Archive for January, 2015

Working Lives #2: John Sturrock

29th January, 2015

This is the second video interview produced for the branch’s Working Lives project, which grew out of a discussion at a branch meeting in 2012, at the height of the furore surrounding the Hacked Off campaign and the Leveson enquiry. At the time, photographers of all kinds were being maligned as a result of allegations about the behaviour of a very small number of so-called paparazzi, and it seemed clear that the public at large had little idea of the great variety of work that photojournalists do on a daily basis.

In this video branch member John Sturrock, a freelance, talks about his working life, starting with his early work on social and political issues for the renowned Report photo agency in the mid-1970s, and going on to describe how he has adapted to the many changes in the industry over subsequent years, culminating in his current photography on major regeneration and construction projects.

A higher resolution version of this video can be viewed on the LPB Vimeo site, and the first interview in the series, with Anne-Marie Sanderson, chief photographer at North London and Herts News, can be seen here.




24th January, 2015

Here’s a brief report on what the Photographers’ Council has got up to this year. Our most important achievement has been to establish an authoritative voice for photographers throughout the union. This was – we were – crucial in getting rid of that one day course for reporters on taking “professional” (!!) pictures with their iPhones, before too many photographers had left the NUJ. This has now been replaced with, would you believe, a similar course teaching “ how to record audio and how to shoot video using your smartphone “, again, in one day! So it’s a good thing the last Council meeting agreed a survey to go out to all photographers ( and videographers, not that they’ll need it ) to find out what kind of training courses in professional – repeat, truly professional – videography they would like.

“Replacing professional photographers with “citizen” journalists, not to mention reporters and their iPhones, has unfortunately been the story of the year. Starting with Johnston Press and Local World, paper after local paper has made its staff photographers redundant. So the Council initiated training courses for staff photographers turning freelance. Which would not have been possible without the help of Freelance Organiser John Toner.

Two have been held so far, and I’m afraid we may well need repeats in the near future. We also initiated the recent NUJ counter blast to the Wellers’ as yet unsuccessful attempt to get photos of children if not banned outright then pixelated ( they keep moving their goal posts ).

And, Council members have now started a blog, first an opinion piece here, and a report from LPB’s John Rogers here.

The best is yet to come – we’re organising a conference for this October. All thoughts and suggestions welcome, to Council member for London Carole Edrich ( ).

Finally, the Council owes its thanks to our servicing officer Dominic Bascombe, and also to Simon Chapman and Pete Jenkins who jointly hold the NEC seat for Photographers, and fight our corner at every meeting.

Andrew Wiard –    

Chair, NUJ Photographers’ Council

(LPB members can read other reports prepared for the AGM on 27 January by logging in and going to the Members area of the website.  If you are not registered you can do so by emailing

Branch Meeting and AGM, Tuesday 27 January 2015

19th January, 2015


6.00 om Tuesday 27 January 2015, Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP


This month’s branch meeting will afford members an opportunity to discuss the present state of our industry and how to survive in it.

2014 saw brutal redundancies across our industry, particularly for staff photographers. At the same time we applauded the NUJ for providing courses in freelancing for recently sacked photographers. Also one NUJ branch led the way when its reporters flatly refused to do work previously carried out by the likes of us. What 2015 holds for us remains to be seen.

This meeting will help equip our members to survive in a rapidly changing workplace. Our panel of experts will be responding to your questions rather making speeches, to allow for the maximum amount of time for discussion.  Stuart Freedman is a an award winning freelancer whom has worked all over the world and will soon be publishing a new book.  Antonio Olmos works on contract with the Guardian newspaper, also teaches and his Landscape of Murder project has been celebrated far & wide.  David Hoffman has perfected the art of running a successful picture library and getting the most from his stock.



Prior to the discussion we will be holding our Annual General Meeting, at which we will be electing a new committee – the people who will help organise branch activities over the next year.

New nominees are urgently needed. It’s a great way to contribute towards the running of the branch and its campaigning work, and to keep up to speed with the issues facing London’s lens journalists and the wider world of photojournalism.

There are eight posts to be filled: Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, Welfare Officer, Equality Officer, and Union Learning Representative. The job titles are self-explanatory, but if you are thinking of standing and would like to know more, please contact one of the current committee members, either via the branch website or the branch Facebook page.

None of the responsibilities specific to each post involve a huge time commitment, and much of the committee’s business is discussed and decided collectively at the monthly meeting, or via email. Positions can be job-shared between individuals, and new-comers are warmly welcomed. No previous experience is necessary – there will be people available to help you. We pride ourselves in coming from a wide range of work and political backgrounds to ensure that all members feel represented.

Any full branch member can be nominated for a post. In addition, we have customarily also elected two, three or four additional members to offer general support. Temporary and Student members cannot hold a formal position, but in the past have been co-opted onto the committee in a non-portfolio role. Any branch member can come to the AGM without prior notice and ask to be nominated.

We will also be electing two auditors to check the branch accounts at the end of the financial year.

Over the five years of its existence, the London Photographers Branch has made a significant impact both within and beyond the union. A strong and active committee is essential if we are to continue to build on our successes.