I’m a photographer, not a terrorist

12 01 2010

Actually, I am neither a photographer nor a terrorist. And this is a travel & lifestyle blog about London, not a soapbox. But frankly I have been appalled at the stories of arrests of photographers going about their business throughout London and being arrested for it. Photographers are documenters of contemporary society, of architecture, and of the varied little enclaves of life that make humans such interesting creatures.  Taking  pictures of the architecture in the City of London is no more illegal than scanning the structures with your own eyes.

In a country with the highest levels of surveillance in the entire world and enough CCTV cameras to stir Orwell up out of  the grave, it

is inconceivable that innocent photography should be restricted. The average London resident is caught on surveillance footage over 300 times a day, according to last week’s Evening Standard, and yet crimes solved using CCTV footage has actually steadily decreased over the last 10 years. The government can advocate an (needless) increase in the use of cameras, yet Londoners and visitors to this great Metropole are being arrested for (innocently)  pointing their own lenses.

The thought of my favorite photographer, MissDani, being arrested for taking a picture of St Pauls Cathedral is horrifying, as is the thought of not being able to enjoy her photography and that of others who capture this buzzing capital city and showcase it for the world.

I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist is a mass photo gathering in protest of recent arrests and the overreaching invocation of terrorism laws.

12pm, 23 January, Trafalgar Square. Be there!


Angela Palmer: Ghost Forest

26 11 2009

The Ghost Forest exhibit was an excellent way to show just how large these trees are and everything that we need them (to survive) for. All photos courtesy of MissDani aka imJuli.

I would have liked to have seen a representation of how high these trees are. There were labels on each of the blocks comparing them to Nelson’s plinth, but some something which actually stood that tall would have hit it home for me. Not that lugging a full sized tree from the rainforest to Britain would have been the answer, but some sort of creative representation. I am not an artist, so dont ask me what, imjustsaying.

Angela Palmer: Ghost Forest

12 11 2009

From November 16-22nd, Trafalgar Square will be converted into a tropical rainforest as Angela Palmer exhibits these giant  trees from a commercially logged tropical rainforest in Ghana, and attempts to raise awareness of the connection between deforestation and climate change.

Angela Palmer

I first read Angela’s story in the Financial Times, 9 October 2009:

“I blame Hong Kong Telecom. When I lived in the former colony, its vans bore the words: “What can be imagined, can be achieved.” ‘

The idea

The latest scientific reports on climate change are now my bedside reading. Even nights off are scientifically infused. Attending the first “Sustainaball” in aid of environmental charity Earthwatch, I dress as a sunflower and meet Andrew Mitchell, an old friend and a dashing scientist who has been banging on about rainforest trees for the past 30 years. He runs the Global Canopy Programme and is one of Prince Charles’s advisers. He scares the pants off me with statistics: a tropical forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every four seconds; that means, he says, that an area twice the size of Belgium is lost every year. He suggests I should recreate a rainforest tree by drawing its rings on to multiple sheets of glass. Why distance people from the real thing, I reply. Why not bring a real rainforest tree into the centre of London and show what mighty beasts we are destroying every second? And so my obsession develops a specific focus: I will find a commercially logged rainforest and persuade the loggers to give me some tree stumps to present as a “ghost forest”.

But it is not until Antony Gormley says the project can’t be done that I really get the bit between my teeth. I am sitting next to the artist at dinner at my old Oxford college, Exeter, where he is installing a bronze sculpture of himself on the roof. I tell him I am planning to bring rainforest tree stumps, complete with their massive buttress roots, and place them smack in the middle of London. As the stunt would reach millions through worldwide coverage, I feel it would justify its carbon footprint. Impossible, he says. And who can blame him?

Read the full article here, visit http://www.ghostforest.org and http://www.angelaspalmer.com for more information on the exhibition and the artist.