Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy new year to photojournalism?


A large stuffed toy left is all that is left outside the home of a man who was evicted in November 2009. His former employers owed him £5000 when they went into liquidation. The landlord, rather than offering him a repayment plan, evicted him after five years of impeccable tenancy. The eviction notice is nailed to the door. © Magnus Andersson

2009 is almost over and I think it comes as a big relief for many in the industry. Newspaper titles and magazine budgets have been cut/slashed across the world, more and more photographers have found themselves unable to pay the rent using their cameras. Rights grabbing and abuse from the police have escalated beyond what is acceptable. Councils are launching their own free 'newspapers', funded by our council tax they are selling cheap advertising and their own council propaganda, which goes unchallenged by professional journalists, undermining the whole process of democracy and scrutiny, the list goes on.

I read a piece by now retired PJ Dick Kraus entitled 'Rest in Peace: Photojournalism Is Dead'. It doesn't sound very uplifting and trust me, it isn't. There is a huge irony to this piece though, because it wasn't written in 2009; it was written ten years earlier in 1999, and it was already bad back then, let alone now.

Dick Kraus has over 40 years of experience in the photojournalism business and he shares his views on a profession that more and more has been eroded, leaving us shooting mere 'head shots and real estate', as he puts it.

For sure, I am lucky to still be in a job, but I couldn't help feeling that his description from 10 years ago is very similar to my job today and, I'm sure, that of many other newspaper photographers still out there.

The Digital Journalist does us all a favour by a timely re-print for us all to see, a decade later after it was written. You can - no, you will - read it here.

Jean-Fran├žois Leroy, the 'General' of Visa P'our L'image, wrote earlier this year about the death of photojournalism, and both pieces have similarities.

So what will 2010 bring? More industry death or is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Surely the end of recession must come soon and freelancers and staffers alike might see a rise in income/decent jobs.

Multimedia might finally start to make an impact on newspapers and perhaps revenue from online content finally becomes viable? The amount of people with video enabled SLR's out there is growing but it is of course a new profession that needs to be learned and so far very few news organisations are investing in training. Instead they assume that a stills photographer should be able to produce stills plus video content.

Normally a TV crew would contain three people; a cameraman, a reporter and a sound engineer, and quite often a producer too. How can newspapers expect all that on top of stills production from just one person? That's quality control versus shareholders for you, and so far only one winner; the owners line their pockets and readers go elsewhere.

As it is, the proposed pay walls are up for discussion, but one thing is certain - advertising has already moved online and so has readership. The question is: can newspapers regain the revenue they lost at the introduction of the internet when cars, real estate and small ads all slowly went online to separate sites such as autotrader, rightmove, craigslist, gumtree, eBay and the like?

It might be a case of too little, too late for many of the old news empires, but the demand for content hasn't diminished, so there is still hope for us. We just have to see where the money men and women take us. Failing that we have to do it ourselves.

Have you got any resolutions for 2010? I usually don't make them but this year I will endeavour to produce at least two book projects. They will of course have nothing to do with my day job on the newspaper, instead they will be both self-financed and self-published, but hopefully it will bring back some joy into my day job, push me to do better things and see better days.

I don't know a single photographer who does this job for the money (OK, one or two have given up PJ and moved to advertising, but hey, they have a families to feed).

We are always much more motivated by communication, creativity and empathy rather than the monetary factor, and personal projects are often much more rewarding and hopefully also feeds into the newspaper work.

With all this in mind, here's hoping for better days in 2010. Happy new year to you all, especially to the photojournalists! :)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas folks!


Open fire next to where we ice skate, hot dogs and mulled wine. © Magnus Andersson

I am currently celebrating Christmas back in Sweden and we've been fortunate with some snow this year although some of it has rained away already. I've also been reliably told that Santa will make an appearance but I doubt that he will bring me a replacement Nikon D700. That's right, mine broke yesterday, bohoo.


My brothers new kitten, Smulan, who is just like her mum Sivan, seen here in an earlier post. © Magnus Andersson

All of a sudden it wont record any new images to the SD card. Everything else works fine; AF, flash, shutter etc, but instead of writing a new file to the card when I've taken a shot, it shows the last image taken before it broke down. Seems to be some fault with the processor/buffer. I spent a half day yesterday Googling for a fix but to no avail, it is unusable at the moment and I will have to take it to Nikon in London when I'm back, and instead rely on the LX3 for the Santa shots.


Portraits in the snow. © Magnus Andersson

Luckily I've managed to get some nice pictures already - and I still have my health - so Merry Christmas to all and sundry! See you in the new year.


A pine tree mid-fall. © Magnus Andersson

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Hey, stupid! Camera = WMD?


© Steve Bell/The Guardian

I'm saving the best for last in this post, so here we go: This is totally getting out of hand. The ACPO issued a letter to their staff last week stating that photographers should no longer be persecuted. The big question is: has this worked out on the ground? In short, no.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

I like the fact that the guy in 'Exhibit A' used film and therefore the ill informed officers were unable to see a preview of the images he had taken. Is that the solution if you want to take a photo in public; go old school on their Metropolitan asses?

The big point for me is that the police seems to have forgotten what they are there to do, namely catch criminals. That differs quite wildly from incriminating anybody with a camera, i.e. anyone with a mobile phone, which equates to pretty much every single person on the street, tourist, casual or professional. Are the police underused? Have we got a case of too many officers on the payroll without doing any proper work? Could this be the source of this police obsession with cameras?

In the recent case of Grant Smith, who took pictures of a church near to the Bank of America, where four police units, some of them armed, responded to a person with a camera doing his job. Surely it would have been much more beneficial to society if police actually would have gone inside the premises of the bank to see what the employees were up to?


Detailed view of Westminster as seen on Google Street Maps.

Its been said before, but I doubt very much the idea that criminals intent on doing some serious recon would use a full DSLR setup. Personally I would stick to Google's Street Maps.


© Steve Bell/The Guardian

Last time I looked, the powers fighting terrorists were branded MI5 and MI6. Somehow our friendly neighbourhood officers seems to have overdosed on Spooks and decided that the chosen weapon of mass destruction is a camera.


A plainclothes officer covers the camera of Guardian journalist Paul Lewis.© Paul Lewis/The Guardian

If you are interested in disturbing video evidence of the Kafka-esque society in which we live today, look no further. It really is frightening.

Marc Vallee has a comment piece here.

Even The Daily Mail has raised the issue here.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Sleeping man


Collage of a man having an afternoon nap on a sofa inside the NFT, Southbank, London. © Magnus Andersson

I've been feeling a bit dozy lately, the dark days and the time of the year has all been taking its toll, plus there has been nothing but bad news internally at work, sadly the blog isn't the best forum to vent that stuff in (plenty of angry drafts that wont see daylight though).

On the photography front its been a bit quiet as well, but this is normal for this time of the year; the silly season is upon us and that means a lot of Xmas lights being lit up, kids performing their Xmas performances, etc etc, ad nauseum.

BUT...it is also three years ago since the first post appeared on this blog, and a lot has happened in that time. Print media is in big pain, Facebook came and went, Twitter has taken over the world, I've got eight pages of apps on the iPhone, yet the blog is still here (at least for a while longer, until we are all Google Waving each other).

I recently read a post on why having a blog might actually be more beneficial for us photographers than having a traditional homepage showcasing your work. Read it here, makes a lot of sense, plus it means I can still drag my ass on finding a decent web designer who can finally do some work on my homepage, which has been dormant since I bought the domain in 2006. If you know of someone good, drop us a line. Alternatively, send me a link to the best page on 'how to become a web designer in one evening'.

Just to give you an idea of the type of folks coming here for a look I shall present you with some stats, bear in mind that these only go back until May 2008 when I installed Google Analytics.

Most of all though, this goes out to my dad back home in Sweden. He gets on my back if I have been slack with blog updates, plus he keeps pushing up my Google stats as well.

Number of visitors: 5197 (since May '08)
Overall pages/visit: 1.55
Overall avg.time on site: 1 min 36 sec
Most visits in a day: 194 (Nov 28, 2009)
Top 3 countries: UK, then USA, closely followed by Sweden.


Geographical breakdown of the top three visiting countries. © Magnus Andersson

Most viewed post here. 838 times, and that stat will probably remain for a while. I'd much rather it was this one, currently lingering in the third most read post, and that moment was really funny.

On the browser front, Mozilla holds a steady 44%, while IE and Safari are tied on 25% each, leaving 6% of random connections. Bonus points for the person/s who are reading this through their PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable!

My favourite stat relates to the number of countries visiting: 85 (see image below)

Eighty five countries, that is mental! I love the internet! Thanks for looking!

(Sadly, Google doesn't supply stats from other planets yet)


Map of the world indicating (in green) where visitors have accessed my blog from. © Magnus Andersson

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Working together?


The financial district of London partially immersed in clouds, as seen from Greenwich Cemetery. © Magnus Andersson

There was one very significant development over the weekend here in the UK after chief constable Andy Trotter declared that photography was no longer to be seen as a threat by police officers. Both amateur and professional photographers should now be allowed to enjoy the hobby/work without being hassled by real police and/or plastic police (Police Community Support Officers).

And then this happened today. Photographer Grant Smith was first questioned by security guards (who have no rights to do so) on why he is taking pictures of a building. It should be noted that Smith is an experienced London architectural photographer. The security guards call the police and shortly three police cars and one police van are on the scene, with up to six armed police officers. WTF?

The problem seems to lie with ground staff's training: #1 why would the police operator who took the call decide to dispatch four patrols to a photographer? #2 why would the officers at the scene think that this was a terrorist at work? #3 why did the security guards get involved at all? Smith was photographing the building next to theirs.

You might argue that a crime was potentially prevented here, but I would argue that a crime was potentially enabled here; four police units and two security guards allowed themselves to be drawn into a perfectly peaceful and non-violent past time of most UK citizens, i.e. photography. Meanwhile genuine criminals went about their normal criminal routines, safe in the knowledge that the officers on the ground waste their time pursuing law abiding, tax paying citizens. These officers don't have a clue about how to interpret the laws in place.

Here's the official line from the Met Police. Their slogan is: 'Working together for a safer London'.

Great piece from Henry Porter in The Guardian.

Tomorrow's BJP piece.

And perhaps a silver lining to all the media exposure these events have been given in the last few days?

I would like to know the exact figure on stopped photographers versus discovered terrorists. I suspect it stands at umpteenth vs. none. I think the Met slogan should read 'Working to alienate the population of London, especially anyone with a camera'.

Even more scary, today it was announced that the British Transport Police will be allowed to carry 50,000volt taser guns. For those that remember, the police officer that illegally confiscated my camera was also from the British Transport Police. And next time he will be armed with a taser gun as well? Lordy.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Cause of death still under investigation


Dead pigeon floating in Regents Canal, London. © Magnus Andersson

When you think about it, you don't see many dead animals around do you? Lots of living one's are all around us, scurrying, flying, skipping and jumping, barking, growling, howling, yelping, scratching and itching.

And if you ever have been to London, there is one animal that is omnipresent; the pigeon. Two things amaze me; you never see pigeon chicks and you never see dead pigeons. Maybe they are like elves? Perhaps they live forever?


The pigeon is from earlier in the year, but this big mama of a fish (possibly a carp?) is from yesterday. © Magnus Andersson

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Lets dip into the sea!


Diving into the Mediterranean sea, somewhere between France and Spain. © Magnus Andersson

Its gotten cold in London and when that happens, it doesn't hurt to look back at the delights from the summer just gone. Visa pour L'image was one of the highlights of the year for sure, but there was a trip inside the trip which made the whole thing extra-special:


Five Vikings in the Mediterranean. © Magnus Andersson

Canon Sweden have been along for the ride for 10 years and they decided that it was time to celebrate a decade's worth of sponsoring the event. Thank God for Canon! A bus was hired which took us down to Collioure, a small seaside town at the bottom of France, just before you get into Spain. Medieval and beautiful, we still didnt have much time there before...


Ringo Star - aka Mattias Johansson - also dipped in. © Magnus Andersson

...we got on a rented yacht which took us all the way into Spanish waters and back again, and of course we were treated to a Mediterranean feast whilst on board.


Tuckin' in on the freshest seafood on the...sea. © Magnus Andersson

Anna and her crew from Collioure served up the most amazing smorgasbord of food, most of it fresh from the sea, and only one of us Vikings felt seasick, the rest had the time of our lives. Thank you Per!


The Scandinavian Canon boys that made it all possible. Sadly they were all showcasing the Canon EOS 7D, nuff said about that camera. :) © Magnus Andersson

Rhianna inspired photograph


Old lady with an umbrella checking the view from the Somerset House terrace in the rain. © Magnus Andersson

Saturday, 28 November 2009

I'm missing the summer of 2009...


Inner city cricket in London Fields, Hackney, summer of 2009. © Magnus Andersson


Bike on Broadway Market, Hackney, in the sunset, summer of 2009. © Magnus Andersson

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Launch of a new category: randoms


No, I didnt Photoshop this. What you see is what you get as a photojournalist. © Magnus Andersson

I know that they have had bad weather and all at the moment, but what where they thinking naming this town in Cumbria? Cockermouth?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Getting rid of the evidence


A WPC (without clearly displaying her ID number) attempts to batter me as Jeff Moore (to her right) of BPPA does nothing to stop her. © Magnus Andersson

The picture above is from the 'I'm a photographer, not a terrorist' event which I attended at The Foundry in August (some background links in this post).

Now it has been revealed that the Metropolitan Police are asking their photographers to delete any images showing officers with their identity numbers hidden/removed.

Basically the Met are asking that any evidence of misconduct by the police are to be destroyed. Does this actually happen in 2009? Was it previously OK for officers to remove their ID numbers, prior to the G20 demonstrations? Was this actually a directive?

How high up in the police hierarchy does this go? Surely someone at the top must get looked into for issuing such orders to destroy evidence, and prior to this, allowing the removal of their ID numbers?

If this was a court case, it would be perverting the course of justice.

If this was business it would be insider trading and then covering your tracks.

If it had been history it would have been David Irving.

The truly frightening thing is that this is all of the above. This is 2009 in the UK, the official police state of the Western world, where the police bends the law to protect their own, where photography is seen as a terrorist sport whilst we are the most photographed population in the world courtesy of CCTV footage.

These are the chilling words from the people that are supposed to look out for us; The Metropolitan Police:

'As of now, any still or moving photography or images of police officers must show them wearing their correct shoulder numbers/markings and name badges if these areas of uniform are included within the shot.'

and:

'As a precaution, if you hold any photography or images that do not meet this instruction they should be culled from your libraries.'

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday 13th


A crow flies past the war memorial at Greenwich Cemetery, where - for no apparent reason - no wreaths were laid for this years Remembrance. © Magnus Andersson

Friday 13th...to some its a sign of a really bad omen, for others its good luck. To me? It's a day where I have to say that the camera on the latest iPhone is actually really decent, now that I've had some time getting used to it.

For the pixel peepers, I've left it hi-res, so click on the image to see the full Monty of what the 3Gs can do. Minor curves adjustments done.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Eugene Richards


From his exhibition which I saw in Perpignan, 2009. A returning soldier with half of his head left, hugged by his mother (the reflection of a baby next to her head is coincidental). © Eugene Richards/Getty Reportage

Of all the exhibitions that I saw at this years Visa Pour L'image in Perpignan, Eugene Richards' work on returning injured US soldiers has produced the longest lasting impression on me.

Now you can read a very good interview with him here, courtesy of BJP.

For those of you in London, he's talking at BJP's Vision09 event in London on 27 November. Don't miss it.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Remembrance Day


Portrait of Sgt. Arnould, veteran soldier of 12 years. © Magnus Andersson

This weekend will see the marking of the 90th (I think) Remembrance Day; remembering all those who died in WWI. In today's paper we have done a piece with Sgt.Barry Arnould (above), to get the perspective on how a serving soldier views the Poppy Appeal and what it means to those currently in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

My girlfriend also did her bit for the cause, spending all of last Monday on her hands and knees (steady on) volunteering for the Royal British Legion, hammering the little crosses into the ground outside Westminster Abbey in London. Today her back (and knee) breaking efforts paid off as The Times adorned its front page with a large picture of the volunteers work, filling the page with thousands of little crosses. On Sunday we will go down there to pay our respects.

Also starting this weekend, The Guardian are serialising '100 years of great press photographs', starting tomorrow and running for nine days. Don't miss out.

And its Friday! Hopefully I'll get to check out my friend Bear down at The Wilmington as he plays in Rescue Cat, who are destined for big things. Have a good one!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Neighbours


Flipped car in South London. © Magnus Andersson

This is the sight which greeted the owner of this car one morning. She lives on an estate in south London and she is one of very few people who dares to stand up to the local gang members and drug dealers who use the communal stairwells to hang out in. She claims to know exactly who did this but without witnesses the police is powerless. Credit to her for having the guts to stand up to them though.

I live on an estate myself and there used to be a bunch of kids always smoking joints in the communal stairwell one floor below us. They always went quiet when I walked past them and I never said anything to them. One day, on the landing they always sat on, it had some furniture left on it from someone decorating their flat.

It was set alight on a Saturday morning but I didn't notice as I was asleep. I merely woke up at around 11am and found myself coughing up black bits of soot from my lungs. I opened the front door and the whole stairwell was pitch black with soot, the door, windows, walls, everything. Lots of people could have died because no one was challenging these kids.

Luckily, since this arson incident, those kids have not returned, but to this day I don't know if they actually lived in the building or not. Now I say hi to the kids around here and they say hi back. Not a big effort really, but to stand up like the aforementioned woman takes big guts.

Tree on the loose!


A warning sign in Potters Field, Southbank, London. © Magnus Andersson

Apparently the offending tree was trying to branch out but eventually it got chopped down...yes, this is an actual story I had to cover. Slow news week I guess.

Monday, 26 October 2009

To tweet or not to tweet?


Alien or chestnut? Neither; its my current Twitter background. © Magnus Andersson

Apparently that's not even a question in 2009 and I cant help feeling that me signing up so long after the initial buzz makes me a bit 2000-and-late...ahem.

The wonderful Stephen Fry was of course the reason for me signing up, especially after the huge furore over a Daily Heil article last week, but I actually got contacted by a real celebrity - yes! - only on my second day on Twitter.

The night before I had gone to comedian Lee Hurst's club in Bethnal Green to have some fun but unfortunately for me (and to everybody else's delight) we had to sit at the table right at the front. Never a good thing in a packed house.

Lee came on and started his first routine, picking people in the front row to ask a few questions about them. He got to me and it was very innocent to begin with:

- What's your name?
- Magnus.
- Where are you from, Magnus?
- Sweden.
- Aha! Thanks for your help with the Germans.
- Eh...
- So what do you do for a living, Magnus?
- I'm a photographer.
- Tell us what you have photographed recently.

At this stage my mind went blank. It was Friday night and I had put all thoughts of work behind me so I tried to remember what my last job had been that day. Think, think, think, I was telling myself. A whole room plus Lee Hurst was waiting for my answer and then it came to me, yes, I had been at a school which had held a huge celebration for their 50th anniversary, dancing and singing, etc.

But I didn't say all that. Instead, the only thing that came out was:

- School children.

Not the ideal answer in a comedy club. The whole room erupted and Lee had the rest of his first set written for him by me. I'm sure you can figure out how I was labelled for the rest of the night: Swedish...phototgrapher...school children. Arrgh!

Anyway, that experience ended up being one of my first tweets. The day after, Lee himself had found me on Twitter and sent me a message, saying that he'd hoped to see me at the club again! Nice. But I might sit at the back next time and claim to be a mute.

Anyway, if you're on Twitter, seek me out and give me a tweet here.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Time to up my game

Portrait of Alexandre, 101 years young. © Magnus Andersson

Oh dear, the spotlight is on us! Two blogs are shining the light on local newspaper photography like never before. It is true that a lot of jobs that we do are quite mundane, some are boring and some are outright stupid, so I will have to up my game in order to stay off these two blogs:

Angry people in local newspapers

Glum councillors

If you want to have a detailed insight into my working life though, look no further.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I've got another 700 reasons to be very happy...


One of my first test shots on the Nikon D700; wireless TTL left, seedy red lamp behind, TV light from right. © Magnus Andersson

...because I've just got my hands on a brand new Nikon D700! I was holding out for an updated D700s version but as the D3 got upgraded instead I couldn't wait any longer. Rumour has it that a possible D700s is likely in a years time...ho hum.

But I welcome the super fast and super accurate AF, the brilliant ISO performance, the built-in commander flash, the dream like DOF with my family of prime lenses, the solid build quality and on and on and on...yup, I'm very pleased with it.

Its not insured yet though so I am scared to take it out of the house. Frustration! Hence the random image above; shot in my living room. Hopefully it'll be sorted soon.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Yeah, I'm busy


Airplane vapour trails over North Kent marshland. © Magnus Andersson

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I've got one hundred two thousand and four hundred reasons...




...to get the newly launched Nikon D3s. The ISO goes up to 102,400. That's a little bit insane. According to BJP it is actually usable as well. That basically outperforms the human eye, meaning this camera will pick up details although you are struggling to see what's going on in the dark. Gimme gimme gimme. I think it will be a little while before I actually own one though as it will set me back £4,200. Hmmm.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Embargoed


AP photographer Dominic Lipinski filing his pictures in direct sunlight, opposite the police station in Lambeth North. © Magnus Andersson

A while back I showed you some of the stuff from the early morning dangerous dogs raid that I went on and I just found this little gem of AP's Dominic Lipinski editing his shots after the raid. We had been embargoed, meaning we couldn't release any pictures until after 11am (we started at 05:30am), ensuring that all raids across the country had finished before they end up on the news...so what to do?

Grab a coffee anda croissant, edit your shots, wait for the deadline to expire and then start filing. Impossible to do in bright sunlight like that of course...unless you have one of these nice little hoods for you laptop.

I've got an early start tomorrow...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Pure laziness


Charles, 100, beaming with pride over his birthday card from the Queen herself. © Magnus Andersson

That's what it is, or maybe the change in the weather, autumn is definitely here now and winter is around the corner, its getting chilly outside and staying in is such a nice prospect in the evening. Soon it will be dark when I get up to go to work and dark when I get home again.

Factors which may play a role in the laziness on the blog, but if there's one thing that reminds you that there's plenty of time to do stuff, just speak to a 100-year old. Above you can see Charles, who turned 100 last Sunday, and he kept saying that the amount of things he's done and seen in his life were so many, he couldn't believe it. He was of course 'all there' in the head and he really enjoyed life.

When you make it to 100 here in the UK you get a special birthday card from the Queen herself, no less. There's no limit to the pride this instills in the older generation, quite touching to witness actually, and this card always takes pride of place in their homes.

Personally though, I'd be quite offended that she's managed to ignore my previous 99 birthdays...the lazy woman.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Kosher doesn't fly in Iran


The shortlisted entries on the wall. © Magnus Andersson

As I mentioned in the last post, I had the privilege of going to the Frontline Club as they hosted a panel discussion on how photojournalism is suffering from citizen supplied content.


Crowd shot and the panel. © Magnus Andersson

My friend Alex was nominated in one of their competitions and on the night I bumped into fellow photographers Matt Grace and Edmund Clark and it turns out they were also shortlisted in the competition.


Only one man was sensible enough to actually sit down during the hour-long discussion. © Magnus Andersson

Sadly none of them won, but it was still a great night with a healthy debate on how to deal with content that is supplied for free, thus undercutting us professional photographers and removing our livelihood.


The panel, (L-R) Matthew, Olivier, Ben, Marc and Turi. © Magnus Andersson

The panel was chaired by Ben Hammersley from WIRED magazine and debating the issues were Matthew Eltringham from BBC News User Generated Content, photographer Marc Vallee, Turi Munthe from picture agency Demotix and Olivier Laurent from BJP.


The Frontline Club at night. © Magnus Andersson

Here's a video of the event from start to finish, the prize giving is at the end for those interested, but the highlight of the video comes at about 07:30, at which point you'll understand the title of this post.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Shooting kids


Girl in a test shot for a class photo. © Magnus Andersson

During this week and the coming two we are planning to visit 97 (!) primary schools across south London for a supplement called First Class which we do every year. We line up the reception classes of each school and get a group shot, then we put it in the newspaper hoping that it will generate lots of photo sales.

Nothing new there, and for some photographers it might sound like a mundane task but its actually been great fun doing it this week. Tomorrow is my last day and on Monday its back to 'normal' photojournalism again.

As it is their first ever week in school some of the kids are a bit confused, some are scared, one got locked into the toilet so we had to re-shoot and I've even had two kids who just wouldn't stop crying for mummy...poor little things, imagine if they realised that they have several more years of school ahead!

The setup is very simple as you'll see in one of the shots below, but I also find the test shots strangely arresting, something about the colours and the symmetry and the lack of people, so here are a few examples of benches and chairs, sans children.

Tomorrow night I am heading down to the Frontline Club where there will be a panel discussion on citizen supplied photos and the impact it has on photojournalism. I am covering for my friend Alex Masi who is shortlisted in one of their competitions, and the winners will be revealed on the night. Sadly he cant make it as he is still in India, but I'll report back here later on.
















All images © Magnus Andersson