Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sounds from The Park

Sounds from the Park is about to launch a unique archive documenting the post-war history of Speakers' Corner.

The project, a collaboration between oral history group On the Record and the Bishopsgate Institute, was funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, and over the last year has collected oral testimony, historic and contemporary photographs, recordings and other material from orators, hecklers and other regular frequenters of the public speaking area in Hyde Park.

The formal opening of the archive, an exhibition and an accompanying booklet, includes a free lunch and contributions from the archivists and other participants.

I have a vested interest:  I've been on the project steering committee for the duration, and the collection includes around 150 of the photographs I have taken at Speakers' Corner since 1977, a number of which feature in the exhibition.  The experience has greatly enriched my own archive, enabling me to put names and stories to faces in photographs shot more than 30 years ago.  I feel a book coming on.

You can book a free place at the launch on 020 7392 9200.
It runs from 1pm - 5pm on Saturday 7th December, in The Great Hall, Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH.  The exhibition continues until 30 April 2014.  More details here.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Working Lives

This interview with Anne-Marie Sanderson, chief photographer at North London & Herts News, was made for the Working Lives project being developed by the NUJ London Photographers Branch (LPB). It's the first in a planned series of videos exploring the varied working lives of its members. 

The project grew out of a discussion at a branch meeting last year, at the height of the furore surrounding the Hacked Off campaign and the Leveson enquiry. Photographers of all kinds were being maligned as a result of allegations about the behaviour of a very small number of so-called paparazzi, and it seemed clear that the public at large had little idea of the great variety of work that photojournalists do. The aim of the project is to show, to the public at large, the range of our work, our motivations for doing it, and the problems we sometimes face. 

Anne-Marie is unusual in being a staff photographer. The vast majority of LPB members are freelancers, and the branch plans to follow this pilot with interviews that cover the wide range of specialisms and working practices that they are engaged in. This first piece offers an insight into the complexity and value of local newspaper photography, on how it is changing as more and more of it moves online, and the crucial support provided by the union when disputes arise. 

The venue for the interview was pleasingly unexpected: a delightful boutique cafe on Platform One of Enfield Chase station, generously opened up for us on a Sunday morning by Karen Mercer, its creator.  Recording was interrupted a couple of times when a train came thundering through my headphones, but they were infrequent enough to not be a serious problem.  The armchairs were very comfortable and the coffee was great,  If you're ever in the area, My Coffee Stop is a five star recommendation.