Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

A deserted editorial room on Christmas Eve, save for Steve the sub. © Magnus Andersson 2008

Its Christmas Eve and this morning I was the first one in the office, quite eerie to come in and find the place pitch black, having to locate the light switch which I've never done before - the light is usually switched on by someone else as I am very unlikely to get to work on time, let alone be first in.

Anyway working during Christmas has its benefits; a lot of pre-production has already been done (when I was on holiday actually), and we tend to finish quite a lot earlier in the day (aiming for 1pm today) and lastly, traffic is a joy - my commute is reduced by at least 50%.

A big thanks to all you readers as well, you really do come from far and away. As expected, the majority are from the UK (#37%), but only recently the US overtook Sweden in terms of readers. In an average month I get readers from about 25 different countries, but disappointingly, 43% of you still insist of using Internet Explorer. :) However, Mozilla is close behind on 37%, so I recommend all of you IE users to make the switch now. 17% are Mac users, I thought that would be higher actually, but perhaps my slight Mac bating has turned you away?

And I never bought the Nikon P6000 by the way....instead, as a treat for Christmas, I got myself the compact of the year - Panasonic DMC-LX3 - from which the picture above is taken with. All I can say is that it is awesome! Proper wide angle, fast lens, RAW shooting and a hotshoe. That's all I need for the festive period, so Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Dear Jacqui, when will you ever learn?

Home Secretary Jacqui on the left. © Birmingham Mail

STOP PRESS: It's ILLEGAL, if a cop - even a smiling one - decides it is! Disregard my previous post.

Sweet Jesus, this is an incredible development. BJP reports here that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith (above left), after the November meeting with the NUJ, has said that photography CAN be limited in public places in special circumstances, see her quote below, (my brackets):

'This may be on the grounds of national security (PJ's photographs a terrorist in the act - surely not news?) or there may be situations in which the taking of photographs may cause or lead to public order situations or inflame an already tense situation (perhaps the institutionally racist Met Police beating up black people? Nah, not of interest to the public) or raise security considerations (weddings as we all know, are of a high extremist danger, read on). Additionally, the police may require a person to move on in order to prevent a breach of the peace or to avoid a public order situation or for the person's own safety and welfare or for the safety and welfare of others'.

Thank you very much, Jacqui Smith!

Just to clarify, Jacqui, if there happens to be police officers present at my next job, can I assume that there is bound to be nothing of interest - whatsoever - for the public for me to report on? Nothing in the interest of the people that you serve, the people that elected you? Please, Jacqui, please get in touch, don't be so (camera) shy.

What exactly are the police protecting us photographers - and thereby the public at large - from seeing? Did the UK just become a four-letter word that spells I-R-A-N? No crime reported in the newspapers? Then surely we must live in a crime free society! Hurrah, Jacqui. Civilisation at last, thanks to New Labour - and The Met - one of the oldest police organisations in the world.

Here's some sobering facts on how the Met, in extreme cases such as public disorder, the armed forces were deployed, instead of what we have now, individual officers left to decide when to take individual journalists out of the equation.

Imagine Brixton in 1981, imagine 1985 imagine 1995, without the media. Erased from history, Jacqui? A young and promising photojournalist by the name of David Hodge was killed at the 1985 riots, and yes others died as well, but from governmental failures; institutional wrongdoing.

Individual officers deciding when to pull the hood over the nations eyes, let alone multiple bullets to the head. These are dangerous times, indeed.

Without getting too political, this government has had serious misjudgments on the issue of national security ever since the '45 minute' claim. A decision which so far has lead to the loss of over 100.000 Iraqi civilian lives.

But wait - Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary - makes things worse. Seven days ago a wedding photographer in London - on the very day of UN Human Rights Day - was detained for 45 minutes (oh, the irony!) under section 44 of the Terrorism Act. Laugh your head off/cry your eyes out here.

So please, Mrs Thatcher, Jacqui Smith, I'm expecting a personal reply from you to the question; Exactly how many crimes have been prevented, how many lives have been saved by criminalising trained photojournalists to carry out their profession and their chosen duty to inform the public of events in their society?

Alternatively, Jacqui, here's another question; do we have a police force inexcusably unaware of its own operating limits, without proper training? Surely you wouldn't start killing innocent civilians to protect national security? Surely you have security of this country under control, without resorting to extreme measures?

PS, Jacqui, here's some video of your boys protecting national security in the last few days: (gets interesting just before 4:00, and after that becomes compelling viewing for the mere fact that these (just like all the other) police officers don't have a clue what they are doing, no explanations for their actions, no knowledge of the law, no knowledge that they can get serious repercussions, even loose their job over this).

At least in my case, as soon as the officer in charge found out what the plods were doing, my equipment was released immediately. Don't know what happened to the promise that "all ground staff would get proper training on how to treat the press", you, Jacqui?

ps, Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary: there is plenty more to come at Marc Vallee.

Bedtime reading for Jacqui only: Yes we have come along way, but why rewind the clock in the name of national security?

Sunday, 14 December 2008

OMG, public photography is lawful!!!

Several (white) police officers detain two (black) people after an argument and ask the photographer not to take any pictures. In this instance, are we - photographer, the detained and the police (for breaching their own guidelines) - all criminals? © Magnus Andersson

Maybe we are making progress? Story on how officers are reminded that it actually isnt a crime, not even a terrorist crime, to take pictures! That said, one of our photographers was handcuffed and led away from a crime scene in London two weeks ago.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Postcards from Sweden

Holiday is so very taxing, so here's a couple of quick snaps from our traditional Lucia celebrations, where one of my little cousins sang in the choir. Brought a little tear to my eye!

© Magnus Andersson 2008: Lucia celebrations in Lindberga church.

© Magnus Andersson 2008: Angels of all sizes in the choir.

© Magnus Andersson 2008: Angels of all sizes in a shop window.

Friday, 5 December 2008

I forgot

© Magnus Andersson

Today has been a mad day, no time for lunch, did 7 jobs in the afternoon, although to be fair, 5 of them were within walking distance from where I parked the car. But still, didn't finish until 19:15.

Now its back to slow motion though, because I have two weeks off.

Before I go, I forgot about this story. Not often that I get a chance to present audio slideshows on here, so enjoy. Charlton Special School - along with other schools on the same day - broke the Guinness World Record!


© Alex Masi

I didnt have time to post a blog yesterday, flat out at work and then a long drive to Willesden to have dinner with some old video/photo journalist friends, got back late.

Dinner was fantastic though, and it was good to see that Alex is still producing the stuff out there that matters. Have a look here and here for the latest.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


US soldiers gather biometric data during a census in Baghdad while searching houses. © Yuri Kozyrev, Aug 5, 2007

I cant give you any images from today as I haven't had time to download yet, but Dispatches, the brainchild of Gary Knight, does it for me. Yuri Kozyrev's comprehensive coverage of the US-led invasion of Iraq is a serious piece of journalism, let alone photojournalism. Subscribe to Dispatches here.

If you want a version of Yuri's work with captions, click here.

Also check out this most subversive film about the most hated man on this planet, the current US president.

post scipt: forgot to mention the music in the slideshow, how good is that!?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

I give consent

This is 8-week old puppy R-Jay, nervously glancing over towards the chief veterinary surgeon who is about to inject him with his vaccination. © Magnus Andersson

OK, so moaning (see previous post) about things doesn't help, maybe blogging will? I'll try and give you a post a day until I go on holiday on Saturday, maybe that can keep my mind busy instead.

Today I was down at the PDSA PetAid Hospital in New Cross. They provide free care to pets whose owners normally couldn't afford a vet.

Chief veterinary surgeon Paul inspecting an x-ray showing metal plates inserted into a dog's leg. © Magnus Andersson

The strange thing was that I wasn't allowed to photograph the dogs being operated on, for the simple reason that they hadn't signed the consent form. Ridiculous I thought, dogs can't sign it, let alone give their consent, right?

8-week old puppy R-Jay checking the fine print before signing his photo consent form. © Magnus Andersson

How wrong I was.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Rear view #02

Southbound on Dunton Road, Bermondsey, Oct '08 © Magnus Andersson

My Christmas and pre-Christmas plans have now both gone to pot, so I might have to pause the blog (even more) to consider my options, because nothing has been working out lately. /Misery guts