Photographers' Blog

Scotland – a tale of two cities

Edinburgh/Kilmarnock, Scotland
By Suzanne Plunkett

I find myself waiting in a featureless hotel conference room in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock. I’m here to photograph an informal meeting about the benefits of voting for independence in the upcoming referendum on whether Scotland should break its union with the rest of the United Kingdom.

But if attendance at this gathering is anything to go by, the vote in favour of secession may be in serious trouble.

According to some observers, Kilmarnock, a down-on-its-luck manufacturing town in the west of Scotland, should be a pro-independence heartland. The economically depressed, so the theory goes, are more likely to vote for change.

Yet, here in the Fenwick hotel, 15 minutes past the time the meeting should have started, barely anyone is here. It’s so empty I can hear the tick of a wristwatch from three rows away. We all stare awkwardly at the rain sliding down the windows and wait.

Then – bang!

The door flies open and two chattering volunteers breeze in. They bustle to the front of the room and begin stacking “Yes to independence” campaign leaflets and draping a Scottish Saltire flag over a desk. They are oblivious to the settled gloom until one of them turns around and notices something is missing.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A week in pictures 14 August 2011

This week Pakistan marked its day of independence from British rule with parades, parties, face painting and bombs.  Two pictures of faces covered in colour, one paint, the other blood, seems to sum up all there needs to be said about the national pride Pakistan feels while facing so many challenges. Visually the complementary colours of green and red (colours on opposite sides of the colour spectrum) make the pictures jump out of the page especially when put side by side. The angry eye staring out of the face of green in Mohsin Raza's picture engages the viewer full on while in Amir Hussain's picture the man seems oblivious of his wound as blood covers his face, again more opposites, this time not in colour but mood. India too is preparing to celebrate its independence and Dehli-based photographer Parivartan Sharma's picture of festival preparations came to mind after I put together the red-and-green combination picture from Pakistan.  

 

(top left) A man, with his face painted depicting the colours of the Pakistan national flag, attends a ceremony to mark the country's Independence Day at the Wagah border crossing with India on the outskirts of Lahore August 14, 2011. Pakistan gained independence from British rule in 1947. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

A man, his face bloodied by a head injury, is held by a resident as he waits to be evacuated from the site of a bomb blast in Dara Allah Yar, located in the Jaffarabad district of Pakistan's Balochistan province, August 14, 2011. A bomb ripped through the two-story building in Pakistan's restive southwest on Sunday, killing at least 11 people and wounding nearly 20, police said. REUTERS/Amir Hussain 

My most miserable day

When asked about covering South Sudan and its journey to independence, a story that was largely reported as a positive event, photographer Goran Tomasevic had the following to say in a recent interview:

“Honestly, it was one of the most miserable days in my life. It was so disorganized.

The day before, there was still construction going on in the place where the Independence Day celebrations were to be held. Everyone had to queue for some press passes for maybe 3-4 hours but they gave press cards to NGOs and to everyone. Somehow, they managed to finish the construction but then totally screwed up with security in general. We didn’t know where to go. There were some stands up so we pushed here and there. They would kick us back and we would run around and they would pull us back again.

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