Archive for February, 2015

February Branch Meeting: Self-Publishing

17th February, 2015


6.00 pm Tuesday 24 February 2015, Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP

At this month’s branch meeting we will be discussing self-publishing, a topic that proved very popular when we featured it a couple of years ago. We are really pleased to be welcoming back one speaker and bringing in a new one. Both will be giving illustrated presentations followed by questions from the floor. With more and more photographers exploring the possibilities created by the self publishing market, this meeting will look at its financial potential as well as the prospects for career profile and development.

Mohara Gill is the Art Buyer for Foyles flagship Charing Cross branch, the biggest and best known book shop in the UK. She has 15 years experience in book buying and selling and has personally developed the photography/self publishing section over the past few years. During that time she has witnessed how the business has changed, with more books going online while certain niche markets have expanded. She is uniquely placed to answer branch members’ questions about the possibilities of self-publishing and the potential market for our work. You can hear an interview with her here.

Marc Vallée is a London-based documentary photographer whose work focuses on the London graffiti scene, anti-skateboarding architecture, youth culture and political dissent. His work has been published and exhibited worldwide, and his self-published photography zines are stocked by many bookshops, including Claire de Rouen Books (London), Foyles (London), Flotsam Books (Tokyo), Rebel Unlit (Berlin), Ti Pi Tin Books (London), The Photographers’ Gallery (London) and Urban Spree Gallery (Berlin). In 2014 alone Marc published three zines: a second edition of Anti-Skateboarding Devices, which was featured in the Guardian and reviewed in Source Magazine; Queer, which documents two years in the life of writer and artist Dom Lyne at his home in Camden Town – tattoos, sexuality and mental health with a nod to American novelist Dennis Cooper; and Number Six, which explores the tension between public and private space in the context of contemporary youth culture. Marc also had a book, Millbank and that Van, published by Café Royal Books. Over 36 black and white pages the book documents the London 2010 student protests against government plans to raise tuition fees.  And he also collaborated on the huge 400 page Long Live Southbank book on the history and culture of the Undercroft skateboarding spot and the successful campaign to save it. More here.

Following the discussion we will be dealing with regular branch business.




Meeting with the Chief Inspector of the Pan London Task Force

5th February, 2015

I am pleased to report that earlier this week John Rogers and I attended our inaugural meeting with the Chief Inspector of the Pan London Task Force whose responsibilities include the Metropolitan Police Territorial Support Group (TSG) Marine Support Unit, Dog Section, Air Support Unit and Mounted Branch. Two other officers also attended the meeting from the same command. Those officers a SGT and PC are responsible for Training and Professional Standards. Our meeting exceeded the 90 minutes allocated time by nearly 45 minutes. Both John and I clearly explained what we do as Photojournalists/Press Photographers and police also explained what their role is.

The most astonishing fact that came out of the meeting was during the first 10 minutes when I presented them with copies of the MPS Media Guidelines. There was a look of utter surprise on their faces! I picked up on this and asked if they had seen them before? And to both the surprise and shock of both of us they freely admitted that they had not! This was discussed in detail and they acknowledged that they were made aware of them and that during briefings ahead of large events, demos and other jobs mention of the guidelines and the ability to facilitate Bona Fide News gatherers should be facilitated wherever possible. This fact is made clear to all officers present. (I have been to these briefings and can confirm this is correct) Police voiced their concern over the issue of Press Cards and feel that on occasion they are possibly issued too freely and possibly not to professional Bona Fide News gatherers.

In addition due to the numerous issuing Gate Keepers it is not always easy, in a fast moving volatile situation, to identify them straight away save for the word PRESS on the card. They also voiced concerns that if they themselves wish to make a complaint about the behavior, attitude and demeanor of a Press Card Holder where and how can they make this complaint? That is a good point well made by police. We all know as Bona Fide News gatherers and indeed members of the public we are able to make a complaint (s) against police and indeed know where and to do it which they accept and indeed have no problem with (This I can also verify) In fact the Chief Inspector made it abundantly clear that if any of us see a police officer NOT wearing shoulder ID Epaulettes/Name Badges we must complain.

Both John and myself have been invited back again in the near future to make a presentation to TSG officers in a wider forum.

The meeting was constructive, informative, educational and indeed a door opener for more educational dialogue which will clearly give police a much better understanding of what it is we do as professional Photojournalists/Photographers, as well as us learning something more about policing.

This I am sure through a process of discussion and education will enable us to do our jobs easier. I have now received feedback from police who stated that they felt the meeting was worthwhile and look forward to our forthcoming presentation and future meetings. Personally I have noticed a positive change of attitude for the better from police on the street. Thanks to John Rogers for his input on the day, which was invaluable.

Nigel Howard.