Election photographer prepared for anti-terror stops
March 24, 2010
© John Roberts
Photographer Simon Roberts who was recently chosen as the nation?s official Election Artist has expressed concern that he may become an innocent victim of UK anti-terrorism laws.
Last week the House of Commons announced that Simon will document campaign activity in the run up to the 2010 General Election.
Using a hand-made Ebony 45s (4x5in) camera the photographer is set to explore the relationship between politicians and the voting public.
This is the first time that photography has been chosen as the medium for such a project.
His subjects are expected to include battle-buses, village greens, polling stations and shopping centres.
However, in recent years many amateur and professional photographers have complained about being unfairly stopped by police while taking photographs in public places.
In some instances street photographers are suspected of carrying out ?hostile reconnaissance? as part of a terrorist operation.
An escalation of such reports led to a nationwide campaign to protect photographers? rights and a protest by photographers in Trafalgar Square. And, earlier this month, Amateur Photographer magazine met counter-terrorism minister David Hanson to discuss the ongoing controversy.
Asked whether he is worried that his presence may trigger unwarranted attention from the authorities Simon told us: ?Yes, and I?m sure that might become one of the themes of the work.?
He added: ?And if my parliamentary card and letter from [Works of Art Committee Chairman] Hugo Swire MP – which confirms who I am and what I am doing – doesn?t work I?ll call you from jail.?
Simon (pictured above) said he was surprised to be offered the role. He told Amateur Photographer: ?It?s going to be a fascinating election to be involved in. It feels like there will be a real sea change. Will the public show any interest or will they be disillusioned by the expenses scandal etc??
The project is also set to involve the general public. People will be asked to submit photographs relating to political activity in their local area leading up to, and during, the election.
These photos will go on show in an online gallery and may be displayed alongside Simon?s own pictures in the final artwork to be exhibited in the House of Commons this summer.
For full details visit The Election Project website.
Watch a recent More4 News report HERE