Earlier this week, I got some great photos from my usual haunt of the riverfront by Tower Bridge. I always make myself deviate through there on my cycle home if the light is good, and this week I was rewarded handsomely for that. I love the picture of the city, where the light is yellow, pink and a gentle green. It was generally a lovely, warm evening, with people milling around by the water and some beautiful scenes. So much of Get Snappy is about taking more photos in London and these might be some of my best.
I spent most of the back end of this week on the sofa, after getting a wisdom tooth pulled on Wednesday. My aim was to be feeling well enough to march on Saturday for a People’s Vote. I did make it to the march – I mean, I would have gone regardless, but it was nice to only need to pop a couple of Ibuprofen before heading out and feel good all day – and also managed to get some great pictures of the protestors and witty signs. There were a million people marching in London and the atmosphere was wonderful. I’d never been to a demonstration like that before and I loved it. I hope some of the pictures below (or in the blog I wrote about it) give you a sense of the enthusiasm. Yes, it was a protest, but it was joyful as much as it was angry, with a real sense of togetherness as we all marched, joked and cheered together. It felt like everyone was happy to be there speaking out and that feeling was infectious.
It was harder than I expected to photograph the march and keep walking with my group. There were so many people and very little connectivity – too many people trying to use the Internet and phone signal at once – that it would have been almost impossible to find each other had we been separated. This did mean that I had to be quick with the photos and didn’t have the time to climb up above the crowd or experiment much with angles. We were also crammed in with everyone else so it was hard to get the shots I wanted, especially with the signs and flags being waved around. But I guess that this is the joy and challenge of photographing such a dynamic event; you don’t have time to line things up and prepare, you’ve got to be quick and bold in snapping the good shots and scenes. I really enjoyed trying to catch the flags at a good moment – there were certainly enough to practise on!
I did think a lot about how much I included people in my pictures, especially those who I couldn’t speak to before snapping a photo. In general, I feel very uncomfortable taking pictures of people I don’t know without asking their permission (which is probably a good thing). Most of the pictures I took ended up being of signs and flags, the people I was with, or crowd scenes. There wasn’t enough time to be asking people to take a picture so it seemed best to snap away and just be respectful. That being said, everyone was out participating in a public demonstration and there were a lot of cameras. People broadly seemed very relaxed about being in photos and we were asked for photos a number of times (which we all loved). It’s always important to be respectful but this was definitely a camera-happy place, which was great.
I don’t think I love the photos I got from the march, but in hindsight, I am happy with quite a few of them (then again, I didn’t really have any expectations). It was a good learning experience, both politically and photographically. I would definitely photograph another protest in future, and I think it would be interesting to go alone to have more time to dedicate to getting great pictures, rather than taking pictures while marching and trying to keep up with a group. Then again, the point was to march! So I guess it will always be a balance.
I also made an awesome tie-dye t-shirt for my friend Iona’s birthday, reunited with my childhood best friend after her long trip to New Zealand and ill-advisedly tried out a new bar in Bermondsey despite being on strong painkillers, though fortunately there aren’t any photos of that.
Which photo is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!