinction Rebellion’s main event was their ‘Strength in Grief ‘ procession on the Day of Indigenous Resistance marking the anniversary of Colombus’s landing in the Americas. It began with a number of speakers representing various communities across the world as well as others reflecting on both injustice and grief and the effects of global climate change already causing deaths and suffering across the Global South.

Fortunately the rain had eased off considerably, and had almost stopped by the time the rally ended and the march moved off down Oxford St, going to another rally outside the BBC who are largely failing in their duty to inform us about the threat of global extinction and the failures of our political systems to respond to it.

The campaigners marched on, but I’d had enough. I’d been working with my jacket open at the top so I could put my camera under it, but that meant the rain could get in around my neck, and after several hours I was rather cold and wet, and my lenses were steaming up again. I stopped close to Bond Street station and photographed the rest of the march – several thousand, many in interesting costumes – as it went along Oxford Street until the last marchers had passed me, then made my way down to the station.

Many more pictures from the three events on My London Diary:

XR Strength in Grief Procession
Brexit unfair for EU citizens
Trade Unionists join the Rebellion


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 1995

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020
Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1985 Peter Marshall 95-8-20-63_positive_2400

Notting Hill was in colour for me in 1995. Although I’d taken a few colour pictures in earlier years, this was the first year I decided to work entirely in colour – except for a few frames finishing a black and white film in one of my cameras.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1985 Peter Marshall 95-8-21-70_positive_2400

I’ve never really gone back to look at the colour pictures I took in earlier years – something now on my ‘to do list’, as the black and white interested me rather more. But I think I had been encouraged to cover the event in colour by one of my potential clients – not an actual commission, but a suggestion that they might be more interested in colour, and I’d thought it would be interesting to try and see if I could do the kind of things I’d already done in black and white.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1985 Peter Marshall 95-8-11-47-positive_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1985 Peter Marshall 95-8-11-37-positive_2400

It wasn’t of course the first time I’d worked in colour. I’d taken colour pictures for as long as I’d been involved in photography, alongside black and white, but generally of rather different subjects. I’d switched from using colour transparency to colour negative film ten years before I took these pictures, but still hadn’t really worked out a good system for dealing with the work. At first I’d had everything trade processed and getting enprints. It’s a good system for the occasional film such as holiday snaps, but when you get thousands of them it becomes a little difficult to organise.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1985 Peter Marshall 95-8-15-57-positive_2400

By 1985 I was developing my own colour films – along with the mainly chromogenic black and white films I was also using which could be developed in the same chemicals. Making contact sheets from colour negatives on colour paper was a little more difficult because I had to work in total darkness (or virtually so) and colour filters had to be used to expose them. The results were often not very useful, unlike those from black and white, and selecting images from them was rather hit and miss.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1985 Peter Marshall 95-8-18-55-positive_2400

Last week I digitised every frame of all 18 films I took at carnival in 1985 – around 670 pictures – batch processing the results to give a roughly balanced image, discovering quite a few pictures I had previously overlooked. Around a third were worth further processing, and after eliminating some near duplicates and a further round of culling I was left with around 140 I felt were worth adding to the album Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s. The colour work begins on page 3.

Notting Hill Carnival, London, 1985 Peter Marshall 95-8-18-60-positive_2400

None are great pictures, though I think all have some interest. As a whole I felt they backed up my decision to work mainly in black and white in other years. But while some are similar to my black and white pictures, others do show another view of carnival.


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.


Requiem For A Bee

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

Getting to Clissold Park in Stoke Newington isn’t the most convenient of London journeys, at least not if you are in a hurry. And having been at Euston to photograph the HS2 protest it took me a while to arrive there – the Underground to Manor Park, a bus ride and then a run (or rather a mixture of walking and running we used to call ‘Scout’s pace’) across the park.

But events were running late, and I was pleased and surprised to find that the funeral procession to Stoke Newington Town Hall that should have left just over 15 minutes earlier was only just forming up. And I had another 5 minutes to recover my breath before it finally moved off.

The bee in question was apparently the Red Girdled Mining Bee, previously found in Abney Park Cemetery was now extinct there due to loss of habitat with increasing development in Hackney. It was a local example of species extinction that is occurring on a huge scale world-wide as a result of human activities destroying ecosystems and increasingly from the changes in weather and climate from global heating due to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Although I could see the idea of concentrating on a small local example, I did rather wonder how clearly and powerfully it would communicate with the many citizens of Stoke Newington going about their daily business who saw the procession, though other aspects were clearer from many of the placards and banners. But Extinction Rebellion does sometimes seem to be a very much a highly successful movement of the educated middle class making relatively little connection with the bulk of the population.

After the funeral orations at the Town Hall, the procession and the coffin moved on down Stoke Newington Church St and up Stoke Newington High St to the wonderful Egyptian-style listed 1840s cemetery gates. It was a shame that the protest did not take greater advantage of the location and pose with their various banners and flags.

Rather it slid uneasily into the kind of new-age reflection and meditation that while it may appeal to some gets very much up my nose. As I commented on My London Diary, “Had I been protesting rather than photographing the event I would have left for a pint. ” I hung on hoping that something more interesting might happen, but it didn’t. While this aspect of XR may go down well with some I think it probably causes many to avoid it. But perhaps it’s just me.

More at Requiem for a Bee.


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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Friday, December 20th, 2019

London’s big Italian festival which takes place every July in the streets around St Peter’s Italian Church in Clerkenwell is alway an interesting event, and one that although it has changed over the years since I first photographed it in the 1990s, still retains much of the same atmosphere and feel.

I always enjoy both the procession and the festival that accompanies it, which is apparently a much more recent addition to the event. When the festival first began in the 19th century – and special permission was needed for this Catholic procession – the area around the church had a large Italian population.

Now that population has moved away, with many in the suburbs or outside London and Italian communities come to the event from places like Watford, Luton and Woking, and the Sagra provides them with something to eat and drink and to meet people they may only see once a year at the event. And to dance.

It also provides something of a day out for myself and a few photographer friends, who take advantage of the cheap and reasonably priced Italian wine and sometimes the food too. THough rather more the wine!

I was a little disappointed this year by the release of the doves, which for the last few years has been done by three clergy who were each given a dove to hold in their hands before releasing them more or less together. It was something they so obviously enjoyed. This year there were again three of the clergy, but all they did was stand behind the basket and watch as the lid was opened and the birds made their own way out.

It is always something of a challenge to capture the moment the doves fly, though I’ve usually managed to do so. It is of course made much easier with digital cameras, where you can use rapid sequences of exposures. Back in the days of film, few of us had motordrives, and we needed to wind on after each exposure. This meant you only had a single chance to get the picture, as by the time you had wound on the film the doves would usually have been high in the sky.

This year I took the picture with the Olympus E-M5MarkII using the 14-150mm lens at its widest setting, equivalent to 28mm. It was a bright sunny summer day and I set the camera to ISO 640 to get both a fast shutter speed to stop motion (1/400s) and a small aperture (f10) to get plenty of depth of field so that the background float with its statue of Our Lady would also be sharp. I say I set them, but in fact the camera was on ‘P’ setting and I simply checked it had suitable settings. As the moment approached I changed the camera into sequential shooting mode. I used the high setting which gives around ten frames a second.

One bird came out first and was several feet in the air before the other two emerged. The frame at the top of the post was my sixth and the last to show all three doves. There were I think 5 further frames with the last two doves, and the Exif data shows that I had taken 11 frames in just over a second. Using film I could have got at most two, though I would have hoped to get one that showed the peak of the action, I could well have missed it. Once the doves get going they can move extremely fast.

More pictures and text:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Sagra


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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.