Monthly Archives: November 2011

Protest, Police and Practice

This Wednesday 2,000-odd protesters took to the streets of London. They gathered outside ULU and then marched towards Moorgate; the cuts were of course the topic of the day. It was also the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe’s first public order nightmare since his taking up the position in September of this year.

‘Total policing’ is the philosophy employed by the new Commissioner and on Nov 9, this style of policing was more than apparent as 4,000 officers escorted the protesters along the route of march, ensuring that no break-away groups caused havoc along the way – and because policing appears far less complex in a controlled space.

It was largely free from drama other than the odd bottle thrown and occasional prod from the police.

More importantly for me, I met an accomplished photojournalist and accompanied him throughout the day. A great chance to listen, learn and sprint to positions of photographic opportunity. I am deeply appreciative of his help and mentoring.

The following photographs are without a specific focus other than to convey a little of the atmosphere of the march. Protests are a great challenge to shoot and allow you to test acquired knowledge and techniques in a fast-paced and plentiful environment.

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Shop Shots

A few shots of 123, a once (illegal) gun factory.

All taken with the wonderful 50mm workhorse.

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Wine Time

Now this was a cracker.

I ve never had the pleasure of ‘tasting’ wine before. It’s a fine experience and one that I would certainly wish on others. Accompanied by a writer, I sat (and stood a little), through an hour and a half of the most pleasant of jobs – shooting a private session.

The Antique Wine Academy in Marylebone was set-up in September of this year. It boasts a wine-orientated lecture theatre, bespoke tasting tables and reputable tutors. Wine tasting is but one of the many courses and services offered at the academy; wine investment help and tours are also available, amongst others.

We met the MD, head of PR and one of their notable tutors, John Stimpfig. It was truly the most relaxed of interviews.

The photos taken will comprise a culture piece in City and Angel Magazine

The food offered was wonderful

Stephen Williams, MD

John Stimpfig

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The Automation Station, Industry and the One that Got Away

Welcome to the Auto-ID laboratory, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing.

Yesterday I made my way by train up to Cambridge to meet Professor Andy Neely, a leading authority in the measurement and management of performance in the manufacturing sector. Take this with a pinch of salt (I am far from an expert, not quite an amateur), but I am sure that is more-or-less the refining and improving of management systems (or philosophies) and manufacturing processes operated and utilised at factory level; making more streamlined the way in which products are produced/manufactured and more effective the framework that manages the processes involved in the production.

He also holds positions at both the University of Cambridge and Cranfield School of Management.

And to have any chance of improvement there must exist, of course, the capacity to measure efficiency and output amongst other variables. Only then can systems and processes be developed further. This appears to be one of his strengths and an important one at that. The UK economy relies considerably on the sector. It employed around 2.6 million people and developed near to £140bn in goods and services back in 2009. For it to survive and thrive, it must adapt and innovate.

Professor Neely is an academic in a world of ginormous structures loaded with machinery and filled with a mechanical air. Another facet of that world is the sterile operations of pioneering research facilities. During my visit, I struggled to reconcile what I thought to represent manufacturing and what actually represents it. I wanted the heat of industrial toil but felt only air-conditioned air. The two worlds exist together or not at all and I would be foolish to think on the contrary, but my perception of this unique world has been invariably shaped by my father’s work – past, present and future – in the industry and also the six months I spent as a production line operative.

The purpose of meeting Prof and robot was to shoot a few images for a manufacturing photography competition. My attention was not given to this work and I ve now ended up with photos that convey a bright white world of research and refinement; not the clanging and banging of materiel on the factory floor. The deadline will pass too soon and I haven’t the time to do what I’d like. It is the one that got away. There will always be another time!

The future of the industry is developed in places like this and by men like him, but I’d much rather focus on the unsung labour of those working the early, late and night shift patterns of the 24 hour, 365 day a year institution.

I was allowed 10 minutes.

The lab

And then the dodgy (and unintentional) PR shot.

Prof Neely

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Kitchen and Camera

Early last week a wonderful opportunity was thrown my way. Prior to my (now ended) studies I spent a significant amount of time in Paris; it was there that I became friends with a hugely talented chef, Sam White. Four years later I discovered that he was working in the French Embassy kitchen, catering for a number of reputable guests. A gold gilded door presented itself to me, half open.

On Tuesday I peered through the door; now I want to pass through it.

The Head Chef and his team appear keen to collaborate on further experimental shoots. The focus is movement on the plate, chopping board and dish. This is a fresh and exciting project for me and one I have already embraced with open arms – and mind. How do you breathe actual life into the inanimate, into a still life image?

To better convey this intended movement the Head Chef placed in front of me his favourite book, a collection of works by Salvador Dali. After a brief fit of panic and cognitive fright, composure was fully restored and strangely enlightened. I was shown Nature Morte Vivante, or Living Still Life. I am particularly appreciative of this extraordinary example for it has provided us, already, with the necessary conceptual foundations to begin our project. The very notion that the inanimate can be animated enthuses and excites.

All that is required of us is to pour, drop, drip and click – and of course, sweat some.

The following shots were taken over an afternoon and comprise the reasonably restrained explorative stages of the venture. After the reportage…

The patisserie chef finishing off his dishes

Pears aplenty I do apologise, but I only caught them at the end of lunch service. I'd definitely like to do more of this though.

A scoop of liquorice ice cream is still to be placed but I missed that one!

The head chef and a particular attention to detail, I am sure

And now the shoot. You must forgive for me for two reasons: I am awaiting the names of the dishes and the backdrop and reflectors certainly need refining.

With various tweaks, the pouring idea can be worked well

Without the spoon, swirling and pouring may very well be worth the pursuit

I am keen to get some props in the mix

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