Monthly Archives: May 2010

NP3 – A Weekend In Tweets

We encouraged attendees to tweet with the hastag #nps3 during the symposium. We’ve collected a summary of the event through twitter, a big thank you to everyone who narrated the weekend!

13th May

@curlythoughts At the Bluecoat, with @Redeyenetwork ready to start… Photography, Espionage and the State. #NPS3 #photography

@brendadada #NPS kicking off with huge pic of the #fit from David Hoffman. It’s going to be an interesting weekend.

@chazzoh #nps3 redeye symposium @bluecoat, 1st session state & espionage. never done a photography conference b4

@saratrula Hearing about tactical documentary photography at #nps3

@curlythoughts In our actions as photographers, are we all surveillance officers now? Do we create a searchable and mapped database of our lives? #NPS3

@chazzoh #nps3 social change stifled & disrupted by pre-emptive policing @davidhoffman

@saratrula David Hoffman speaking now at #nps3 “the more the FIT look for something the mire they see it and so the more they look for it and so on”

@brendadada #nps3 David Hoffman “we’re all targets”

@saratrula There is a deliberate and worrying blurring between dissent and terrorism @davidhoffman at #nps3

@photographyuoc # photographer Gary Austin talk on surveillance photography for the intelligence service. No photos as all with MOD! #nose

@chazzoh #nps3 #look11 paul trevor’s beautiful photos of liverpool streets in the 70s in the majestic but still municipal walker gallery

@BusyBetsy hog roast & Brian Biggs dj-ing at The Bluecoat #nps3 #TwitPict


14th May

@photographyuoc Just seen a man dressed as a banana at breakfast #nps3

@alexhodby Just seen a group off to see the new Open Eye Gallery space, whilst a debate on the campaigning photographer goes on upstairs. #nps3

@emmaphotoworks enjoying look11 and #NPS3 in rainy Liverpool. Beautiful show at open eye curated by Mitch Epstein

@brendadada #nps3 Side Gallery’s incredible archive including John Davies’ and Sirkka’s pictures of my village, emotional morning.

@chazzoh #nps3 #look11 people in the pix here looking at their childhoods exchanging memories with people they’v not seen for 35 years. beautiful

@chazzoh #nps3 paul seawright matter of fact captions describing horrible deaths below beguilingly calm beautiful pics of the scenes. shuddering

@smithgrant Paul Seawright ‘camera allows us to occupy prohibited spaces’ #nps3

@chazzoh #nps3 paul seawright – so many layers of thought and discussion in initially quite simple photos. isn’t photography fantastic?!

@chazzoh #nps3 history so deeply inscribed in the surface of a place – paul seawright on lagos

@photographyuoc Paul Seawright keynote at #nps3 very powerfull #photography and talk

@mazmanian #nps3 paul seawright mixes images about text language territory and contested readings of landscape.metaphors for fragmented narratives

@mazmanian #nps3 paul seawright on monumental spaces,the representation of conflict. places become totemic,concerned with how to distill representation

@mazmanian #nps3 paul herrmann – metadata makes the world go round

@photographyuoc At #nps3 Liverpool looking forward to Karen Strunks talk ‘4am project’ this afternoon then new Open Eye gallery tour

@BusyBetsy Brilliant anecdotes from John Stoddart #nps3

@mazmanian #nps3 paul hill on buildin an archive,record things radio tv keep articles re the relevance of these materials on the history of photography

@curlythoughts Paul Hill: “Since 2006 more photographs have been taken than in the whole history of photography before that.” #NPS3

@mazmanian #nps3 post lunch session on the photographic centre of the future..first up discussion on scottish national photographic centre

@curlythoughts Photographers and their archives: how and what do we archive if we don’t know what the historian of the future will be interested in? #NPS3

@alexhodby Clare Grafik presents thoughts about The Photographers’ Gallery and social media #nps3

@curlythoughts Florian Koempel details how UK Music champions the cause of commercial music in UK. Could such a body do the same for photography? #NPS3


@chazzoh #nps3 we need a new mass observation project, at risk of sounding controversial, more than we need a physical centre

@alexhodby Talking about the photography centre of the future #nps3

@alexhodby Do we need am edifice for a photography centre? asks Graeme Murdoch. #nps3

@alexhodby #nps3 Karin Bareman informs us about Dutch photography centres – great comparisons & info

@chazzoh #nps3 #4amproject democratic representation in action AND great pics of many different styles

@chazzoh #nps3 #4amproject community is a group if people with shared experiences & common assumptions. even if only humanity & being up at 4am

@curlythoughts Andrew Wiard from pro-imaging stressing the positive work done on, and by, the Artist’s Bill of Rights for competitions. #NPS3

@alexhodby David Drake commenting on power and control in the exhibition of photographs #nps3

@chazzoh #nps3 andrew wiard giving us the low down on hadn’t realised it was started by godon harrison in wester ross

@brendadada Great scary presentation and pics from @davidhoffmanuk yesterday. #nps3

@curlythoughts Sharpening my pencil for the final session of the afternoon… Keynote speaker Dornith Doherty. #NPS3

@saratrula Dornith Doherty projects her images onto a collected still life from the locations and themes of her photographs #nps3

@saratrula The connection to expeditionary photography, being a “trusted witness” is key to Doherty working. #nps3

@alexhodby Dornith Doherty giving the last keynote of the day #nps3 @ The Bluecoat

@curlythoughts On train from Liverpool. I had a fascinating and stimulating two days. Will blog, there’s just the matter of the #GreatmancRun first! #NPS3


15th May

@Documentally The story Dean Chapman is sharing about the Arts Councils desicion on funding for Amber Collective & Side Gallery is a horror movie. #nps3

@Documentally Photography is more than just a ‘visual art’. Cuts cause not only a loss to photography but a loss to historical & social documentary #nps3

@photographyuoc #nps3 major success we think best one ever. So much #Photography

@Documentally So many of the concerns/fears the photographic world (art & otherwise) have, seem to mirror that of the world of journalism. #nps3

@gemma_thorpe talk by Dean Chapman & slideshow of Amber collective & Side Gallery’s archive most inspirational so far #nps3 despite being re: funding cuts

@saratrula The talk @karenstrunks gave to #nps3 about the @4amproject was really great. Such a fantastic use of social media to create a unique event

@Documentally Apparently there is a national no photography day (where you are meant to think more) but we don’t have a national photography day. #nps3

@Documentally Maybe skint photographers should put their skills to use & start earning money from the curation of the worlds images. #nps3

@emmaphotoworks Interesting last talk at #NPS3 on funding cuts and does the photography network need an agenda?

@Documentally The temporary closure of large galleries in Amsterdam (for refurbishment) has had a visible economic impact via visitors to the city. #nps3

@Documentally There are suggestions of a mass closure of galleries in protest at arts cuts. #nps3

@BusyBetsy It’s been a very inspiring #nps3 weekend. Thank you to all the wonderful people who took part. It is hard to wind down from it all.

@photographyuoc At #nps3 an outstanding success this weekend. Made loads of new friends and contacts – that’s what it’s all about








Can I Have My Mobile Phone Back Please, Officer?

A quick recce for a portrait location in the City ends in police detention under s44.

I spent the weekend in Derby at the National Photography Symposium and was involved in a panel discussion on ‘Photography, Security and Terrorism’. How ironic that my first assignment back in London today saw me experience again the public humiliation of a detention and a physical search by a City of London police officer.Scouting for a location on London Wall for a portrait of one of the architect’s responsible for the City’s changing skyline, I went to One Aldermanbury Square. Loaded with a Canon g10, I wandered around the base of the building taking recce shots. A guard employed by the building waved his hands at me, asserting that I couldn’t photograph this building. As I stood on the pavement opposite the building I told him he was wrong, and I had every right to photograph, which I kept on doing. Another guard approached saying the same thing, and that if I didn’t move he’d call the police. (He recognised me from a previous occasion when he had warned me off, which had also resulted in a police response. On that occasion they were satisfied that I was within my rights and I had done nothing wrong. Thus the security guards had prior confirmation from the police that I was a photographer, not a terrorist.) I wandered back and forth, sizing up my locations and where I would place my subject. I walked along London Wall high walk, and saw the frenzied police activity below. Four officers had arrived and were in animated discussion with the guards. A police van with flashing lights sped out of Wood Street and eyeballed me, fixing my position.  Uniformed police approached me from both directions. I continued walking and photographing. PC 374 walked towards me and greeted me with a cheery ‘Hello’. I responded in like fashion and continued to walk on as he spoke into his radio. He stopped me with his hand firmly on my chest. I asked if I was being detained.

‘I’d just like a word with you.’

Am I being detained? ‘Yes you are.’

Under what grounds? ‘Section 44(2) of the Terrorism Act.’

Why? ‘If you’ll let me finish’, he responded. ‘And you are’? He inquired the way a school bully might query anyone on their patch.

I wanted to know why I was being detained, and what were the reasonable grounds. ‘The guards at the building over the road alerted us to someone acting suspiciously. And under Section 44(2) we don’t need reasonable grounds.’

‘What’s suspicious about my behaviour. I was taking photographs.’

‘If you let me finish. The fact you were taking photographs, we’d like to know the reason. ‘

I said that I’m in the City, an area of iconic buildings and fascinating historical sites, that’s why I’m taking photographs. He replied with a cryptic answer:’You’ve just explained it.’ I looked puzzled.

‘The very fact you were here at all is the reason we’ve stopped you.’

I explained that being in a public space I could not be prevented from taking photographs. He said the guards were wrong in trying to stop me.  I felt relieved and thought that the whole affair would rest then and there. As I began to move away a second PC, PC29 moved from behind and took both my arms, preventing me from moving. PC 374 then told me he was searching me under s44, and he began to go through my pockets and pat me down. My phone was taken from me. The camera hanging around my neck was carefully removed and placed out of my reach. I asked several times if I could record this incident on camera and was denied this right, being told that under s44(2) I must do as ordered. The power was now in their hands. Mine were still being held.

PC went through my pannier, flipping through personal notebooks, gingerly peeking in a plastic bag that contained a towel and swimmers, still wet from my earlier swim. He located my wallet, and pulled out my drivers licence with obvious glee. Each time I attempted to move PC29’s grip on my arms became firmer. I moved to zip up my jacket, which had been unzipped in the search, and his grip tightened. I explained I was getting cold and would like to warm up. He agreed, but kept hold of me by one hand.  I tried to move left or right and he blocked me. Repeated requests for my phone and camera were turned down. I asked to get pen and paper from my bag, and this was declined. I said I wanted to record the incident, only to be told that I will get their record at the end of the procedure.

Many times I asked why was I being stopped under s44. The answer I given  was because of my obstructive and non-compliant attitude. Based on this observation, it then became necessary to treat me as a potential criminal suspect. I noted that s44 could be open to misuse, as it was so powerful and sweeping. PC374 replied ‘It has been said, but it is open for our use’ The implication being that it can be used on anyone who is non-compliant.

Waiting for the data base to give PC374 the all-clear on my record, I was kept hemmed against the barrier by PC29, repeatedly told that if I kept moving I would be handcuffed. This scene of public humiliation, as I was restrained and treated like a criminal, was watched by workers from the neighbouring building.

Once the all clear was given, PC374 tore off the pink slip of the s44 stop search form asking if I wanted it. I asked if I could carry on taking photographs, he turned his back on me like a petulant child, forgetting that his cap lay on the ground in the spot he had removed it earlier. Joined by a third PC, the posse then turned their back on me refusing to answer any further questions from me. I watched as the three of them walked away from me, with my mobile phone. Excuse me I called ‘Can I please have my mobile phone back’?

Grant Smith

+44 (0)7774 839 078

twitter: @smithgrant

We Are All Storytellers

8733255-Clegg in cab
photo by @Kate_Day

Today is the day in more ways than one. As I type this, the nation is a little uncertain as to how the country is going to be governed after this morning. Cleggmania fell short of delivering and now the Digital Economy Act looms ever greater.
It’s the early hours of the morning the TV pundits are wondering whether deals will be made or a minority government will limp ahead.
On the brighter, perhaps more hopeful side, a collective of image makers will be descending upon Derby for the National Photography Symposium 2010.
It’s the second national photography symposium by Redeye and Format and proves to be a very interesting event indeed. Not just because politically themed conversations will no doubt lace the day but because there will hopefully be other uncertainties eased and inspiration nurtured.
My job today will be to talk about new opportunities in New Media. Especially within social media. How photographers can not only become more sociable with their media but how perhaps they can evolve the way they capture images and share their stories.
Nurturing your niches as well as your networks will enable you to thrive in whatever avenue of photography you have chosen.
If you are attending today and use twitter.. I am @Documentally
My own Posterous blog is at and my main blog is at
I will be cramming a lot of info into a very small chunk of time so please stop me for a chat over the next couple of days should you want to know more If we don’t get the chance to connect in real life.. add me on any of these networks should you want to hook up in the future.
The hashtag for the event is #nps2

Climate change and photography

I’ll be talking & prompting discussion on Saturday about climate change and the responsibility and challenges for photographers. To help prepare I’ve been doing a rough survey to find out whether and how people are influenced about climate change by photography. I’ve had some good responses but would still be interested to receive more. The question is simple:

Have you been really moved or influenced about climate change? If so, what type of photography or what photographer, or what image? And how did it affect you?

To feed back to me please email or reply to me on twitter @bridgetmck

If you want to tell me about your own practice or plans, I’d also be very interested to hear more.

Best wishes
Bridget McKenzie
07890 540178