Poll Tax Riots
Massive Turn Out
I like this shot because the foreground has those six people standing there which gives the picture a lot of dept. What I do remember is that it was a hot day.
When I photograph demonstrations I always keep a look out for people who are not in the event. Most of the times what is happening around the event are more interesting. I like the way one of the children is reaching out, as if she is going to fall. The face on the old woman is beautiful.
When doing any sort of project a variety of photos is important. I like to work close and not use long lenses too much. I don’t say a lot when I am taking pictures. I just like to watch and laugh.
With this shot I was focusing on the flags. I was trying to mirror them with the march. I really enjoy mirroring things with people. It’s a good exercise for photographers too. I don’t know if this shot works with the three flags and the three placards.
What you don’t see in the picture is there are a lot of photographers around me as I took these shots. The girl looks very worried; I think she was a friend or his girlfriend. There were still rocks and bottles coming down as the medic attended to him. The shot looks a bit flat (little contrast) because I was shooting against the light.
To give your story some photographic pace you need to do some long and close shots. I just liked the dynamic of the guy as he danced and whistled.
This is one of my favorite photos of the march. I really like the light here, especially the reflections of the people on the ground. It looks like it had been raining but it didn’t. What I find most interesting about demonstrations is when they are finished; people seem to be more relaxed.
Climbing a Tree
The bare trees add to this shot. All my black and white work was shot on Tri X and bulk rolled, meaning I’d buy 30m of Kodak film and put the film into canisters. It was a lot cheaper than colour and easier to develop.
Those boxes are like a line of defense for the police. Trying to find something different in the very ordinary is difficult. Waiting and watching is important in photography.
Attacking a Police Van
I don’t think I’m very good at this sort of photography. You have to stay very calm and composed. In those days most of the cameras were manual so you had to be careful and not to get carried away with yourself and stay focused on your settings. How war photographers get their shots is beyond me.
The Poll Tax was very unpopular and mobilized a lot of people. This is an establishing shot and I tried to show how big the march was.
With this shot I wanted to show how violent the march became without showing violence.
Using placards to frame this protester makes the shot more interesting. It’s not always easy to make interesting shots but using form can do that. Try to think outside the box sometimes.
Getting too close is sometimes not a good idea. I wanted to show the classical architecture, police and demonstrators together. Stepping back gave me a chance to include all of those elements.
I like to show how violent things can get without showing the violence. This protester was hit with something and the blood on his neck with the light falling on his arm gives a good example of this contrasting beauty. I don’t think this photo would be as strong in colour.