Thursday, March 30, 2006

'Black Tuesday', CPE Riots, Paris. 28th March 2006

On Tuesday 28th March 2006, Paris was brought to a standstill as hundreds of thousands of people, most of them students, took to the streets to protest against the new labour law known as the First Employment Contract (CPE). The new law states that youths under the age of 26 can be fired without notice in the first 2 years of their employment-in effect it is a two year probation period. Before the law when someone was fired they received a year's salary severance pay. The law is aimed a tackling unemployment problems across France.

I and a good friend of mine, Naresh Verlander, decided the night before that this would be an event worth covering, and so travelled over from London early Tuesday morning.

The beginning of the event was largely peaceful, and the turnout was both huge and diverse, with young and old demonstrating side by side.

However up to 4,000 riot police had been deployed in preperation for expected trouble, and sure enough as the march neared Place de Republique the mood became somewhat more tense and menacing.

This section of the march had been taken over by youths who clearly were out to cause trouble, many turning up drunk and with ready made projectiles, others sporting scarves and balaclavas.

The police initially stood their ground but due to the previous weeks troubles they had been encouraged to arrest as many demonstrators as possible. This meant that they frequently surged forward in snatch squads, tackling youths that had been marked by police sharpshooters using paintball guns. The police made frequent charges with battons and the use of CS spray which would cling to the skin and clothing causing irritation. Over the course of the day they were to make 488 arrests.

This led to retaliation on the part of the rioters with increasingly dangerous projectiles being launched at both police lines and the multitude of journalists covering the event. In total there were 46 demonstrators injured and 8 policemen, I also personally wintessed a number of photographers and camermen getting beaten up.

Some students attempted a sit down protest, but the more aggressive ones successfully disrupted this.

As the afternoon grew into evening weary riot police maintained an uneasy level of control, peering over the battered and stained riot shields. However the battle for Place de Republique was far from over.

As dusk settled so the violence increased, with the riot police making frequent charges and retreats. They were eventually forced to resort to tear gas and water canons in an attempt to disperse the hostile crowds.

Enough is enough-whilst photographing the water canons I managed to have a tear gas canister explode within about three feet from where I was standing. Stupidly I had been wearing contacts and so the effect was somewhat multiplied, this coupled with the fast fading light made me decide to call it a day.

Stephen Fry

The shots were part of a press shoot done recently for King's College PR, the actor Stephen Fry was making a documentary on psychiatric illnesses, and was visiting part of King's College Hospital.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Polaroid Portrait

I recently picked up an old polaroid camera from a charity shop, because I've been after one for ages. This one is an old Polaroid 'Spirit' and because it's knackered the pictures seem to take after the name. This was a bit of an eerie self portrait I took in the bathroom mirror.

London street shots...

These are just some randoms shots that I took in London the other day (the bottom two are from a few months ago). Top shot is your classic billboard pic; could have been better but it was taken at a demo and if I'd waited any longer I would have been run over by the marauding masses. The second is a sign I saw the other day in London-was actually sat on a bus and saw someone taking a pic with a mobile phone so curiosity got the better of me and I jumped off to have a look. Third is a standard Covent Garden enterntainment. Fourth is a shot taken looking down the Thames last autumn and it hasn't been photoshoped much at all (dodged out the river a tad)-pretty dramatic but at the same time compositionally boring!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Anti-war demo, 16th March 2006

These were shots from the latest anti-war marches in London organized by the 'Stop the War' Coalition, this one was designed to coincide with the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. This series kind of work in chronological order, with the beginning of the march at the top of this post.

Trippplicate photo-shoot

This was part of a shoot I did recently for Trippplicate, a comedy trio that have done numerous shows at the Edinburgh festivals amognst other things. It was fun shoot mainly because of their quirky sense of humour!

Find out more about them at:

PR work: Breast Cancer Care & Lavender Trust

This is some recent work I did for Breast Cancer Care to highlight 'Lavender Week', part of the charity that deals with promoting awareness of breast cancer in younger women. It was done in conjunction with Harvey Nichols and Miss Selfridge at their main London department stores.

Charity Netball Calender

This was a shoot that I was asked to do for a friend at University in order to raise money for charity. Not something I've done before, but I can't say I wasn't enthusiastic to help in anyway I could! Everyone had good fun doing it which was the main thing. Top photo is by Naresh Verlander who was assisting me.

The Right Honourable Peter Brooke

Peter Brooke is a former Conservative Cabinet member, and Home Secretary. In 1989 he was made Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a post he held until 1992. He was famous for the important work that he did during his term of office in the province.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Eastern Promise: Under The Crescent

This was a photo-story I put together for Diplo on Turkey and its future in the EU, it was published at the end of last year but I've only just got hold of the pdf's so thought I'd post them here.