A Swindon Photographers Experience of Election 2015

First off I want to say that this is not a political article and does not reflect where I stand and which way I voted, it is more about my experience as a freelance photographer in Swindon for the last couple of weeks leading up to Election Day. It has culminated in some 4 images in the Guardian, Sunday Times, The Sun and in a number of political blogs, and that is all of what I know about there could be others. With the exception of one image of the P.M. all were of Labour personalities.

It started off by my understanding of the fact that both Swindon South and North were marginal seats and that the major parties were going to send their ‘Big Guns’ down to help and support the campaign.
I had to sort of bully my way in to get on invite lists. I was not comfortable with this as it is not my style and it could have gone the wrong way and I could have ended up being excluded from everything. Fortunately persistence paid off and I got on the press lists.
Interestingly the Conservative campaign was being run from a central office whereas the Labour campaign was run from a local South West Office. I wanted to point this out as it turned out there was only one Conservative event whilst there was several Labour.

The Conservative Party decided to launch their party manifesto in Swindon. Which I attended and photographed. Security was very tight as not only David Cameron was there but most of the Cabinet and other MP’s from the South West. It was really interesting to say the least.
Apart from meeting Robert Buckland whilst out campaigning and at the poling station that was it for the Conservatives.

Labour were much better as once I was on the list then I got invited to everything that was going on in (mainly) South Swindon.
I ended up photographing Dan Jarvis, Tristram Hunt, Caroline Flint, Andy Burnham and Ed Miliband.
Anne Snelgrove was great, once she knew who I was and trusted me she made sure that at any shoots the ‘Big Gun’ posed for me and in some cases introduced me to them.

The Green party, Tony Hillier local campaign manager, I met by accident not by planning and so got invited to a couple of activities but very low key. Interestingly whilst I was sat in a local Cafe having coffee before meeting a Green Party activist who was going to cycle around The Magic Roundabout with a placard, I saw Talis Kimberly-Fairbourn the Green Party Candidate sat in the Cafe knitting and drinking coffee. This was the day before the election. (Shouldn’t she have been campaigning)?

I saw nothing of the Lib Dems or UKIP at all.

I really got to respect Anne Snelgrove,(Labour) and Robert Buckland,(Conservative). Not only were they very accommodating to me and my requests they both seemed very genuine, caring, hard working and committed to their respective causes and parties. Should I have been surprised, I don’t know but my experience was that they were really nice people and not ‘hard nosed politicians’ which the media can sometime have us believe. I would like to say a big thank you to both Anne and Robert.

Just one more little story which I am not sure how to take. Did I understand it correctly? Is this really what went on? Whilst photographing mainly Asian Labour supporters in a mainly Asian part of Swindon I found myself outside the Poling station, The Asian Liberal Democrat candidate was asked if he had voted for Labour (jokingly) and he answered yes, when asked further was he joking he said no. Begs the question, did he understand what he was being asked? Asian vote, family or politics, real understanding?? I am not sure.

Well, that is it for this Election 2015 and my experience of it. I can only look forward to the Referendum and photographing the campaign for it.

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South Swindon Hustings Election 2015

Like the previous night it was a nightmare photographing at the Hustings last night.

Last night it was the turn of the candidates for The South Swindon Seat. It was another interesting evening. There was a certain amount of heckling from the audience but it was all well behaved, no seats ripped up and thrown this time.

The candidate for South Swindon are Anne Snelgrove for Labour. Robert Buckland for Conservative. Damon Hooton Lib Dem, John Short UKIP and Talis Kimberley-Fairbourn for the Green Party.

David Cameron launches Conservative Party Manifesto in Swindon

Wow, what a morning. I was photographing at The Conservative Party Manifesto launch here in Swindon this morning.
It was presented by Prime Minister David Cameron but George Osborne and Theresa May both made speeches as well.
I have never seen so many famous faces in one place. The security must have been a nightmare. I think the whole of the Cabinet was there as was Samantha Cameron. Not only that, there were all of the famous journalists that I have only ever seen on TV. And I was in the media room with them.

Star struck, me nooooooo.

Swindon Regents Circus Progress

Every time I pass Regents Circus, which is quite a lot these days, it seems that the construction site and the building itself has doubled in size, it is really impressive how quickly the site is progressing. So as today has been such a gloriously sunny and warm day I thought I would take the camera and take a couple of shots. Now these are from outside the site as I do not have permission (yet) to go on site, but I am working on that one.
However it is balanced out by the really old part of the Old College which is a lovely old building and will be preserved but as yet nothing has been done and it just looks very sad. However it is far more photogenic (in my opinion) than the new one at this point in time. And so I ended up taking more shots of the old building than the new. What I would give to go and have a wander around inside the building as it is before the developer gets in there and it all changes.

Halloween comes early to Swindon

Halloween came early to Swindon today. Staff and musicians at That’s Entertainment Music and Video Store in Swindon all dressed up in spooky costumes to entertain customers. I was really pleasantly surprised by how much effort into the clothes and makeup they had made, in my opinion they looked really really good. The music fest was arranged and sponsored by Alan Homes of Homes Music. Well done Alan and well done That’s Entertainment.

Swindon Farmers Market Returns

Well for a number of reasons I have not blogged for a while. I have been in Spain for a couple of weeks and since being back I have carried out some photo shoots that I am not contractually allowed to use yet. But I am back now and will be blogging again on a more regular basis.

This shoot was for and about the first day of the return of the Farmers Market in Swindon. The market has not been held for about a year and was greatly missed. The market has now been reinstated and will be held every Thursday from now on.
It was interesting from my point of view as the stall holders were very friendly and happy to pose but it was so good to see how positive they were about the economy and the future. The bread sold out in the first few hours and the vegetables were not far behind either. I had heard that generally people are starting to spend a little more on quality rather than quantity and from what I could see they could be right.

So get yourself down there on Thursdays and get not just fresh but really tasty (yes I did try everything whilst I was there)!!! fruit, veg, bread etc.

Bristol Save the NHS and Anti Austerity Protest March

Today I spent a few hours in Bristol at the Save The NHS and Anti Austerity Measures protest march and rally. There were a good few hundred protestors from various groups including The Radical Bloc, Save The NHS, many of the Trades Unions and other supporters. It was quite a loud march but peaceful and good natured and included The Radical Bloc Group stopping outside of Primark to protest and show their solidarity with the Bangladesh workers who ae suffering quite a lot at the moment, well probably all the time to be honest!!

This is just a small selection of all of my images which if anybody is interested more can be found at http://www.DEMOTIX.com or
please feel free to contact me directly.

Swindon when one door shuts another door opens…….

Well, this post just reflects what I believe to be true in life in general.

Today a new store opened in Swindon Town Centre. Peacocks the clothing retailer opened up a new store. Nice and clean and warm, with plenty of stock and nice staff. Whilst only a few doors down HMV is closing down, selling off all of it’s stock at hugely discounted prices. What a shame for not just the staff that work there but for Swindon Town.

I believe in progress and new technology and the internet etc but I also do not want to see the High Street become a ghost town and I will support it as much as I can. However what I do believe in is:-

When one door shuts another one opens …..

Swindon Launch of Verelogic IT Recruitment Company

Another of my jobs last week was the Launch Party for the New Company Verelogic IT Recruitment. I think I have it right in saying that Verelogic IT Recruitment is a sister company of the well established Verelogic IT company that has been in Swindon for 20 years now. For me not only was it a lovely party well organized by the event coordinator Kirsty Heber-Smith but it shows that all is not doom and gloom in the economy. New things are happening, companies are springing up here in Swindon, jobs are out there for the taking, Swindon economy isnt all bad news and depression. In fact all of the people that I talk to in small businesses are quite positive at the moment.
Just to temper my enthusiasm I do know that there are major companies here that are laying people off right left and centre. I have friends who have been made redundant recently and are being made redundant. But it all seems to be the big major companies who do not seem to be able to manage themselves properly. Smaller companies to me, seem to be far more efficient and effective in what they are doing and therefore quite a few are growing and employing.

Well done to Verelogic IT Recruitment. Keep it up.

Republic Retail Clothing Stores May Be Going into Administration

republic clothing store

republic clothing store

republic clothing store

republic clothing store

It is generally thought that the Republic Retail Clothing Chain will be going into Administration tomorrow (Wednesday 13th). Country wide this could mean up to 1000 job losses including those in Swindon. These two images are of the Swindon Branch of Republic clothing and despite when I was taking these images there seemed to be a fairly good and steady foot fall through the store, countrywide the trading figures are poor and from what I can see the trade seem to think that the clothing chain will be going into administration.

Watch this space I guess.