Ooops..didn’t take me long to get behind with my posts…day late but here we go.
Monday: A very different Monday than usual. I met up with fellow Snapper and BPPA (British Press Photographer’s Association) Board member Chris Eades with a view to advancing our “Darkroom Project” in Stratford. Myself, Chris, Jeff Moore, Andrew Baker and Ian Vogler have rented a space at “Stratford Workshops ” which we are converting to a traditional darkroom. Proper film developing and printing. It’s still a little way off but when we are up and running we will be having lots of fun. The smell of ‘fixer’ is one that you never forget. So far we’ve just dropped kit off and had it ‘blacked out’. My mate Chi Chan former Telegraph Picture Desk fella in his new profession of plumber is helping us out with the waterworks, so to speak. See if you recognise anything from the pictures..
Obviously we’ll put the last panel up on the window before ripping the film cassettes open..
Shooting film is a world away from shooting Digital. I stopped in 1997. I do however like to have a roll in one of my FM2’s. Shooting without a motordrive makes you watch what you are doing. You don’t just spray and pray. You choose your moment and ‘take a photograph’. It’s a very different process….up to a point.
Tuesday: Did the ritual 8.30am phone-call to the Picture Desk. If you are unassigned it’s what you do. Still nothing to go on.
At about 10ish I get a call from the desk. There’s a big story about GCSE’s being regraded at The High Court, “No idea what it will make picture-wise but it’s the lead story on all the news bulletins and at conference”
Fair call, sometimes you just have to take a run at these things. As I was parking in one of the most expensive spots in London (£17.70 for four hours) the desk called again, the pictures of the relevant people arriving had dropped already, I’d missed it. I snooped around the coffee shops of Fleet Street until I found the motley crew that had covered the story. We had a tea or two then wandered back to watch the ‘outs’ at lunchtime. It never made a picture but we happened across a large group of Ghurkas . They were appealing against a previous judgement about the rights to citizenship in the UK of their descendents. Not a lot of interest words wise but it made a couple of nice frames.
Wednesday: George (Gideon) Osborne’s ‘Autumn Statement on the Economy’. It’s like the budget but there is no red box and no photo-call outside number 11 Downing Street. We were hoping for a picture of him leaving Downing Street at least, but he snuck off out a different exit. What we did see for our 7.30 start was four trolley loads of drinks and glasses arriving at Number 11..No austerity measures for the party there it seems. Amazingly even got it published.
Thursday : I was on Royal Rota duty. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were visiting The Bank of England. To be honest it all sounded a bit boring. I’d speed read the job-sheet and managed to miss the bit about them visiting the vault. The Bank’s Press guy was brilliant. Friendly, helpful and very switched on. We had a walk through of the whole visit right up to the bit where they entered The Vault. Whoever was meant to show us round that bit had not turned up. They promised it would be sorted by the time the TRH’s arrived. I asked sheepishly if there would be a chance to photograph the Queen with some of the Gold reserves. Could you see any bullion in there. The answer was “As far as the eye can see”.
The arrivals were fine . A bit of a row with The Palace people about being moved on too soon and missing pix. I got barked at by one of their chaps for complaining and barked right back. It was a ‘solo’ Rota. I was the only photographer for all the Newspapers and Wire Services.I pointed this out .
The ‘Rota’ system is a bit strange. Despite owning the copyright on the images I shot, the pictures are accessible by everyone in the ‘Rota’ system. Fair enough for Wire Services with subscribers to supply, but I find it bordering on taking the piss that everyone takes the photographs and ignoring all copyright laws sells the pictures worldwide . They sometimes even strip them of the copyright holder information and on many occasions actually re-byline themselves as the photographer.
Ah well, it did make some nice frames and it was used well all over the place. I’ve put a selection of the pictures on here and a selection of the cuttings, probably the most usage I’ve had this year apart from maybe the Jubilee.
Most papers used the same picture.
Friday: Friday was never going to beat Thursday. I started off with a trip to Regent’s Park to photograph two reunited Black Swans on Queen Mary’s park lake. An apparent ‘Love story’. Swans mate for life and these two had fallen out and split up. They’d then gone looking for each other… lovely story. Coincidentally the Park has just had a major refurbishment so it was great this other far more interesting event had happened to draw the press in. It was wet and cold and only myself and Glenn Copus from The Evening Standard turned out to photograph the ‘lovebirds’.
It didn’t publish in the Daily Telegraph but that was for obvious reasons. I did a features rush job in East London following the Swan shoot. It was a job that needed a day and it was needed in a couple of hours. It didn’t work. Illustrating multicultural diversity in Newham is a tricky enough assignment, let alone on a Friday afternoon when it is raining stair-rods.
It didn’t matter in the end. One of those all too familiar tragedies was unfolding across the Atlantic.
Events in America overtook everything this day.