Thursday, 26 March 2009

Tragic incident

A charging adult T-Rex and Charlotte Bailey, 8. © Magnus Andersson

Being a photographer means you often get special access to great events, but the other day it all went horribly wrong. A new exhibition called 'Walking with dinosaurs' was to be showcased at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, but it all went wrong when the adult T-Rex broke loose...moments later this little girl and the guy behind - trying to save her - both got eaten by the ferocious beast. I managed to hide under some stairs until the handlers got the creature under control. The rest of the pictures are just too horrific to show here.

However tragic this episode was, it did remind me of one of my favourite comic strips: Calvin and Hobbes!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Our intelligent anti-terrorist officers have come up with a brilliant, two-pronged, new plan to beat terrorism;

#1: go through your neighbours trash. If its full of takeaway boxes and beer cans, report him/her, otherwise they might have an early death.

#2: did you see anyone taking a picture of a CCTV camera? Report them! Any half decent photographer will tell you that the background is just as important as the person you are photographing.

I like the idea of turning the population into your own little Stasi machine, imagine how much time it will save the intelligence gathering folks? Boingboing has the story here.

It also looks like this will set off another avalanche of brilliant remixes of these posters, flickr has a bunch already; here, here, here, here, here and here, to name but a few.


This relates to the previous police posters, where this poor fella got done for having a beard. A "big brown beard". Quality.

If you actually have any problems with the police, here's what to do.

However, its encouraging to see that at least parts of the government doesn't agree with how the police treats journalists.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sign up! (updated)

John on the bench he was photographing. © Magnus Andersson

Local historian John Beasley was taking photos of this bench in Holly Grove, Peckham, when he was stopped and questioned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in January. An elderly gentleman with a compact film camera is now seen as a terrorist.

With this in mind, please sign up to photographer Simon Taylor's petition to 10 Downing Street to remove new restrictions on photography in the United Kingdom. Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act, introduced on February 16, makes it an offence to “elicit, publish or communicate information” relating to members of the Armed Forces, police and intelligence services if that information is “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.

Those convicted under Section 76 could face a fine or up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Update: cutting from NUJ's latest newsletter, not on the Terrorism Act but on the cuts we face in the regional press;

Please lobby UK Members of Parliament – NOW

Tomorrow (Wednesday) NUJ members are lobbying the UK parliament over the massive job cuts in the regional media. If you can’t attend but live in the UK please support the activity by sending a letter to your MP NOW. You can find a suggested text and a free, quick way to send it here.

Let’s make regional media the talk of the House of Commons. If you plan to attend and you haven’t received a briefing from NUJ HQ please email

Thursday, 19 March 2009


A bunny rabbit overlooks an overturned fire truck in Waterloo roundabout earlier today. © Magnus Andersson

Came across this overturned fire truck on my way to a job today, I think he was going a bit too fast through Waterloo roundabout...and he wasn't even on call!

Chaos ensued as all traffic was stopped southbound over Waterloo bridge, but incredibly, no one was hurt, not even the driver.

Friday, 13 March 2009

A right Royal Friday 13th

My royal press pass from today, Camberwell, 2009 © Magnus Andersson

I'm not generally a superstitious person but I always get a bit nervous about this date in the diary. As always happens though, it turned out be another normal Friday, at least up until midday, when I found out that I had the chance to go on the Royal Rota! The opportunity to photograph a member of that strange family is never one to be passed up.

Prince Harry and an adoring crowd reflected in the bus windows at his 'fathers' wedding in Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

My first break in the industry came while I was a still a first-year photojournalist student at LCC, when I'd managed to secure a unique spot for the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla in Windsor. My then girlfriend (and now close friend) works across the road from the Guildhall where the wedding was taking place and the BBC had paid £5,000 to use half of their balcony, perfectly elevated above the thronging crowds on the high street. The other half was mine to use, for free! Thanks, Mandy!

Marching band before the wedding, Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

I called around to various agencies and explained the situation, and Clive Dixon at Rex Features was the first to say 'yes, we want the pictures, what do you need?' So they lent me a monstrous 400/2.8 and a body to go with my other two bodies and student kit. Its worth remembering that I'd never even handled a 300/2.8 before, so it was a steep learning curve. I met up with Clive in the morning, did some scouting, mounted my first ever remote camera on the railing and learnt that Rex had a whole bunch of photographers there that day. All of a sudden I was part of the team!

Prince Nazi Harry gives the thumbs up, Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

The pictures came out OK, even though I was shooting with new gear, shooting and processing RAW for the first time, and I filed from my girlfriends computer, right next to BBC's temporary studio which was set up in the office. Quite perplexing to be able to watch yourself shit yourself working, screened on a TV right next to you...

The man who is 2nd in line to the throne waves at me, Windsor, 2005, four years before holding the door for me © Magnus Andersson

Today, Prince William came to Camberwell to visit St Giles' Trust, a place which helps ex-offenders get back on track after prison. As usual, these are highly orchestrated events where the media is always kept at an armslenght, which means it is nigh on impossible to get a decent shot, from the angle you want, with the background you need, and the right people in the shot. But still, we attend in the hope of at least getting a memorable picture.

Sniper police man with binoculars observing the crowd from a church roof top, Windsor, 2005 © Magnus Andersson

To be quite honest, I don't support the idea of a Royal family, I say be-gone-with-them and redistribute the wealth to the people again, but I'm not in charge so that might have to wait a while. Anyway, if you can get them looking funny, you've got your shot, never mind the occassion! Below is my contribution; a mug shot (boom boom) of Chazza aka Prince Charles from 2006 in Deptford.

Mug shot of horse face Prince Charles in Deptford, 2006 © Magnus Andersson

PS. some of you might recall this incident where I held the door for Dame Kelly Holmes. Today, the person who is 2nd in line to the throne, held the door for me! Yes, Prince William held the door for a foreign anti-royalist photojournalist. Hear, hear! Sadly I cant show you any pic's from today's shoot as they haven't gone to press yet, and even then I probably wouldn't show them as it was all bit per your usual 'royal' assignment.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Arrested for NOT taking pictures

Terror suspect without any pictures... © Channel M

Seriously, this is quite funny, but contrasting that story is this piece from The Guardian, which shows how police specifically target journalists and keep the info on file for seven years. You have to wonder why the police feels it must control the media?

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Sod it

Spring flowers out in the gardens of Horniman Museum, 18/02/09 © Magnus Andersson

What's the point in moping around? The blog will keep rolling, because life doesn't stop. The picture is for my friend Monica who had heard that the daffodils are out in London, here's the proof (although I'm not horticultured enough to say if that's actually a most likely isn't). This is actually from Feb 18th! Today I also noticed that the cherry trees have sprung out here as well, so spring is definitely on its way.

On Tuesday I had a great day at my old university where I did a two hour chat with the first year photojournalism students about the trials and tribulations of working for a regional paper. Nearly all of the 28-strong class turned up and nobody fell asleep which means that my old tutor Nigel is doing a fine job there! Thanks for having me, old boy and young students.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Neil & Chris, what's the answer?

Mural in a school in New Cross, from today. © Magnus Andersson

I'm going through a bit of a 'What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?' period at the moment and whilst Pet Shop Boys asks a good question, I'm not getting any answers, so the blog will probably suffer as I suffer.

I'll be back though, hopefully a bit less pathetic, because work keeps me going, and my friends of course, one of which will comfort me in The Dove in a few minutes.