Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Simon Weston Falklands War Veteran and disability campaigner. Along with Mike Penning Minister of State for Disabled People at the Swindon SEQOL Disability Confident Conference held at the Steam Museum. Both really nice guys to talk to, in fact everybody there was a pleasure to work with and talk to.
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.
Yesterday 28th April was Workers Memorial Day, where people who have either died or been injured in work related accidents or circumstances are remembered. The South West commemorated the day by holding a service at Bristol Cathedral followed by the laying of wreaths at the Workers Memorial. This was quite an important service as it was the first time that the service/meeting has been held inside a Cathedral and Bristol were rightly proud to allow this to happen. There were also some important speakers at the service. Amongst those who spoke were Michelle Stanistreet the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists and Dave Smith the head of the Blacklist Support Group, both very important and high profile figures. Dave Smith is heading up the fight against the illegal practice of Blacklisting. And if you are not sure what is going on there, then I suggest it is worth checking it out. It is something that could affect us all and is very quickly becoming a major major issue. Other speakers included Cannon Tim Higgins, Nigel Cotley of South West TUC, Julia Verne of the Public Service Health Observatory, Farzana Saker from Bristol Multi Faith Forum, Sam Maher from Labour behind the Label and Sally Challoner from BBC Points West.
So in my language it was all about being able to go to work in a safe environment and not one where you go to work in the morning and end the day in a body bag or in hospital. Isnt that a worthy cause???
Another small post from me again without a photo but hey thats ok.
I just wanted to say something about the NHS and the GWH (Great Western Hospital). I am sat here in my study thinking about what was on the news this morning all about how there is not enough front line staff (ie nurses) and that it is causing massive problems. Well I guess it must be true as they would not put it on the news, would they!!!!! but I would just like to say it wasnt my experience.
Firstly forget the fact that I was 6 months late in having my operation as that was an administrative problem of which I have still yet to get to the bottom of. Last thursday I went into the Great Western Hospital in Swindon to have my Gallbladder removed. I couldnt have got better service if I had have gone private. Right from the moment I walked in to the moment I left I found that what ever I needed was provided, there were the right amount of nurses, Dr’s,Consultants, anesthetist, cleaners, porters, and so on. I cannot fault the staff at all. I cant say it was a pleasant experience as I felt quite ill for a while after but it was a pleasant experience if you know what I mean. It wsnt exactly a one to one ratio but all I ever had to do was raise a hand or groan and there was somebody there to attend to my needs. And everything was done with a good heart, I only saw one grumpy nurse who refused to smile, all others were happy and friendly and seemed to enjoy their job. Now I have been on enough protests (photographing) to know that they are treated badly, poorly paid and so on but certainly my experience of last week was they did not let it affect their work.
However I do understand all the underlying issues that the NHS faces and that is for another time, I just wanted to say that I had a good experience with the NHS and the GWH. And if there are any Dr’s, nurses etc reading this, a big thank you from me.
Well no photo of Sunday anymore. Why? I have been carrying out quite a bit of research and despite it being only the 4th Sunday of the year I have decided to bin it because it is not providing any benefit to me or anybody else. Stats are showing very few hits on those posts and to be honest I can understand why. There is no theme and is therefore completely random and unless I am on another assignment then I am just taking an image just for the sake of it with very little thought behind it. With very little information around the photo, why it was taken etc then why would anybody actually be interested in reading it.
What I should be doing more of is explaining things and why I do them, how I do them etc.
So as a start, I did a small photo shoot this morning. It was only mug shots for the person to send off as part of his profile as part of a competition. It was carried out in a gym, (in the squash court to be precise) where lighting is just awful. And short of getting the flash and umbrellas out it was a case of the ISO at 3200 and hope for the best. I just did not feel happy with the results which prob will suffice for what it was for but I just did not feel satisfied. Which at the end of the day is what it is all about for me. I have to feel emotionally involved in what I am doing and I didnt. Is that true of all professional photographers? I dont want to just earn money and not feel as though I have not done a good job.
So this blog is going to go back to the Swindon News/Photojournalism and I am not going to try to combine other things with it.
Likewise I am going to re-design my website to provide a better experience, better show case for my better images from both the UK and Spain and try to make it more interesting.
Well, what is this about.
Along with all my other work on this blog I decided to set myself a small project by taking a photo and blogging about it every Sunday of 2013. Sounds easy? well to be honest I dont think it is. Not as difficult as doing it 365 days or one a day but difficult nevertheless. The committment is more than what you think, finding a suitable subject and creating an image of it, no matter what is going on in you life. In fact today has been a tough day for me as I suffer from Pancreatitis and had an attack during the night. It is really painful and I got no sleep at all and was sick for about 8 hours. Nearly ended up in hospital again but as I am here in Spain and despite the fact that I would probably get better service here than in the UK (I have been waiting for an operation at Swindon GWH for 8 months) I just sat it out and eventually it ended. So today was a chilled day but took a drive down to the Lake to take a few shots.
The image is at Lake Negratin which is one of the many lakes in the Granada Province of Andalucia. It is about 4 minutes drive from the house and you can see it from the house, it is lovely. Especially on a day like today which was very warm and sunny but today is Ephiphany (see my last blog post).
Three members of the Swindon GMB Trades Union two of which were dressed up in Panto gear were in the centre of Swindon this lunchtime. They were there to raise the issue of, hand out leaflets about and get people to sign the petition of, ‘Say No To Postcode Pay’.
This is all about the plans of twenty trusts across the South West collaborating in a cartel on radical changes to the pay and conditions of the staff (as well as cutting staff by up to 15%) and create a regional pay system. The petition is to try to get the Government to get these 20 trusts to roll back their plans and instead focus on protesting patients, staff and the economy.
Along with several hundred others, members of Swindon GMB took part in the protest march through the centre of Bristol on saturday.
GMB, BDA, BMA, British Association of Occupational Therapists, CSP, FCS, HCSA, RCM, The Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite join forces against the cartel at the ‘We are One NHS’ march and rally
GMB members alongside members of the other NHS unions and public service supporters joined forces in Bristol at the march and rally to show their support for the NHS and their opposition to the South West NHS Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium.
At the rally they called upon the 19 Trusts in the South West ‘Pay Cartel’ to withdraw from the cartel. The Trust numbers reduced recently from 20 to 19, after Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust pulled out of the cartel.
They are trying to save and safeguard the future of the NHS for the likes of me and you. Those of us who need it the most and cannot afford private health.
Today in Bristol there was a large protest march and rally to protest against all of the cuts being made to the NHS. It was really well attended from supporters from all over the South West including a deputation from Swindon GMB and I am sure lots of other Swindon people that I dont recognize. It wasnt just Nurses that were protesting, there were representatives of most of the Trades Unions and interestingly lots and lots of people who were protesting for the very first time. In fact one thing I am noticing quite a lot now at the various protests is that I am meeting people both middle and old aged who would never have thought of protesting are now taking to the streets.
Whilst there were quite a few children there with banners I am not really sure that they understood why they were there other than their parents were. At the other end of the scale there were quite a few older people, in fact one of the images is of quite an elderly lady who insisted that her carer take her along to the rally.
I took some 325 images from the protest today and I have had to cut them down to a few for the blog, which was quite difficult as there are quite a few other images I would love to have shared with everybody. I will put up another post later with images of the Swindon GMB reps at the march.
So all in all a good day and as someone who has been waiting since June for an operation at the GWH and still I have no date, I for one am glad that these people are standing up to all of the cuts, it can only get worse.
Any opinions ???