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[Me]

Touring Britain bit by bit with a pair of boots, a few bicycles, a lot of trains and a bag of lenses. I take pictures and then I write about them.

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Sat, 16 Oct 2010

How to deliver a petition

Science Is Vital! Science Is Vital!

First, get 35,000 people to sign your petition, and find a friendly university stationary office who can print that many hundreds of pages. Hurry down Whitehall to hang around outside Downing Street while another petition goes in before you.

Science Is Vital!

Ensure that you have one Evan Harris to turn up unannounced with a Lord Willis, to efficiently direct and choreograph things.

Science Is Vital!

Pose and smile! L to R: Michelle Brook, Imran Khan (CaSE), Evan Harris, Jenny Rohn, Phil Willis, Richard Grant, Colin Blakemore, and Della Thomas.

Science Is Vital!

Get your petition out and wave it around for the camera.

Science Is Vital!

Panic when you realise you've got to reassemble it all again.

Science Is Vital! Science Is Vital!

Ring the bell, and pass it to the doorman, whose job description apparently includes posing for camera when petitions are delivered.

Science Is Vital! Science Is Vital!

Amswer some questions for the press agencies I don't know whether any news outlet actually used any of their footage, but I imagine the agencies have cameras here all day to capture far more exciting things, like the arrival of Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier that morning

Science Is Vital! Science Is Vital! Science Is Vital!

And finally, play around taking pictures of eachother pretending to be the new prime-minister.

More photos in the Science is Vital flickr set.


[Tag] Tags: downing street, events, london, petitions, photo essays, photography, politics, traditions, uk


Sat, 16 Oct 2010

Thames Barrier to Teddington

Millennium Bridge

With everything that has been happening, I've neglected to mention the Thames Barrier to Teddington exhibition at the gallery in Foyles bookshop at the top end of Charing Cross Road, or indeed even been to look myself. I usually ignore calls for entries in photography competitions, since 99.9% of them are rights-grab scams run by cheap PR or marketing departments, but I like what Londonist are doing and how they're doing it. It's nice to have been included — even if I don't think they picked my most interesting or original Tidal Thames picture! I'll have to go along soon — the exhibition ends on Sunday 24.


[Tag] Tags: bridges, exhibitions, london, millennium bridge, photography, river thames


Tue, 12 Oct 2010

The Cheese Festival

Ice Cream

I love the Durham Township photoblog -- all the fabulous atmospheric shallow-focus photos of rural Pensylvania. Especially the ones of the traditional county fairs and farm shows. The kids with candyfloss, prize livestock on display, and old fashioned family entertainment.

Cheese Festival!

We have those in England, too: things like the Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival, a celebration of cheese and cider, annual except if it rains so hard that the river floods the car park field. A place to show off local artisan foods, crafts, and livestock.

ducks!

Where you can test your strength, guess the number of sweets in the jar, watch a classic Punch and Judy show, or learn how to milk a lifesize plastic animatronic cow that's branded with the name of the local independent supermarket.

Punch & Judy!

Or just enjoy the late summer of the English Westcountry.

Cheese Festival!

[Tag] Tags: blackmore vale, british culture, dorset, events, festivals, fetes, photo essays, photography, rural, sturminster newton, traditions, uk, westcountry


Sun, 4 Jul 2010

Victory Flashmob

Flashmob

The terrorists photographers gathered at New Scotland Yard today for a victory flashmob. (Not a protest those require a permission slip from the authorities these days.) They stood around outside (ironically, just in the shade, where it was difficult to get a nicely lit shot), talking and laughing, and intimidating the police with their threatening lenses. They were gloating.

Flashmob

Because on wednesday, the European Court of Human Rights refused the UK's application to appeal their finding in Gillan and Quinton v. UK, making binding the finding that anti-terrorism stop-and-search violates the right to respect for private life guaranteed by the Convention on Human Rights. A succession of home secretaries and police throughout the ranks have been complicit in systematic intimidation, invasion of privacy, and the hindrance of thousands of people going about their jobs and hobbies and daily life.

Flashmob

The government has been found guilty of great evil: a creepy authoritarian disregard for human rights and individual privacy. And now they have to stop being evil, and we can all move on. But lets not forget in all of this that they have also been guilty of great stupidity: the stubborn pursuit of absurd policies in the face of all evidence and reason. Five years ago on wednesday, real terrorists killed 56 people in this city. And in response to such a serious and real threat the government and police have been pursuing the ludicrous policy of harassing the likes of street photographers. That's stupid and evil.

Flashmob

(Pictures taken with the Sigma 10-20; edited with some difficulty in RawStudio and gIMP on my slow 2 yr old netbook, because I haven't gotten round to replacing the broken motherboard in the desktop.)


[Tag] Tags: bad policies, events, london, new scotland yard, photographer not a terrorist, photography, politics, protests, sigma1020, stop and search, uk, westminster


Sun, 13 Jun 2010

Law In Action: Owning Your Image

In this week's Law In Action, Joshua Rozenberg looks at an assortment of issues around the law and photography -- starting with the issue of interference in citizens' rights to pursue their hobby of street photography without harassment. The opening sequence is of Rozenberg and Grant Smith (of getting arrested fame) getting hassled by a building manager who confidently tells them that they can't photograph her building without permission (clarifying, "you can't film inside this building", prompting the wonderful reply, "oh, am I inside your building, then?"), and that they wouldn't be able to photograph the street without clearing the data protection requirements.

My own office's manager signs off every email (invariably marked "Urgent", and with "Urgent" in the all-caps subject line -- "Urgent: The south toilets are closed for maintenance, please use the north toilets"; "Urgent: Please don't leave tea-spoons in the sink"...) with her name and letters -- the impressive title of "Member of the British Institute of Facilities Managers". The Institute's website offers courses in facilities management. I guess office managers can learn how to confidently and intimidatingly bullshit about the law; how to confidently project an absurdly inflated sense of the importance of their role; and how to confidently look busy with all kinds of invented official business.

Why do so many office managers think it's acceptable to make up absurd lies that not only insultingly insinuate that practitioners of another profession are too incompetent to discover and understand what the law says about their profession, but lies that also lead them to incorrectly accuse those professionals of acting illegally? Those are pretty serious insults, and pretty serious allegations. Why do office managers think it's part of their role to go around making them? Why do they think it's useful to anybody that they tell these lies? And why do they think that an acceptable response to being challenged and educated about how these are lies is to call in the police?

Because the police are still telling them that it's useful for them to do so. And they still haven't provided the slightest credible evidence to support that position. The police are actively encouraging office managers to waste police time. To waste time and public money that could be spent keeping London's streets safe from criminals and terrorists.

The programme moves on to discuss the use of photography and filming in surveillance. Do listen again, while you can -- link expires Thursday. Grant Smith's photos from his encounter are here.


[Tag] Tags: bad policies, grant smith, jobsworths, law, london, media, office managers, photographer not a terrorist, photography, police, politics, radio 4, reviews, stop and search


Sun, 16 May 2010

15 May, 2004

I bought a cheap digital camera. The cheapest compact digital camera a first year student loan could buy. Must have been September 2003. I felt guilty at having spent over sixty pounds on a single luxury item, and even more at the schoolboy error of throwing out all of the packaging, receipt and warranty only for the screen to stop working by Christmas. So I told people that I'd bought it that way, second hand, for next to nothing. That made things seem better. Covering up the crime.

It was fine without the screen. That just meant that when the batteries ran out there was no way to re-set the date and time, or adjust the settings from the obviously sensible default of 1MP to the excitingly extravagant 3MP maximum. It still happily took appalling pictures of harshly lit and unflatteringly inebriated students around kitchen tables laid out with the cheapest bottles of own-brand vodka at parties that seemed fun at the time. What more did anyone need?

So one friday night in May, after weeks of ever later starts and ever later stops, and a few too many drinks mixed with red bull, something strange happened. Something that had never happened to a student before. The sun rose.

Bristol Bridge

It rose over the Bristol Bridge, where we would feed the ducks outside the halls of residence.

St Peter's Church

Over the bombed shell of St Peter's Church, in a once before the war bustling Bristol city centre. Now a scruffy corner of grass and seventies low-rise offices.

Castle Park

And the old Courage Brewery, since demolished.

Bristol Harbour

Where the floating harbour meanders around through the Castle Park.

St Peter's Church Valentine's Bridge

Over Valentine's Bridge.

Morning Train

And the first train from London.

And I started taking pictures of all the places all around. And didn't stop. Even though that cheap compact camera did, just two months later, before it had even passed its warranty.

More photos from 15 May 2004 in this flickr set.

Continue reading under the fold...


[Tag] Tags: bristol harbour, bristol, photo essays, photography, sunrise, uk, urban, westcountry


Sat, 30 Jan 2010

Moving photographs

When flickr introduced video functionality, the community was divided. To a certain type of purist it was the beginning of the end, or the last straw; the big coporate takeover ignoring the wishes of a passionate established community in favour of mass appeal. A certain type of purist flouced off and cancelled their membership.

To the rest of us, flickr videos are just moving photographs: just another way to capture the light and landscape, the streets and streams of changing scenes.

more moving photographs...


[Tag] Tags: derwent water, flickr, lake district, photography, video


Wed, 20 Jan 2010

I get mail

Spam mail. I don't mean your regular crap. Professional spam mail from the professional spammers: PR. Somebody put me on a list and now all kinds of companies and individuals are paying all kinds of PR agencies lots of money so that the PR agencies can pay the mailing list compiler a load of that money to send me spam about their crap photography competitions. And then I laugh at them in public. Money and time well spent all round, I think.

Last week, for instance, Rebecca at AppleJupp could hardly contain her excitement to be announcing to me the totally new "mobile phone photography course" being organised by "Photography Made Simple". For just forty pounds, this unique course will, for the first time ever in the UK, teach you how to take photos with your Blackberry. But where do you go to become a qualified cameraphoner? Crystal Palace.

Sadly, as it was last Saturday, I was too late to make an anonymous tip-off.


[Tag] Tags: crystal palace, photography, pr, spam


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Creative Commons License All text and photography on this site is Joe Dunckley 2001-10, except where stated otherwise. Text and photos are released under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, meaning that you may reuse, remix, and republish the work for non-commercial purposes, on the condition that a credit is given to "Joe Dunckley/Cotch.net" and you make it clear that the work is released under this license. See this page for more detailed conditions. Contact me to enquire about commercial and editorial use.