Protesting Outside Labour Party HQ, Inspiration from Andy Warhol and Exercises in Light

Some images from the week 2nd – 8th April 2018

Yesterday my family and I got up early, drove to Salisbury, got on a train to Waterloo and then got on another to St James’ Park to get to Labour party HQ. We did this not because we are part of some right-wing Jewish conspiracy to destroy Jeremy Corbyn, but because my children and I are Jewish and we have had enough. We have had enough of being told that we are imagining the anti-semitism that we see spreading on social media and enough of being told that people are taking our experience of anti-semitism seriously when they clearly aren’t. For myself I am annoyed at having no political party I feel comfortable supporting, as well as knowing there is an expectation on me to demonise Israel at every opportunity to be an acceptable Jew in Britain, especially one who is politically left-wing.

April (1 of 10)
13 year old Jewish boys don’t get up this early to catch a train for the fun of it

I’ve never been to a protest like this before; it was my son’s first time too, and how disappointing that his first political protest was directed towards the Labour party and their refusal to deal with anti-semitism. Unfortunately, Jeremy Corbyn is one of many people who seem to have no idea how to deal with this issue. The local vicar, when confronted by me with clear evidence of anti-semitic material being spread on Facebook again and again by one of his own clergy decided that an appropriate response was to totally ignore me.

The whole experience yesterday has left me with a feeling of melancholy and also with questions. When we finally arrived home after over 5 hours travelling and 2 hours standing in the rain outside Labour HQ, we Googled the protest to see how it had been reported. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism report 2000 people in the crowd, the Daily Mirror say 250; quite a difference. (And I think Maureen Lipman was quoting a sign held up by a protestor when she said ‘Corbyn made me a Tory’). I’d say the true figure is somewhere between these numbers – I’d guess that there were more than 250 people standing behind me, and I was off to one side and not at the front of the crowd.

April (4 of 10)
I cannot believe that waving Union Flags has been falsely interpreted by some to paint the whole protest as some kind of right-wing conspiracy. That is just so offensive; for me, the point is that we are British Jews and are proud of the contribution that we have made to socialist politics in the past; we don’t want to be excluded from it now.

Anyway, the photography bit….

I saw a lot of photographers covering this event; all but one was male so that was an interesting observation for me. I had my camera, but I was there in the context of a protestor so I was very much a part of the crowd – my images were taken by holding my camera as far above my head as I could and just hoping for the best.

April (2 of 10)
A Rabbi addressing the crowd

April (3 of 10)

April (5 of 10)
Bemused onlookers

I’m not sure what I expect to get photographically from crowds of people, especially being in the middle of them. Looking at what the professional photographers have got, it’s just a sea of faces and signs; there’s no real feel for the size of the protest. I think it’s something I will work on gradually.

Other work from this week:

Playing with ideas inspired by Andy Warhol.

April (1 of 2)
I was playing with ideas

When I was 13 I’d read The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. I think my reasoning went like this: I liked Duran Duran; Nick Rhodes was my favourite member of the band; Nick Rhodes went on and on about Andy Warhol; I saw an Andy Warhol book and decided to read it. Anyway, I’m currently reading books about self portraits, and inevitably Andy Warhol is in several of them. I’d seen an image of him holding a Polaroid camera seemingly just having just taken an image of himself with it. I really liked the idea so I had a go at doing a similar thing, then I decided to take another photo of it. It’s not a self referencing image. I suppose what I am trying to say with it is that I am thinking about aspects of myself; I think this shows the development of ideas that by necessity are self referencing to an extent, but are externally influenced.


Moving horizons.

I took these images in London on my way back from the protest. I didn’t have my favourite camera with me, but I wanted to explain the feeling of this day in London which was very overcast and dull. I know that I could run them through Lightroom to increase the exposure, but it would change the flavour too much and the sky would suffer. This is really an illustration of how I was experimenting with where to put the horizon, and I couldn’t decide how much of the river to include. Standing on the bridge it’s a great view even in these conditions, but I couldn’t quite capture what I was experiencing. I suppose that my eye knows what the important landmarks are and I see those, but the camera doesn’t see them in the same way.

April (9 of 10)April (7 of 10)April (8 of 10)April (10 of 10)

Other images

April (5 of 7)
I wrote about folded books earlier on in the week. This is an image I took to illustrate that post.
I did an exercise in Part 4 about the way light changes during the day
April (22 of 24)
Another exercise from Part 4, this time using artificial light

Published by Sarah Cassin Scott


3 thoughts on “Protesting Outside Labour Party HQ, Inspiration from Andy Warhol and Exercises in Light

  1. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through such an experience with your local vicar and clergy. Is there any way you can take this further with both Facebook and higher Church authorities because it just shouldn’t be allowed. To be honest, I feel depressed by the whole Labour scenario plus the state of our UK politics in general.
    Your photographs of a dull day are really effective in reflecting your mood, and that was a good choice to leave the exposure as it was.
    You have such a varied approach and I’m enjoying following both you blog and your Instagram stream.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Catherine. My experience locally was particularly painful because the person spreading this material was a close friend of the family. I approached him first, explaining the material and why I objected to it. After a lot of explanation he still refused to acknowledge that it was anti-Semitism and so I felt compelled to contact the vicar who spoke to the person involved but never replied to me and did not address my concerns. It was a couple of years ago so I won’t take it further now. It’s just very sad, and as you say, the state of UK politics is depressing. I appreciate the comments you make on my work, it means a lot to me that you take the time to do that. x


  2. It’s rubbish, isn’t it. Should not be happening, people should not be needing to protest, local clergy above all should be respectful and welcoming. I agree completely on the state of UK politics, I really wonder what shape the UK will be in by the time we hand it over to our children. Hugely edited paragraph.
    Apologies for not being active on your blog, I shall be fixing that over the next couple of days, you have some very interesting work on here.

    Liked by 1 person

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