Back home now from the ADM. Having had a little lie down, I thought I’d add sommat on the London Photographers Branch and issues. Personally I don’t easily fit into any  camp, I don’t think.

What I want is a better understanding of photographers specific needs and time to express them, within the NUJ. Many in common of course, but I think some are a bit different to other journo needs. Having a camera planted in from of your face means that we are obvious and get attention from the public [for being a paedo or terrorist]. From authority that also thinks the same, but additionally are concerned at their own self image. Not to mention those involved in ‘action’ of different sorts who are also worried at their representation and all the above.

We went round some of this at the photo-meet in the pub on Thursday at the ADM. Trying to build a mental model of what’s going on. I explained I don’t know if this best achieved by plan A: which was a photography organiser. Someone in post with all our collected wisdom, by their own skill and education, and what we tell them. This might be considered a ‘top down’ approach. Plan B: is with an industrial council.  It is this that was in front of us at ADM, before it evaporated, on the promise of jam tomorrow.  I guess this is the model that has a best chance of encompassing those of us up north [and everywhere else] etc.  ie. to be able to draw on collective experience from around the country. Plan C: which seem to have upset so many is a locally based photo branch, which London happens to be the first, since many of these photo-types are based in London.

It seems I still haven’t quite got it right yet, since I’ve now discovered some photographers don’t think this is choise A B or C but want all of the above. The NUJ establishment are then concerned about the cost and some are probably frighten of loosing power and want established order to remain.

I admit here I know little of the politics. For example the fascists are calling us ‘left scumbag photographers’ but they can’t mean me, can they, I’m an anarchist 🙂 But plan C in this model I think, means that folks have got together thinking they may best be able to help each other in their profession, with their collected experience and expertise. Much of it is new knowledge and not something that can be passed down from on high.  This might thus be considered a grassroots solution. However, there are 4 of us in Nottingham, so don’t know what plan C could do for me.

In sum then, I have tried to pan out my understanding so far, and all nodded up and down when I said this lot in the meeting. I have been a client of the NUJ in asking for service several times in Tash’s continued adventures with the police/law, and am of course grateful for what I’ve received from the outfit and it’s officers. Thanks. Aside from help and service and advice, I guess I’m also looking for what structure would additionally help me convey my concerns and influence decisions to them up there on the top table. Which structure best does that?

I know personally all the personalities in the current exchange. I look up to all of you / them.

The discussion on how to represent photographers has been going on for as long has I’ve been in the NUJ. But I am now frightened that the rest of the NUJ, might look at photographers and think, why should we trust any of these photographers with structure and power within the union, since an objective Martian, looking in from above, might deduce that they couldn’t organise their way out of a paper bag.  AAAAgh!

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