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.

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