Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Jimmy Nachtwey distracted by Swedes?

© James Nachtwey/VII

I've read quite a few accounts of James Nachtwey's appearance in Sweden only two days ago and they have been pretty downbeat, some of them very disappointed to MEET GOD. Personally I would have liked to have been there to see for myself if HE EXISTS, but PJ-religious-bashing-aside, perhaps there was a reason for his distraction after all?

Have a look here. There might just be a big announcement that Jimmy has gone and won something - quell surprise! But he's counting on us this time to publicise it. Until we know more, Jimmy, we can't do much for now.

If he gets it, does he deserve it? You bet he does.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Craze 24

© Magnus Andersson

This week has kind of flown by, not too many jobs, just nice and steady. Nothing noteworthy either though, no BIG news coming our way at the moment, at least photographically, so here's a nice little shoot instead which I did before I went off on holiday. Craze 24 is an up and coming South London rapper, real nice guy too, we had a good session down in his studio. Check out his myspace. Also, its always fun to shoot musicians because they wanna be seen, they're not scared of the camera. Makes my job so much easier!

© Magnus Andersson

He used to be into some bad things you know, but music is taking him to a different place. This (below) ran on the front page but sadly I was away, I didnt even know it was going to be on the splash but there you go. Claire (sub) did good as always though, so big up to her.

© Magnus Andersson

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Switching allegiance?

© Magnus Andersson

I have been on a week long holiday from work, so while I've been busy walking around the Jurassic coast of Dorset (more later), Canon has made me wanna switch. This is BIG news in the industry but as I have been out of touch for the last few days and most of you already know this, I'll spare you the details. If you must know, Vincent Laforet sums it up best on his blog.

Canon just kick ass at the moment and they have also just announced the G10 as well, so my birthday present is set. I'm all too sorry, but Nikon seems to have messed up the P6000 in favour of this new beast. I dont need 14.1MP, but at least the RAW files will be usable and its 28mm wide.

The D3 still sets the bar for AF performance though, so the sports shooters out there need not worry. The D3 is still the camera for photojournalism but Canon has laid down an aggresive marker against Nikon by pricing the 5d MkII at $2700. If Canon doesnt already rule your world, they will soon. Nikon are back in the passenger seat.

ps. above picture shot on a Canon P&S; the non-remarkable SD 850 IS, which blows out high lights for fun and has serious focusing problems.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Do you live in a climate of fear?

I mentioned Marc Vallee in the last post; now he and the NUJ has produced a film about the assaults, intimidation, spying and the general targeting that we UK photojournalists are being subjected to by the police on a daily basis.

What's most worrying is that the plod on the street simply doesn't seem to care if he breaks the law or not. Removing the offending journalist seems to be the task at hand at any public event nowadays - not securing the public or ensuring people's right to protest and for us to document it. Climate of fear? Yes - fear of fascism.

I know that there are many countries in which the situation is a lot worse, but for a country that tries to promote democracy and freedom around the world, it certainly doesn't look good.

The map above is from Reporters without Borders, click the image to see a larger version.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Being shouted at and crying in the same day

Another month of work has gone by and we are now in September, my favourite month! Its got nothing (much) to do with it being my birthday towards the end of it, but more to do with the fresh air coming in and the last-days-of-a-dying-summer feeling; although to be fair, in the UK, the summer never really sprung to life this year. But this is where September usually comes in and rescues things with some amazingly beautiful days of warm sunshine. Seasons aside, this was the day:

My first job was down at Brixton prison where fire departments from three different stations had been called out to. Six fire engines were standing around doing nothing. I chatted to a friendly fireman when I got there and he said it was just a suspect device that they were checking out inside the prison, probably nothing, the number of trucks was just standard procedure, etc.

I then went over to the cordon - which anybody can walk up to - and took a couple of snaps and was then approached by a jobsworth fireman. He politely asked me to 'get the fuck out' despite all the regular office workers being allowed to stand next to me and look (at a scene where nothing was going on, I might add).

When I asked him why he said it was his managers orders. Sadly, this upstanding fireman 'wasn't in a position to reveal his managers name', or to get said manager to come down and say it in person to me, and then he promptly said the POLICE will come if I don't move. I said that is fine, you can bring the police if you want, and you'll see that they cant move me either, unless you first extend your cordon and remove these 'civilians' as well.

In the end I just said 'I'll move' and did so after getting my frames, but why, oh why, are people in uniform hellbent on telling trained members of the press what to do, while at the same time letting people stand around with their camera phones and not moving them? Some battles are not worth fighting, and this was one of them, but dang, I thought firemen were professionals as well? Next time I'll just bring my (future tense) P6000.

Two minutes later the firemen were given the all clear and they rolled back home to their stations...

The place to get the latest on these developments is, as always, on photographer Marc Vallee's blog. Interesting to see how we have moved on since the 90's.

The last job of the day was a vigil for a murder victim who died in Camberwell in September last year*. Quite a large group of friends and family had come, including the victims mother. As always on these occasions, it takes a lot longer than planned, but it doesn't matter.

A priest led the prayers after which people were invited to say what they felt. A Rastafarian friend of the victim sung an amazing hymn on the spur of the moment, dedicated to his family, and then people, one after the other, voiced their love for this man.

In 2007, I'd been at this very place to photograph the crime scene. Tonight I couldn't see through my viewfinder as I was overcome by emotion, tears were going down my face. My thoughts go out with all of the people present.

*He will remain nameless out of respect and because of an ongoing trial, but for the record, we were the only media invited by the family and the only media present.

© Magnus Andersson

© Magnus Andersson

© Magnus Andersson