Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 Sideways Summary

A brand new year is just around the corner so I'll try and summarise 2011 with some of my favourites shots/shoots along with some pictures that never ended up going on the blog. I'll be the first one to admit that blogging has become a bit of a burden this year. The black hole of never ending good stuff that is Twitter overtook the sharing of online content. The planning of my wedding took up an enormous amount of time too, but lets be honest, laziness is at the heart of the problem. Enough with the excuses, here we go.

The moment my now wife said 'yes' to me on top of a castle overlooking the sea, with friends and family from all over the world gathered in one spot, was definitely the highlight of the year (and my life!), and these two pictures are from our resulting mini-honeymoon to Dorset, where amongst other things, we took in the delight that is Durdle Door.

One the funniest and most rewarding of my own projects that I worked on was the phenomenon of same-sex dancing. This picture is from an event at The Rivoli in Brockley, where couples from all over the world come to compete in ballroom dancing. An audio slide show will hopefully be complete in time for next years competition.

Sitting beneath West Norwood Cemetery is one of the country's few large-scale catacombs. Known as the Millionaire's Cemetery, it was one of the most fashionable places in the city to be buried during Victorian times, when death was commemorated in the most indulgent way a family could afford, and catacomb burial was seen as the pinnacle of high status. Chipped and moulding coffins are on plain display. There are approximately 1,500 coffins down here, with capacity for about 2,000.

The first thing to greet you when you enter the catacombs is the old hydraulic catafalque (above), aka coffin lift. At the end of a funeral, as something of a dramatic conclusion, this would have been used to lower the coffin straight into the catacombs from the old chapel above (which was destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War). Waiting below would have been a team of pall bearers, who would have then unloaded the coffin and taken it to its allocated space. An awesome place, which really gave me the creeps.

Since 2010, I've had the pleasure of working with Kick It Out. This shot is from one of their many coaching sessions for black and Asian managers, where England U19 manager Noel Blake (R) and Chelsea FC's Michael Emenalo (L) took part. The work they do is much needed, with only two black managers involved in top-level football in this country, and as racism charges against John Terry and Luis Suarez have proved, there is still a lot to do to stamp out racism from the game.

More sports, this time a nice portrait. I was sent down to Ladywell Fields in Lewisham to get a site shot as they had just had a new surface laid down on the athletics track. A chap which I vaguely recognised was about to start training and I got chatting to him. Turns out it was Conrad Williams, a Team GB athlete training for next years London Olympics, and he was more than happy to pose for a few shots.

A final sports pic, this one from Wimbledon, where sadly I only had time to go for one afternoon. This is ultimate champion Novak Djokovic twisting his arm unbelievably as he serves. I love how this looks and have a whole series of these.

A couple of shots from the flash mob outside City Hall in May, where security guards have made it into a sport to stop photographers from getting their cameras out. Getting creative with the message are Leah Borromeo (top) and NUJ's Jess Hurd. More on all things related at PHNAT.

The Royal wedding was fun! The nation went into hyper drive and got a day off for their troubles. Little girls dressed as princesses and neighbours threw street parties in a seldom seen show of friendliness. For me, it was a extremely busy day, but luckily I didn't have to go into Buckingham Palace, where photographers have been speaking of the job from hell. I was well fed and watered all day. This shot is from East Greenwich Pleasaunce.

More royalty, here's Camilla getting a stiff upper lip from an equestrian friend as she visited Ebony Horse Club in the middle of Brixton.

The biggest story in London was probably the August riots. I came back from work just as Hackney was erupting. I went down to have a look and within 10 minutes I'd seen three people being robbed of their cameras. There was no police in sight, people were committing robbery right left and centre, and as I wasn't covering it for the paper, I decided it wasn't worth the risk. Numerous photographers got beat up and robbed, and I'm kind of glad that I stayed away. The above pic's are of the aftermath in Woolwich and Lewisham, but, the riots also brought some good things. How about these (below) riot inspired custom finger nails from an art exhibition in Peckham?

Finally, here's a round up of links to some of the numerous 'Pictures of the Year' out there:

Tom Jenkins of The Guardian, AFP's Leon NealTime, The Guardian, BBC, Greenpeace, The New York TimesThe Telegraph, MSNBC, The Big Picture parts I, II and III, Reuters UK and global, Flickr, The Daily Beast, British Red Cross, to name but a few, and of course the pictures of the year in LEGO.

Happy New Year to all of you!

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