Archive for May, 2010
I was a little saddened to read this week that India’s oldest car maker, the Kolkota-based Hindustan Motors, said reduced demand and accumulated losses had wiped out over half its net worth.
Since the liberalisation of the Indian economy in the 1990′s India’s roads have been filled with gleaming new cars. I do sincerely hope that Hindustan’s most famous vehicle has some mileage in it yet.
The Ambassador is such a feature of the Indian landscape that it’s demise is almost unthinkable. I think it’s by far the most reliable and sturdy vehicle on the Indian roads and, by dint of its ubiquity, it can be repaired almost anywhere very quickly. Usually by a combination of hammers, tape and brute force.
Here’s a recent image of mine of an ‘Ambi’ parked on a quiet street in Tamil Nadu with a rather lovely garland hanging from the mirror
I have written before about the increasing use of private security and the erosion of liberty in public space so I was interested in a piece in today’s Guardian, ironically, the result of a Freedom of Information request:
It seems increasingly clear that unelected, untrained and under qualified security guards from private companies (operating for profit) are deciding who has freedom to walk the streets and carry out perfectly legal activities … like taking photographs in a public space.
Interestingly, the article asserts that both the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and John Yates, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, have warned that police risk losing the support of the public through the inappropriate use of section 44.
I first photographed the burgeoning private security industry in the late 1990s for several magazines and over the years have continued to have assignments to do so.
As the Labour government loses power and its party leader, the front runner to take the reins is David Miliband. I made a large story about him for the Times Magazine a little over a year ago.
So, as two further national newspapers swing their support away from Gordon Brown, all indications a week before the election point to a hung Parliament controlled by the Tories. My views on this are complicated: when all the parties represent the Market and the status quo there IS no choice, however my formative political years were formed under the Thatcher government and so I reserve a particular dread for the Bullingdon Club‘s entry into Number 10.
I haven’t photographed elections – or much British politics – for a long time. I do however remember a particularly depressing April dawn dropping rolls of film off at Der Spiegel’s office after photographing John Major celebrating victory in 1992.
Subsequent years of PR-dominated press conferences and stage-managed photo opportunities made me less interested and I turned my attention to the world outside the UK. I do occasionally get to photograph politicians however. Here’s one of the Man that would be King taken a couple of years ago on assignment for the Times Magazine.
I leave my final thoughts to one of my favourite essayists, Emma Goldman, whose views on the subject echo my own:
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal…”
No gods, no masters.
Happy May Day.