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.

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Ed Miliband in Swindon a Photojournalist’s View

Part of the reason why I like being a photojournalist is the press scrum. It is fun and funny. Pushing and shoving some of the time. Other times we all let each other take prime spot and change around.
Yesterday I was photographing Ed Miliband who was visiting Los Gatos in Old Town Swindon as part of the Election trail and to show support for Anne Snelgrove the local Labour candidate for Swindon South. Los Gatos was just heaving with customers and Labour supporters before the media got in there. It was heavily controlled by the Police and Labour party officials and so we had to be in before he arrived. Not only that, all the media had to be behind the bar!!!!! So we were all pretty much going to get the same shots. I was too late in grabbing a chair to stand on and at first all I got was the backs of all the rest of the media. (See photo). After that I just moved around a bit trying to get something different. I don’t think I managed to achieve it. I did manage to get Ed Miliband being interviewed by the Swindon Advertiser journalist. Only because the Labour official in charge thought I was with them so I didn’t tell him otherwise 🙂

My point in all of this is that news photojournalism is all just a matter of luck, being at the right place at the right time. Pushing and shoving and standing your ground at times. Being really nice and accommodating at others.

Fun though, either way.

Swindon Holocaust Memorial Service

Today saw the Swindon Holocaust Memorial Service take place. It was fitting that it was a grey overcast day (excellent for photography) for the short service held at the Cenotaph in Swindon. It was quite well attended by the general public and some of the local dignitaries including Councillor Teresa Page Mayor of Swindon, Angus MacPherson Police and Crime Commissioner for Swindon and Wiltshire was tucked away amongst the public and also Derique Montaut Labour Councillor, there were of course many more if you knew where to look.

It was a quite short service but it was good to see that Swindon held it again this year especially as it is 70 years today.

Swindon Fire Brigade turn out to Major Fire at Swindon Scrap Yard

Despite being on strike Swindon Fire Brigade turned out to a major fire at a scrap yard in Swindon late this afternoon and early evening. These guys were absolutely dripping in sweat running around working to get control of the fire. Black smoke could be seen for miles around and it will be smouldering for quite a few days to come.

And the fire brigade, well should we not support their cause. Despite their conflict with the government over pay and pensions etc they still come out and look after us the public.

Well done guys, you have my support.

Holocaust Memorial Day Service in Swindon

Despite this event taking place in public I have removed the images as one person in a couple of them complained about being in them. I did explain that as she was in and the event took place in a public place that I was legally allowed to take and publish them, I did remove them as this is now old news and makes no difference to me. Whilst the images are not important it could be construed that I had made an assumption that they were a ‘couple’ whereas in fact they are both single and not attached to each other.

As an accredited jounalist and member of the NUJ I just wanted to point out that we as jounalist are allowed to take photographs in public places of public events.

At 12:00 on 27th January there was a small but well attended wreath laying ceremony in Swindon Town Centre to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Despite the inclement weather it was well attended by Swindon dignitaries including the Conservative MP for Swindon South Robert Buckland and Mayor Nick Martin who laid the wreath.

Three Demo’s and a Bike Ride A Grand Day Out for a Photojournalist in London

It was a busy afternoon in London on Sunday.

Whitehall was a very busy place. Firstly I covered the service and laying of wreaths at the war memorial by riders from the Help For Heroes Charity bike ride from Paris to London.

Then I covered the protest by UK based Turkish and Kurdish protestors who were there to show solidarity with all the protesters out in Turkey who are protesting against the ruling AKP party.

Then I covered a protest by some UK based Venezuelans who were protesting against alleged rigged elections by the ruling government party.

Then I covered a Free Palestine protest mainly by Orthodox Jews and members of the Neturei Karda who were also protesting against Zionism and the mass rally that was taking place in Trafalgar Square to celebrate 65 years of the State of Israel.

It was a hot, busy and tiring but really good day for a photojournalist.

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, how it marks the Funeral of Margaret Thatcher a piece of history.

So, this is how Swindon marks a historic event. I for one am very disappointed in the fact that there was nowhere in the Town Centre to watch the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. Now this is absolutely nothing to do with any political leanings I may or may not hold, it is about an event in history and as you can see by these two photos taken shortly after ten o’ clock this morning. Which is when the funeral was taking place in London.
The Big Screen was not showing the news as it usually does and only had an advert on it for an art event that was not due to start till 11.30 so in my mind they could have shown the funeral on the big screen. Now those of you who follow my twitter will have noticed that I did question inSwindon about it and there only response (both on Twitter and by phone) was oh it wasnt planned to show it!!!!!
I also took the time to talk to several people in Wharf Green and they like me would like to have watched the funeral on the Big Screen and were as equally disappointed as I am.

As someone who likes and supports Swindon I just feel a little let down by the town on this occasion.

What do other people think?????

Sunday Project – No More

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.

Bristol mass protest against cuts in the NHS

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 ???