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from Photographers' Blog:

A town of grief

BRITAIN-AFGHANISTAN/
The coffins of six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan are driven though the streets of Wootton Bassett in southwest England November 10, 2009. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Since the early 2000's, the bodies of fallen servicemen and women from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places have been repatriated to RAF Lyneham. They pass through the town of Wootton Bassett on their way to the coroner in Oxford. This has led to family members, friends, locals and mourners from further afield assembling along the route of the funeral cortege. It is an emotionally charged event that garners wide media coverage every time.

BRITAIN/
A man cries as the hearses carrying the coffins of five British soldiers are driven through the streets of Wootton Bassett, southern England March 11, 2010. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

This was the second time that I had covered this story, the first being just a few weeks ago. Then again yesterday as five servicemen were repatriated. Standing on stepladders to facilitate a clear view over the hearses sounds conspicuous at such an event. And it is. There is no getting away from it. In order to document what is happening, we need to be able to see it.

from Photographers' Blog:

They came… we saw… she conquered…

The State visit to Britain by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni drew widespread attention not the least from the massed ranks of photographers and televison crews keen to record the couple's every step.  No cliche was left unturned as members of the press vied with one another to describe their partnership.

But... a state visit by a French President would always draw interest, and with the added glamour angle you had a winning formulae.  The drab world of formal visits was to be given a makeover - I for one hoped so. In my view, the visit was not so much a breath of fresh air blowing away the cobwebs, but a mix of contrasting elements standing together. With this visit we hoped to  see contrasts of age, style and appearance. In addition the sense of anticipation was heightened because the people involved represented the historic differences between the English and the French. Would they come together in a new entente cordiale? Would the charge be led by the French President? Not on your life, it was led by his wife, the amabassador extraordinaire.

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