my london diary index
 

November 2008

Swap Don't Shop
Burma 24hr Hunger Strike
Protest at ID cards start
Justice 4 Ricky Bishop March
       
PARIS SUPPLEMENT
PS: Tourist Montmartre at Night
PS: Le Paris Nord
PS: Ceremonies du 11 novembre
PS: Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise
PS: Night in the City Centre
PS: More Shows, more walking
PS: The Canal, Les Halles and more
PS: Friday - More Shows
PS: Saturday- Art & Tourism
PS: Sunday: Marais, MEP, Seine
PS: Buttes Chaumont / Belleville Traversée
PS: Paris Photo Party
       
Polish Independence in London
Orange Lodge Remembrance Parade
War Widows Lay Wreaths at Cenotaph
Leake St Grafitti
Bee-keepers protest

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Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

Other sites with my pictures include
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>Re:PHOTO My thoughts on photography

All pictures © Peter Marshall 2008, all rights reserved.
To reproduce images or buy prints or other questions and comments, contact me. Selected images are also available from Alamy and Photofusion

Swap Don't Shop

Topshop, Oxford St, Sat 29 Nov

The "Get out of Topshop Jail Free" card came in handy - but he still got an Anti-Social Behaviour Act order
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"Take your clothes off! Swap them with your friends for FREE!" was the message from the Space Hijackers, who decided to set up their clothes swap - "the restyling fashion mash-up event of the year" - on the lower ground floor of TOPSHOP at Oxford Circus. The idea was to demonstrate that "we don't need to spend money we don't have on things we don't need."

The action, designed as it was to subvert one of the iconic temples of consumerism seemed to baffle police and didn't amuse the security staff, who stopped me taking pictures there. One other photographer was manhandled out of the store, but I was treated very politely, with several security men standing between me and the action and telling me that photograph was not allowed. On of the store managers even offered to personally help me find any clothes I might wish to buy elsewhere in the store, a possibility I found most unlikely.

I left the store (with a rather large escort until I left the premises) and walked around to the side exit where I expected the clothes swappers to be ejected, arriving just before they emerged, and was able to photograph them continuing to swap clothes on the pavement in Regent Street. Here one policeman did attempt to prevent me from taking pictures, claiming I was causing an obstruction (which clearly I wasn't) and as usual I moved back a couple of feet before returning to take pictures when he moved away.

Things did threaten to get out of hand when a rather elderly police officer (at my age all policemen are supposed to look young), helped by a 'Red Cap' (rather sinister private security wardens employed by the 'New West End Company' to ensure shoppers don't step out of line) started to push people around, but mostly other officers took a more sensible approach, some even talking and joking with the swappers as they continued to exchange items of clothing on the pavement.

Some shoppers passing by stopped to watch, and a few took a leaflet, but there was no evidence of any Damascene conversions, most hurrying on clutching their loaded shopping bags, desperate to spend more money.

One of those taking part was held by the police for a while as they had decided he was the ringleader. He got a big cheer when he was released, waving his pink 'Get out of TOPSHOP Jail Free' Chance Card and the Anti-social Behaviour Act Notice for the Dispersal of Groups which the Met had given him. This required him to leave the Oxford St/Regent St area for the next 24 hours. Fortunately the map provided didn't include the Red Lion, where he announced his intention of going - and at this point I also left as I was already late for a meeting with friends in Streatham. Some of the others looked as if they were going to continue their fun along Oxford Street.
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Burma Democratic Concern 24hr Hunger Strike

Parliament Square, London 26-27 Nov 2008

Protesters opposite the Houses of Parliament
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The Burmese National League for Democracy (NLD), whose general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest in Burma, organised a 24hr hunger strike in solidarity with Burmese political prisoners starting at 9am on Wednesday 26 November in Parliament Square, London.

In particular the demonstration was to show support for Burmese student leaders imprisoned for 65 years by the Burmese military dictatorship, and to urge the UK Government and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take urgent action.

Those taking part wore white clothing, both because this is the prison uniform in Burma and also because white represents peace.

While I was taking pictures there was heavy traffic past the demonstrators and their banners, and a number of motorists sounded their horns to express support for the cause.
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Protest as ID cards start

Lunar House, Croydon, London Tuesday 25 Nov, 2008

Protesters outside Lunar House on the day the first ID cards are issued
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On the corner of George Street in Croydon, London, a November sun was warming the shoppers and office workers on their lunch breaks, but a few hundred metres north on Wellesley Road a biting Siberian wind seared the demonstrators outside Lunar House. It seemed appropriate that such a freezing blast should surround the UK headquarters of the Border and Immigration Agency and indeed be generated by its twenty stories of the grim early 1970s office complex. After all its raison d’être is to give would-be immigrants and asylum seeks an extremely cold reception.

Its bleak anonymity is also a warning of things to come for all of us in a Brave New Britain of state surveillance and control whose infrastructure is increasingly with us through security cameras, the interception of mobile phone signals and electronic communications and the planned introduction of universal ID cards.

The picket, called by London NoBorders and NO2ID, marked the start of Biometric ID cards, which are being issued from today, 25 November 2008, to all non-EU students and spouses applying for or renewing visas for study or marriage. The cards will have a photograph with name, date of birth, nationality, immigration status and biometric details, including fingerprints and digital facial image, will be stored on a chip on the card as well as being held indefinitely on the UK Identity Service database. Soon all foreign nationals in the UK will be required to have these cards, which will be rolled out to other groups including students who want a student loan by 2010. And from 2011 you will need to get one – and have your details on that database - if you want to renew or get a passport.

What worries many of us is not just the use to which our own government and security services might make of such data – linking to face recognition software working on images from security cameras and mobile phone data would enable our every move to be tracked – but the certainty that it will get into other hands – such as those of our US friends in the CIA, as well as criminal and commercial organisations who will have their own ideas about how such all-pervasive data might be used.

Among those at today’s demonstration was David Mery, one man who has achieved a small personal victory against the juggernaut database state.

Mery was stopped by police entering Southwark tube station on 28 July for being "calm on arrival, almost too calm" and having a largish rucksack and a strong French accent. It was three weeks after the London bombing – and - perhaps luckily for him, six days after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. This time at least the police didn’t shoot first and ask questions later, but his treatment in the months and years following the event can most favourably be described as Kafkaesque. He finally (or at least probably) succeeded in having both his fingerprints and DNA record removed from the police databases, but it took over two years of fighting. His blog and articles are essential reading for anyone who wonders why civil liberties are important.
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Justice 4 Ricky Bishop March

Brixton, London. Nov 22, 2008

Families of Ricky Bishop, Sean Rigg and Derek Bennett were among those taking part
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Ricky Bishop, Sean Rigg, Derek Bennett were the names on the banners and placards as demonstrators made their way from Brixton to Peckham on Saturday afternoon. Around 50 people had gathered outside the Tate Library for the march, organised by London branch of The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), "a grassroots organization, led by the black working-class community... founded in 1991 in Chicago by the African People's Socialist Party. "

After a short introduction, the march made its way up the high street to Brixton Police Station, where Ricky Bishop died after being arrested during "Operation Clean Sweep" - which they describe as a "modern day lynching" - on November 22, 2001. Others joined them there for a short rally around what they have named the "lynching tree" in front of the station where a number of arrested black men have died in highly suspicious circumstances.

Among those taking part were members of Bishop’s family, and those of Derek Bennett, shot in the back by armed police while holding a gun-shaped cigarette lighter in 2001, and Sean Rigg, who died after being taken ill in police custody in Brixton Police Station on Thursday 21 August 2008. There was a minute's silence in memory of the victims and family members added a wreath and other flowers to those already present on the lynching tree.

Speakers called for a boycott of the official enquiries that are designed to hide the truth and whitewash the police. Justice would only be delivered by the prosecution of all officers responsible for these and similar deaths, including ten officers who were named for their part in the murder of Ricky Bishop.

Speakers and the slogans chanted on the march called for an end to all official violence against the black community, and for economic development, with resources for black businesses rather than increased spending on police repression. They called for the community to get organised through groups such as the InPDUM as the only way to defend themselves.

More than 60% of black families live on less than half the national average income and they suffer from under-funded schools and welfare services, poor food and high levels of drugs, gun and knife crime. Marchers accuse the police and government of bringing drugs, guns and knives into the country and of carrying out a public policy of brutality to contain the African community through policies such as Operation Clean Sweep. Black men are harassed on the street, being stopped and searched 8 times more than the average, and a high percentage have had DNA samples taken against their will.

I left the march on its way to further rallies at Camberwell Green and Peckham Square. You can also see pictures here on My London Diary from the recent annual Whitehall march by the ‘United Friends and Families’ of those who have died in police custody.
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PARIS SUPPLEMENT

 

Millie and Jim's Paris Photo Party

Bastille, Paris. Thursday Nov 13, 2008

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It's always a delight to meet Millie and Jim Casper, and lensculture is one of the best web sites dealing with photography in an intelligent way - and showing a great deal of fine work in the online magazine and blog. So it's hardly surprising that their party during Paris Photo attracts a great crowd of very talented people including photographers, film-makers, publishers, gallery owners and others with an interest in the medium. I've decided not to caption these images and I'm not going to name-drop, but if you are up with the photographic scene there may be a few you recognise. On the linked pages they are presented in the order that I took them.

As well as the people, it helps that the champagne sparkles equally and there are plenty of fine things to nibble; if you need some air (or to smoke) the balcony has a fine view along the rue Saint Antoine. It really was hard to tear myself away to get the Metro back to my hotel around midnight; last year I hear the party was still going until an early breakfast.

As always I took many more pictures than appear here, and if anyone who was at the party and can't find themselves in a picture I'll happily look and see if I have one of you should you ask. And as usual I'll be happy to supply larger files if anyone in any of the pictures would like to print themselves a copy.
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Buttes Chaumont and Ronis's Belleville Traversée

Paris, Monday 17 Nov, 2008

We followed in the steps of Willy Ronis, recorded for his show at the Bar Floréal in 1999
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Monday we booked out of our hotel around 10h, leaving our luggage in the foyer to collect later and walked slowly to the 19e, exploring a few things on the way. Our first goal was Paris's most fantastic park, Buttes Chaumont, a former gypsum quarry and waste tip converted into gothic fantasy, and as we reached the temple on the top of its great mound above the lake we looked down and saw around a thousand school children taking part or cheering on the runners in a race around the lake.

From there we made our way south to Belleville and began to follow the route from Willy Ronis's la traversée de Belleville, which I had been given a few days earlier in the bar Floreal. Linda was keen to identify the exact locations of his pictures, and we managed a few, but some areas had been very extensively redeveloped so that no traces remained - even some of the streets were no longer quite in the same place. I was more interested in taking my own pictures.

Half way round his circuit we felt hungry, and on the rue des Pyrenees was a restaurant ‘Aux Monts D’Auvergne’ and we went in. It was good to end our stay in Paris with the best meal we ate there. I started with an exquisite egg and blue cheese dish, moved on to tasty and filling roast beef on a potato mountain, and was finished by a truly delicious chocolate surprise, a gateau to die for. Washed down by a decent cheap house red, it was a meal that money wouldn't buy in England, and even with the sinking pound at the sort of price you might well pay for chips with everything at a motorway service station.

After the meal, we managed to finish our circuit of Belleville and then walked back to our hotel to collect our luggage and wheeled it to the Gare du Nord in plenty of time to check in early for our Eurostar, which left to the second at 17.13 and despite the fire in the tunnel earlier in the year which has resulted in a slightly slower service, we pulled into St Pancras at 7pm and a bus and a train later werel home on the outskirts of London by 8pm. I can’t understand why some people still fly to Paris.
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Sunday: Marais, MEP, Seine...

Paris 16 Nov, 2008
Société Urbaine d’Air Comprimé (SUDAC) building
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Sunday we again left the hotel soon after breakfast, with Linda setting out to walk to attend morning service at the Protestant temple. I deviated half way and struck out towards my own chosen place of worship, the Maison Européene de la Photographie (MEP), but as this didn't open until 11h I had plenty of time for a wander around parts of the 3e and 4e.

I've written previously about the several shows I saw at the MEP, including a retrospective of Sabine Weiss, who was at the show signing books and talking to people. I knew a few of her pictures, but as so often the show revealed far more with some very moody images of Paris in the early 1950s. But her outstanding pictures were those of children taken in various cities and at various times, showing her ability to enter and share their world.

A few years ago I wrote a feature about Göksin Sipahioglu the Turkish photojournalist who made Paris his home and started his famous news agency 'SIPA', there. In many ways he could have been the man for whom ‘f8 and be there’ was coined, but the pictures in the smaller show about him sometimes showed rather more. I’m sorry that my earlier feature is no longer on line, but perhaps I might make a few revisions if I were to write again.

It took me roughly two and a half hours to make my way around the various shows in the MEP (though I didn’t stop long at the videos in the basement) and I walked out just as Linda arrived bearing supplies for lunch, some delicious flans which we sat and ate in a small garden not far away, entertained by a nearby (but not too near) Jewish jazz band, while we planned our afternoon.

Linda was heading for the new(ish) Bibliotheque nationale to see an exhibition of children's books, while I was intent on finding two Mois de la Photo shows, Recollections, by Philip Jones Griffiths, who dies earlier this year, and the other e by Patrick Tournebeouf. Despite confusingly being listed in the leaflet under different arrondissements both were in the same building at the same address (in the 13e.)

We decided the weather was good enough to walk east along by the Seine - much more pleasant on a Sunday as the riverside motorway is closed to traffic and taken over by cyclists, joggers, roller-bladers and walkers. Linda left me to cross the river at the recent complicated foot and cycle bridge dedicated to Simone de Beauvoir which took her onto the decking of the BN, while I continued further along the river hoping to find another bridge to cross.

While London's river is largely abandoned to a frontage of expensive flats, the Seine has kept much of its industry, even quite close to the centre of the city, and I was enjoying a walk past yards full of building supplies, sand and gravel.

Soon I was regretting having let Linda take our only map, as the path led under a couple of bridges - one carrying the Périphérique - with no access to them, and there was no other crossing in site. Eventually I crossed over several rather busy slip roads and climbed up some steps onto what turned out to be the Pont National, and crossed this, finding that the fine industrial building built in 1891 (Engineer: Joseph Leclaire, Architect: Lebris, now protected as a historic monument) for the Société Urbaine d’Air Comprimé (SUDAC) with the message in large text on its frontage: 'Distribution d'air Comprime', was now the very gallery for which I was looking. You can read about this show, and that by Patrick Tournebeouf here on >Re:PHOTO

These two shows kept me longer than I expected, and I had to rush back to the BN where I'd arranged to meet Linda, stopping a few times to again photograph a riverine industrial landscape. But I wasn't sorry to have to hurry, earier in the day it had been pleasant with the occasional bit of sun, but now there was the occasional shower swept across by a cold wind.

Linda had found the children's book exhibition very disappointing - certainly not up to the standards of the British Library (her employer a long time since.) Together we made our way again to Les Frigos, this time to see the show in Les Voutes by Magnum photographer Patrick Zachmann. I think his 'Un jour, la nuit' very much reflected the experiences of a photographer, a stranger in the various cities he visits, with nothing to do and nowhere to go in the early hours of the morning. It's a time when one would be better off in bed rather than on the streets, and to my eye the pictures reflected both the boredom and the tawdriness of his experiences.

Frankly there were a lot of things I felt no need to see, and from which I gained very little in viewing. Zachmann, as can be seen from his Magnum portfolio, is a far better photographer than this show suggests, and I look forward to his May 2009 show at the Cité d'Histoire de l'Immigration in Paris (Centre for the History of Immigration)which will present his photographs from twenty five years, work on immigration and the suburbs.

It was time to give up and go back to our hotel, and then out again for a truly French meal at a restaurant just off the rue Moufettard. We ate early and it was almost empty, and were treated to a more expensive menu than we had ordered, and the food and drink was fine.We walked down from there to the Île de la Cité - the rain had more or less stopped - before catching the Metro back to our hotel.
Pictures from the day

Saturday in Paris - Art & Tourism

Paris, 15 Nov 2008

Rotonde de la Villette, 19e
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On Saturday one of the shows in the Mois de la Photo claimed to be open from 10.00am and it looked interesting. Even more of an attraction was the fact that we could make another pleasant early morning walk along by the canal north from the Place Stalingrad to get to the Ecole nat. sup. d'architecture de Paris la Villette on the avenue de Flandres. When we arrived, the buildings were pretty well deserted, but there was a guard sitting in his box at the entry. When we asked he didn't know if the show was open, but he made a phone call and we were soon allowed through.

Domiciles by Gilles Raynaldy, as you can read on >Re:PHOTO, turned out to be one of the more pleasant and rewarding shows of the Mois.

From the avenue de Flandres we walked half a mile or so west to the newly opened Arts centre, Le 104 (Centquatre) in the former home of the municipal funeral services. More about that and the two photographers whose work we saw there also on >Re:PHOTO.

We took the Metro to the centre of Paris, and for a short non-photographic interlude, including a nostalgic picnic in the Square du Vert Galant on the tip of the Ile de la Cite, before taking another short Metro trip to Galerie Vu near the river in the 4e, where we viewed the show Vinter by Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjork, who I had met and shown with in Poland (see >Re:PHOTO.)

There were still plenty of shows in the Marais that I wanted to see, and so we began a traverse. We made a brief call into Galerie Maia Lund where Peter Martensen's Testing Freedom, a couple of video pieces. were on show, but as so often with video I found it too tedious to watch for long.

Fortunately not far away in the rue Ste Anatase there were a couple of shows. Actually in the Galerie sit down was a Photo Mois show 'Grece: les annees d'innocence' by Robert McCabe, while neighbouring shop windows were full of 'Les Poupees Bidons' by Aurelia Alcais, a part of the Photo-Off. (see >Re:PHOTO)

From bellies it was on to the rue Debelleyme and an impressive mansion turned into a large gallery space, the Galerie Karsten Greve, which had a large show of the work of the Italian photographer Mimmo Jodice (b Naples, 1934).

His 'Les Parcours de la memoire' (Paths of Memory) was an large and somewhat varied show, full of the kind of landscape and statures I associate with him, and which frankly I soon find rather boring. I think his early work on Naples if probably far more to my taste.

Across the road was the Galerie Blue Square where I was able to see the remarkable images from the Global Underground project by artists Valera and Natasha Cherkashin. (see >Re:PHOTO)

We made short visits to several other shows in the area around the rue Vielle du Temple, but most didn't detain us long. There seemed to be a number aimed at a fetish market, not a scene that arouses anything much in me.

A notable exception came in the rue du Perche, with John Bulmer's 'Hard Sixties: L'Angleterre post-industrielle, black and white and colour images from the 1960s takenin the north of Englinad, particularly around Manchester. (see >Re:PHOTO )

By now it was getting dark and the troops were revolting if not actually mutineering and it was time to return to the hotel and get ready for dinner. We were meeting our Paris relations on the Grands Boulevards, but when we found them (only 5 minutes late) they were both suffereing from bad colds and feeling sorry for themselves. We weren't too hungry either, suffering from the cumulative effects of a week of eating out, so rather than the three courser at Chartier we'd been comntemplating we settled for a creperie instead. Although not unpleasant, it was the least memorable meal of our stay and thugh relatively cheap seemed poor value.

We said an early goodye and they entrained back to the suburbs and an early night, but we were ready for more and decided on the tourist thing, taking the metro to Trocadero again and walking down and across the bridge to stand under the Eiffel Tower, admiring its ring of blue starts to mark Szarkozy's stint for Europe.

Away from the tower and its tourists the neighbouring streets were dead and deserted, with no signs of any night life. We walked for half a mile or so through empty streets before we came to a bus route, where we waited a quarter of an hour for a bus that took us to the Place de Clichy, vaguely in the direction of our hotel.

Here the boulevard at least was still lit up and there were plenty of people as we walked on past Place Blanche and on to Place Pigalle, wandering past or hanging around the various sad-looking neon-covered come-on facades of sex shops and clubs. So of course I took some more pictures, though with the large and obvious Nikon I kept my distance and concetnrated on the signs. One that particularly amused us was on the Moulin Rouge itself, glowing green for les Doriss Girls - the only Dorises we know are elderly stalwarts of the local Methodist church choir.
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Friday in Paris - More Shows

Paris, 14 Nov, 2008
La cour de la Ferme Ste Lazare, 10e
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Friday we finally got in to the Photo-Off show at the Carre Saint Lazare, sensitive portraits by Sylvie Valem of people with what in the UK are I think officially called "learning disabilites" (in French, handicapée). The black and white portraits were accompanied by signatures made by the people in the picture and a colour picture related to their favourite object or interest and a short text. Although the pictures were sensitively taken and showed something of the complex personalities of people who once would have been called 'simple', I felt the printing sometimes let the pictures down. It was however interesting to see the building from the inside, looking out over an interior garden in which considerable building work was taking place.

We took a slight detour on our route to the metro to take in Passage Brady, an on our way by chance came across a small display of pictures, 'Carnets de passage' about it by Lika Banshoya (we'd earlier looked for the address given in the brochure, but it seemed to be somewhere different.) I'm afraid I found the actual passage, not a great distance away, considerably more fascinating. I first ate an Indian meal there many years ago, and it still seems like finding oneself somewhere in the sub-continent, although in November it was considerably cooler.

We were on our way to the metro, which we caught to St-Germain-des-Pres, another Photo-Off venue, with pictures in permanent cases built for art display along the platform. One of those showing, Thomas Lang, was featured in the program for his images of the city seen out of focus through foliage, which I'm afraid failed to engage me.

We aren't sure whether or not we found all of the work by John Baptiste Blom at the Librarie La Hune, close to the station, but I'm sorry to say I wasn't motivated to look for more, and we strode off in search of the next show.

In rue Mazarine we came to 'L'Archipel', a show of black and white and colour work by Patrick Mourral (b1976), one of many shows in Paris that wasn't a part of any festival. It closed on 29 November, but I'm sure will be seen again elsewhere. You can read my views on it at >Re:PHOTO

A couple of hundred yards down the road, lined with galleries and antique shops, we came to the North Circular Road.

Not of course the actual North Circular, which runs from Kew Bridge to the Woolwich Ferry through suburban London, but a Mois de la Photo show by Beniot Grimbert at l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais. You can see a slightly extended version of the 20 pictures on show there on his web site. And again you can read my views on his show on >Re:Photo

Our next call was at the Palace de Chaillot for the show Moscou Verticale by Gabriele Basilico, once more my views are on >Re:PHOTO

By the time we emerged, it was getting late for lunch and we were feeling hungry. A short walk around the area convinced us that this was a place for the rich to eat, and we jumped on a train to Abbesses where we had a sizeable snack at a whole-food shop, before jumping back on the metro to make our way to the show at the Bar Floréal.

We had to hurry away from the Bar Floréal because there were several other things I wanted to see. Our next call was not far away at the Cité des trois fushias, blocks of modern ten-storey flats around a large courtyard. The first problem was getting in through the security gate to the courtyard, solved in the normal way of waiting until someone came out. We then wandered around vaguely hoping to see some notice telling us about this Photo-Off event, but these were top small and insignificant for us to find (if they were visible at all.) Finally one of the group concerned, Colectif Tribuydom, who were setting up a film for later, saw us wandering and took pity on us, letting us in to the secret and, when he had found the security code, into the block on the east side of the court. I've written more about this show again on >Re:PHOTO, but you can also see more of the pictures from the show on this site.

Finally we went to see another couple of shows that were also taking place in Paris outside the Mois and the Photo-Off, that I had particularly wanted to go and see. Both are covered on >Re:PHOTO and they are by Gilles Perrin and Catherine Cameron.

More pictures from the day.

The Canal, Les Halles and more

Paris 13 Nov, 2008

Autumn in Place Raoul Follereau, 10e and a fairly early morning walk for the dog

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Before Paris Photo opened at 11.00am we had time for a walk around one of our favourite parts of Paris, (checking our nearest show again - still exceptionally closed) along the Canal Saint Martin in the 10e, just walking until around 10.45 when I jumped on the nearest Metro to take me to the show.

After putting in another two and a half hours there I met Linda in the gardens of the Palais Royal and we found a cafe for a late lunch (not bad at all) before taking a nostalgic walk through Galerie Vero Dodat to the rue Jean Jacques Rousseau. We stayed in a student hostel here on our first trip to Paris after we were married (it wasn't quite our first visit, we spent a week a before we were married at another student hostel a few miles south of the city in Massy-Verrières - nor our honeymoon, which was spent in Manchester - with a day trip to the Lake District.) Then it was on the edge of les Halles, but now about all that now remains of that is St Eustache (our walks are church crawls as well as photo crawls.) A short distance to the east (after a detour into Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles) was Rue Quincampoix, where what were then brothels are now art galleries, and we found a couple of photo shows to view, and there were more along rue St Martin and an opening on rue Payenne.The we had to rush off to get to another opening in the 13e before I went off to the lensculture party and Linda to a lecture at the Temple protestant de l'Oratoire du Louvre.

I'll write more about the shows shortly on >Re:PHOTO, and you can read and see pictures from the party, but I'll spare you the details of the lecture.
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More Shows, more walking

Paris, 12 Nov 2008
A nicely decorated facade
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We went out for a walk after breakfast, too early for photo shows (and that one that claimed to open at 9.30am was again "exceptionally closed.")

But by mid-day more were opening, and our first stop was the Galerie Fils du Calvaire in the 3e, which was showing Périphéries by Mohamed Bourouissa. These were staged images from the estates around the edge of Paris, "la banlieue", usually translated quite misleadingly as "the suburbs", which evokes Acacia Avenue and rows of neat semis and bungalows rather than the concrete wilderness of these images, seen often at night. You can read more about them - and there is a link to another gallery with 15 reasonably sized images - on >Re:PHOTO.

Getting into the Galerie Fils du Calvaire was a piece of cake, the porte-cochère was not even locked, and a press of the button and a muttered request got us through the next glass door and in. Galerie Berrger, just down the road, was just a little trickier, as the outside gate was locked, but fortunately someone came out just as we approached. It took several tries to translate the rather long number we then got from the entry phone correctly to the key pad, and we tried both in English and French before finally realising what was meant.

Berrger make a 100% cotton paper designed for hand coated alternative process work, and the show there was by two photographers who had made kallitypesusing this. You can read about it on >Re:PHOTO

Our well-thumbed 'Paris Practique' eventualy got us to the Cité Dupetit Thouars and Galerie Wanted Paris down at its very end. I found it very disappointing to see work displayed without even photographer's names in what was a large and very mixed show.

But at least once found the gallery was easy to get in to, and later in rue Chapon at Galerie Eric Dupont we had the shock of an actually open door onto the street when we called to see work by Anne-Marie Filaire. We had expected to see large black and white images Slovenia, Croatia and Italie, but those on show were from Phnom Penh, although I'm not sure it made much difference.

Le Petit Endroit in rue Portefoin was showing work by Enrico Dagnino, but although we could see it through the window and there was a jacket on the chair, we had obviously come at a time when the invigilator was otherwise engaged and there was no way to get in.

Galerie Michèle Chomette did have a small notice on the street, but from then on you were on your own. We would have given up, but a more persistent Frenchman appeared to press every button on the entry phone and had a long conversation with the only person who would answer, a young woman who lived on the first floor and had never heard of the gallery. Eventually she was persuaded to let us in to the building and we walked up the two floors to the gallery, which was showing the cold winter landscapes, Paysages exfiltrés, of Guillaume Lemarchal. Again, more on >re:PHOTO shortly

Finally I reached Paris Photo in the bowels of the earth below the Louvre, and was able to begin my first session there - and I'll write more about that on >Re:PHOTO also. You can find a shortish overall view of what was expected to be there on the Photography Collection blog, though I'll only write about a few aspects that caught my attention.
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Night in the City Centre

Paris. 11 Nov 2008

It poured with rain and I got wet, so I didn't take too many pictures
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Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Paris 20e. Nov 11. 2008

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Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery within the city of Paris, and contains the graves of more famous people than you can think of, although many of the finer monuments are to those I've never heard of. This time we just did a brief and fairly random walk from the Gambetta entrance to the main gate. It's perhaps the best way to see the cemetery as you are walkiing down hill.
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Cérémonies du 11 novembre

Mairie du 20e, Place Gambetta, Paris. Nov 11, 2008

Two rather bored photographers watched the event
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We were sitting in the cafe opposite the town hall in Place Gambetta and I was enjoying a Blonde (the only beer on their list I hadn't tried before) while Linda tried to warm herself up with a hot drink.

Suddenly we heard the sound of a brass band, and then saw out of the window an approaching procession, and I picked up my camera and rushed out, leaving Linda to guard my camera bag and half-finished beer.

Coming across the place and going down the street towards the back of the town hall was a military band leading various dignitaries with red white and blue sashes, a couple of banners, a group of children and a small crowd of adults. It was the union française des associations de combattants, the comité d’entente des associations d’anciens combattants et victimes de guerre along with other associations of patriotic citizens commemorating the 90th anniversary of the official ceasefire (at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) in 1918, although they were doing it a few hours later in the day.

The parade (which I later found had started at the Père-Lachaise cemetery just down the road) came to a halt at the back of the town hall where there was a memorial to a Brigadier killed in the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Although the November commemoration in France is for the First World War, there were also groups at the parade remembering the French Jews who were deported and mainly died in labour and concentration camps in the Second World War.

I shouldn't have left my bag, as I very quickly realised the card in the camera was full, and I had to start going through pictures to find ones I could delete to take these pictures.
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Le Paris Nord

9e, 10e, and 19e, Paris. 11 Nov, 2008

A restuarant not far from our hotel
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Starting in the 9e and 10e (our hotel was on the border of both) we roughly folloed a walk from the voluminous but rather badly organised work on the architecture of Paris before taking the metro to the 19e. I sat in the Parc de Belleville and ate a very filling takeaway from a Turkish kebab house and then we walked down to the 20e by a very indirect route along some of my favourite streets in Belleville and Ménilmontant. I had been hoping to see some photographic shows, but although many shops were open, they were all closed for the bank holiday. A pity this wasn't thought worth mentioning in the Mois del la Photo or Photo-Off listings.
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Tourist Montmartre at Night

Montmartre, Paris. Nov 10th, 2008

Place Emile Godeau, where Le Bateau-Lavoir was until the wooden artists studios burnt down around 1970
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After booking in at our cheap hotel and leaving our bags, we rushed out to see a few photo shows - which you can read about on >Re:PHOTO and then decided to have a real tourist evening. So we started with a meal at Chartier in the
rue du Fauborg Montmartre, just north of Grands Boulevards metro, and a historic monument. You don't really go there for the food - old-fashioned french grub at a reasonable price, but for the atmosphere.

Then we took the metro to Abbesses and then caught the funicular up the slope and took a walk around the inside of Sacre-Coeur just before it shut up for the night (we had to exit by a side gate.) Montmartre is actually much better in winter, without the great crush of tourists and it's good to be able to actually walk across an empty Place du Tertre. We walked around a bit and I took a few hand-held pictures.

Then we took the bus down to Place Pigalle. It follows a rather convoluted route giving you a tour of Montmartre, though it would have been quicker to walk down! But we were out to get the most out of our Carte Orange (to be replaced by the Navigo Découverte by the end of the year.) Another short metro ride took us back to Barbès and our hotel.
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Poles Celebrate Independence Day in London

Westminster, London. Saturday 8 Nov, 2008

Polish forces fought on the Allied side against Germany in the war

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The modern state dates from the end of the First World War in 1918 when the Second Polish Republic was founded - and November 11 is celebrated in Poland as Independence Day. Although Poland had existed since the 10th century it disappeared as a state around 1795, being absorbed into Russia, Austria and Prussia, and only re-emerged with the defeat of Germany.

Unfortunately, independence did not last long, as the German army invaded in September 1939, starting World War II, followed soon after by Russia occupying the eastern part of the country. After the end of the war Poland became a part of the Soviet empire.

Despite a number of popular rebellions, and a growing movement around the Polish Pope's visit to Poland in 1979 and Lech Walesa and Solidarity from 1980 on, it was only in 1989 that democracy finally returned in Poland.

This year is the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the modern Polish state, and celebrations took place in London a few days early on Saturday (8 Nov) in a mass that packed out Westminster Cathedral, after which several thousands marched to a rally in Trafalgar Square, attended by many Polish dignitaries, including the ambassador to London, the Polish Cardinal Jozef Glemp and other leading clerics and Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last émigré President of the Republic of Poland who handed over the insignia of state to President of the Third Polish Republic Lech Walesa in 1990.
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Orange Lodge Remembrance Parade

Whitehall, Westminster, London. Saturday Nov 8, 2008

Many marched with umbrellas as the rain poured down
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Several hundred members of Orange Lodges caught me on the hop as their parade, organised by the Metropolitan Provincial Grand Lodge of The Loyal Orange Institution of England started early, doubtless because of the rain which was pouring down. They marched through Parliament Square and up Whitehall led by drummers and flutes to the Cenotaph where there was a brief halt to lay wreaths. Another wreath was placed at the foot ot the grand old Duke of York in Waterloo Place, where I decided my camera had taken in rather too much water and left the march.

In Northern Ireland, marches such as these with their loud and penetrating music sometimes provoke violent feelings (and are perhaps intended to), but in London they simply add a little colour, welcome on a dull and drab day such as this. As of course do other Irish events such as the annual St Patrick's Day parade.
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War Widows Lay Wreaths at Cenotaph

Whitehall, London. Sat 8 November, 2008
A wreath of white crysanthamums and poppiesis laid by a representative of the War Widows.
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Members of the War Widows Association of Great Britain range in age from their twenties to over 4 times that, women whose husbands were killed fighting for their country in wars from the Second World War (and possibly before) through to Iraq and Afghanistan. Men who receive a war widows pension can also become full members. The group was formed in 1971 by a small number of widows from the Second World War to fight the unjust tax position of war widows and now helps widows to deal with the many problems they face.

The wreath contains white chrysantemums as these are a common flower in November, rosemary as a herb that signifies remembrance and of course poppies that were adopted because they grew on the fields of Flanders where the First World War was bloodily waged.

The service at the Cenotaph was a dignified event, although the music of the RAF band was rather more to my taste than the bagpipers that also accompanied the short parade from King Charles St.
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Bee-keepers Protest - Spend More on Research

Westminster, London. Tuesday 5 Nov, 2008
Bee-keepers protest in Old Palace Yard
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Forget the birds, it was the bees that led to my existence. My father, then a young batchelor, signed up for a bee-keeping course at the newly founded Twickenham and Thames Valley Bee-Keepers Association and made friends with the similarly aged instructor. Both had younger sisters, and soon, thanks undoubtedly to the magical properties of honey, there were two engaged pairs - and, in the fullness of time, me. Both Dad and Uncle Alf kept bees for money as well as honey, both gained certificates at the shows. Dad's second war service involved getting on his bike to inspect hives across Middlesex for foul brood, and for a time he looked after the T&TVBKA's own bees at the apiary in Twickenham, as well as those of Mr Miller at Angelfield in Hounlsow, and of course his own on several sites, while Uncle Alf had hives in west country orchards as well as locally.

So although I've never kept bees, I certainly learnt about them helping Dad as a young boy, and learnt to love honey. But bees aren't just about honey, they are vital for pollination of crops, with around a thrid of what we eat depending on their work. The economic benefit from this in the UK is about ten times that from honey production at around £120-200 million a year.

But bees are under threat. Since the early 1990s, the Varroa mite has devasted many wild bee colonies. Bee-keepers have managed to control the mite, but now strains have developed which resist the treatments. A fungus, Nosema ceranae has added to the problems.

An even greater threat is colony collapse, a poorly understood disorder probably cuased by a combination of factors including viruses, stress, pesticides, bad weather and various diseases. There have been huge loses of bees in the USA and parts of Europe but as yet is has not reached here.

Around 300 bee-keepers, organised by the British bee-Keepers Association (BBKA) came to lobby parliament for greater research to combat the threats to bees and to deliver a petition with with over 140,000 signatures for increased funding for research into bee health to Downing St.

Most wore bee-keeping suits and hats with veils and some brought the bee-smokers that are used to calm the hives. Labour MP for Norwich North , Dr Ian Gibson, spoke briefly at the start of the protest. One of the few MPs with a scientific background, he was Dean of Biology at the University of East Anglia before being elected as an MP in 1997. The current president of the BBKA, Tim Lovett, who led the protesters, was a former student of his.
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Leake St Grafitti

Leake St, Waterloo, London. Nov 5, 2008

onlyjoe and a little gestalt

I couldn't be bothered to queue for Banksy and friend's Cans Festival in Leake St in May, but today the tunnel was almost empty and more or less on my way and I had a few minutes to spare before catching a train... So I took a few pictures of the display that seems to be changing pretty regularly along there.
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All pictures on this section of the site are © Peter Marshall 2008; to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site, or for any other questions, contact me.

 

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