Saturday, 8 August 2015

Be careful who you pose with! The art of the Sinn Fein selfie

Life's getting tougher for enthusiastic amateur photographers like me. An earlier generation of Picture Post photographers, Cartier Bressons or Richard Maynes could document their life of the people in their generation in black and white and  more recently Martin Parr has provided  great photos of the slummy sea side and Tory suburbia in colour without so far as I know getting bopped.

Yet an amateur like me can find it much more difficult in this censorious age.Last year I photographed the New South Wales Parliament House  and was confronted by an angry teacher whose class had been queing in the distance to get in, who demanded that I destroy my photo. In London in the winter I took a lovely snow scene outside Ashley Gardens and an angry girl  who'd been walking in the distance followed my down the road threatening to report me to the police. Point your camera at kids in any context and there are murmurs of paedophile which Lewis Carol never encountered.

Even if you don't take photos touyrself you've got to be careful who you pose with. Immediately the press want to discredit Jeremy Corbyn  they dredge out pictures of him with Gerry Adams though they must have thousands of Blair keeping the same company. Are there rediculous accusations against Ted Heath and he's pictured with Jimmy Saville which must be as frightening for anyone who appeared on Jim'll Fix is as it is for me who's just destroyed several photos of me with the man monster. Similarly David Cameron must regret  all the photos of him patronising Camila Batmanghelidjh as if worshipping an overdressed Moghul empress. The press have huge libraries and I have so many myself that I'm thinking of offering pictures of all the people, rogues swindlers and politicians who appeared with me on Target for a small fee.Unfortunately they're in some disorder;not sorted or categorised as photos with liars, swindlers or con-men.When I thought of standing for the Labour leadership though I've got hundreds of pictures with Blair I'd do better to strengthen my chances by publishing my picture of me with Margaret Thatcher. I couldn't find it.Can the security service have burgled me? 

Now the selfie craze has produced  an enormous expansion of the problem "It doesn't happen to me because Im now retired and the old aren't photogenic  Yet everywhere the famous,the celebs and would be celebs  instead of being asked for autographs on tatty pieces of paper or on different parts of the anatomy are asked for selfies  taken with a mobile phone all too often at the end of a broomstick. Beware. It not only takes more time than it does to scribble something incomprehensible  (on which they may be able to get a prescription at their chemists) but it exposes you to all kind of undesirable associations when the people you're photographed with are unveiled as paedophiles bank robbers or Directors of Kids Company who can then offer their photo to the Daily Mail or the Police Gazette for a fee.  

There's no escape and the new generation of MPs seem intent on taking selfies anywhere in the Commons, the toilets,the terrace and it'll no doubt spread to the House of Lords next. You could of course wear a beard, a mask like the phantom  of the Parliament Or pose only with the Archbishop of Canterbury. But the best course is the Sinn Fein selfie.Yourself alone. It's the only way I get photographed now. 

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