This is probably going to be the memorable image of Wednesday’s student demo in central London, but as Ciara Leeming writes, almost all picture desks have used the same, rather misleading crop:

It might just be me but the wider view poses some interesting questions about the media’s role in events like this demo. Without all the photographers egging on people like this student, or EDL meatheads on extreme right-wing marches, would this kind of drama happen to the extent it does?

….Maybe they [picture editors]  just think it’s the better photo, that it tells the story better. I happen to disagree. The wide shot tells me everything I need to know and more. As the print business continues to evaporate, there seems to be a collective will to collude, self-censor,  and avoid – at all costs – taking a critical stance on its own role and behaviour. Maybe it was always thus, I don’t know.

I think Ciara has a point, but I do wonder if it’s too much of an examination of established journalism’s own navel. After all, you don’t need a colluding photojournalist to create the story. We’re in an era when a camera of some kind is in everyone’s hands, and it matters little if the person holding it earns a living from taking pictures or is just an innocent bystander with an cellphone – the event will still happen and be reported.


See Ciara Leeming’s own site and particularly her pictures of Appleby Horse Fair, the annual travellers’ gathering up in the wilds of rural Cumbria. Perhaps needlessly, I felt a bit on edge the only time I went there, and though I was struck by how the travelling girls were all (fake?) tanned and glammed-up in shocking pink, I didn’t feel “allowed” to photograph them. Ciara’s really captured this less well known aspect of Appleby.