My 2011 in pictures

24 Dec 2011 | 4 comments

Choosing my least worst photos from the year, I tried to be detached and to pick the pics I consider the most punchy and commercial. But I couldn’t. My choices are coloured by emotion and experience.
For the sake of sense, I’ve divided these in to five broad headings.
I’ve already published plenty of pics of people burning bins and smashing shops. I’m not putting those here.
At a time when the ugliest face of humanity was on show, the most powerful voice in the world to me was Tariq Jahan’s. His son was murdered during the riots. Yet he called for calm, not revenge, likely averting a race riot. His words brought me to tears. They do to this day.

This photo has grown on me since I took it. I arrived at Tottenham High Street late – about 4am – when the initial rioting was all but over. Amongst the fire crews hosing burning buildings, a moment.

I took this as I bounced between the looting and violence in Camden Town and Chalk Farm, on the third night of looting. Between the hotspots, an eerie vacuum. It was a safe moment, set apart from the hostility of those who seemed to own the streets that night, those who were targeting people and property.

I feel that my understanding of what makes a good street photo – and my style – has sharpened this year. I used to shy away from any sense that I was imposing myself on the moment. But that’s unreal. People react to the camera. Interaction is interesting and I’m not one to hide as I work.

See also: 12 Hour Street Photography Challenge.
During a demonstration in Cambridge, a boy in an EDL hoodie is separated from his family as police try to keep EDL and anti-EDL demonstrators apart:

Along with the larger, set-piece demonstrations, there are frequent, smaller fights over what has become as much about political ideology – left vs right – as about disputes over notions of race, culture, Islam and Nationalism. A couple of EDL supporters visited Manchester’s “Gay Village” one afternoon. They were confronted by people hostile to their beliefs. Many smaller fights like this have played out across the country this year.

Perhaps the biggest EDL story of the year: the group’s Tower Hamlets demonstration. The area has a large Muslim population and a massive police operation was mounted. Crusader iconography features strongly in EDL discourse:

March 26th brought a wave of demonstrations to London and, cutting under a massive and peaceful rally organised by the TUC, much anger was directed towards the police, as well as tax-avoiding businesses and banks.

The Prime Minister in the Spring:

This year, gay & human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, celebrated 40 years since he immigrated to the UK:

Evangelical Christians protested at London Pride. Two lads shared a kiss in the face of their detractors:

Passionate protesters marched on the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Sheffield:

And finally, the picture which I’m most proud of from 2011. Click here to view it larger. Please take the time to let your eyes wonder over the frame, flick from face to face, read the body language, how the subjects react to one another, to me, to one another again, the symmetry and the asymmetry in each element and across the photograph:

Thank you for for letting me share these with you. Have a happy and healthy 2012.


  1. Pete Webb

    Hiyas there
    Great set there Joel. The first and third ones are my faves I think – but it’s not easy to choose
    Good stuff

  2. Frédérique Bernard

    Your work is gutsy, Joel! The visual impact is striking like a front page best shot of an intelligent read.
    I have total admiration.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Ron Lamb

    kudos my friend…


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