Photographing the #GE17 – A wonderfully insane responsibility

So there we are. It’s all done. At least for now anyway.

The first light of this morning brought an end to the chaos, confusion and endless rhetoric and posturing that are General Elections and the campaigning that leads the way to the polls.

Of course the chaos, confusion and endless rhetoric and posturing will obviously continue as analysis and discussions dominate. It is politics after all and I have a feeling the next chapter in this tale may come sooner than we think.

Photographing parts of this process over the last few weeks and indeed over previous elections and referendums gives a unique perspective on the political process – for me anyway – and as someone who has never engaged with politics – my first ever vote was at the referendum – I find it hard on a personal level to see why people get as excited as they do.

None of it really makes any difference. One party comes out with wonderful solutions in a little book to all the problems facing the current in-power party who also show off their own little book with further ideas to try and persuade voters to keep them in power. Then if the challenger becomes the party in-power they inherit all the problems of the former party. They then blame the previous party for their inability to change anything and resolve those problems and before you know it 5 years have passed where nothing is really achieved and then they all decide to print further small books, hire a few buses and do it all again.

And so it continues. Over and over. Year after year. The meeting on the political battlefield between the arrogance and entitlement of some and the endless ‘brothers and sisters’ pie in the sky bullshit of others. It’s all false promises. It’s illusion. It’s slight of hand. It plays to the very thing that people supposedly want to change by ensuring that well er, nothing changes . I never did get that?

But it is interesting.

It’s interesting to watch the irony of some outspoken Labour supporters who take to Facebook or Twitter protesting with real venom anything that might go against their beliefs whilst at the same time voicing real aggression to the political opposition or their supporters and their beliefs.

It’s interesting to watch the irony of some outspoken Conservative supporters who take to Facebook or Twitter protesting with real venom anything that might go against their beliefs whilst at the same time voicing real aggression to the political opposition or their supporters and their beliefs.

Five years is never going to be long enough to change anything. Some of the problems facing this country will take decades to resolve. If it is even possible to resolve them.

Any government trying to run a country, this country, is standing at the foot of a dam. The dam has 15 holes in it and the water is always coming out. The government, any government only have ten fingers. You do the math. Sometimes things don’t go very well and sometimes it completely falls apart.

Well that’s life. You can’t have everything all the time. It’s rough and smooth and that’s the way it is. The rest like I said earlier is just illusion, a sense of entitlement and endless crowd pleasing that taps in to the natural feeling of being disgruntled. People like to have a good moan. It’s human nature.

My general election saw random car journeys to places like Pudsey and Halifax, Hull and Scarborough. It brought me into contact with stoney-faced but professional close protection officers guarding Corbyn, May and Nuttall. It brought me into contact with some helpful and not-so-helpful media handlers and brought me close to early morning flip-flop punch-up’s in Hartlepool!

I spent quite some time ahead of some events corralled into a darkened room with blinds closed to prevent us looking out until we, ‘the meeja’ were allowed out to photograph and document these highly planned and orchestrated events.

It lets you hear the annoyingly enthusiastic and seemingly endless opinions of supporters from one side and the aggressively dismissive rejections of those opinions by others. Opinions and rejections that you learn to tune out so that eventually you don’t even listen to the words. Just the intonation so you can anticipate a crowd reaction for a picture.

You try and find new and interesting ways to photograph signs and placards!

It brings you into contact with accusatory looks and comments from supporters who hold you personally responsible for the woes of their favourite and yet it also brings you into contact with some very lovely people along the way. This is all a good thing because they have passion. It might be misguided or it might be spot on but the passion is admirable.

It offers an opportunity to photograph history in the making. To record these moments in time that have, do and will define this great country of ours in years to come. It’s a wonderfully insane responsibility.

British politics. You’ve got to love it.

Can’t wait till the circus is back in town but until then here’s a small selection from recent weeks…

 

0001<> on March 30, 2017 in Stockton-on-Tees, England.<> on March 30, 2017 in Stockton-on-Tees, England.0004<> on April 29, 2017 in Hartlepool, England.<> on April 29, 2017 in Hartlepool, England.<> on April 29, 2017 in Hartlepool, England.<> on April 29, 2017 in Hartlepool, England.0006<> on April 29, 2017 in Hartlepool, England.0012<> on May 12, 2017 in North Shields, England.<> on May 16, 2017 in Pudsey, England.001300180015001600170014<> on April 20, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.<> on May 22, 2017 in Hull, England.<> on May 22, 2017 in Hull, England.<> on May 22, 2017 in Hull, England.<> on June 1, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.0024<> on June 5, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.<> on June 5, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.0026<> on June 5, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.<> on June 5, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.<> on June 5, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.<> on June 5, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.<> on June 5, 2017 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.00340036<> on June 6, 2017 in Shildon, England.00370039004000380041<> on June 8, 2017 in Sunderland, England.<> on June 8, 2017 in Sunderland, England.<> on June 8, 2017 in Sunderland, England.<> on June 8, 2017 in Sunderland, England.<> on June 8, 2017 in Sunderland, England.<> on June 8, 2017 in Sunderland, England.

And here are some ways the pictures I shot were used both online and in print:

 

Images (c) Ian Forsyth 2017 / Getty Images

See more of my work in the galleries & blog at Room 2850

All rights reserved.

No usage without arrangement.

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4 thoughts on “Photographing the #GE17 – A wonderfully insane responsibility

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