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Photographer's Note

A Day In London - Page 9

The Gates to Power

Just a stones throw away from the Prime Minister Tony Blair's residence at No.10 this is the entrance to the world famous Downing Street. Out of the small group of tourists taking photographs I feel a little singled out here but I guess my current close crop and particularly my rucksack were worthy of some scrutiny. Earlier in the day I’d had a shuddery moment around the possibility of being mistaken for something I’m not carrying it around armed policemen – (I guess another day in the city though and I wouldn’t be thinking about it at all) – and I’m fair haired and fair skinned although with an unmistakably Irish name. How it must feel for some people ‘fitting the profile’ bears thinking about – many people report very different attitudes towards them since the bombings.

Londoners just seem to be getting on with their business as usual and there were so many tourists it was really like one big outing once the day got going – although there were some things about the morning rush hour that were perhaps different. More people walking perhaps.

I didn’t hang around here too long – one very hard bitten looking policeman took too much interest and even later came out through the side gate – I appreciate their job and have respect for them being in critical times and positions….and of course putting their lives on the line when it comes to it. I work a fair bit with the police – on things like community relations, youth engagement and standards in respect of the way they deal with certain types of incidents so have quite a good relationship with officers of all ranks…but here on the streets of London I felt a different vibe. I guess it’s partly the weapons, we don’t see them so often or as much in other parts of the UK.

Whatever, this is still a democratic and open enough society that I can stand here and take this image.

For me it’s sometimes quite tiny and overlooked things that make a picture, the fire extinguishers and the bottled water – I wonder about the bands on the policeman’s wrists – are they some shift code, recognition thing or are they something which marks him out as an individual caring citizen like the rest of us? The yellow band current in the UK is the ‘Live Strong’ band which comes from Lance Armstrong’s remarkable achievements in the Tour de France after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. The blue one I’m not so sure about – there is a blue ‘Anti-bullying Campaign’ one but I think that’s darker. Does anyone else know?

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Additional Photos by Kev Ryan (KevRyan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1784 W: 193 N: 5128] (22956)
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