Photographers' Blog

The Boris and Ken show

Yesterday May 1 saw voters in England and Wales go to the polls to elect their local authority representatives. Londoners will have to wait until this evening to know who will be their new mayor but it is hard to imagine that it won’t be either the incumbent Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone or the Conservative challenger Boris Johnson. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the other contenders, this has pretty much been a two horse race almost from the start. 

Ken tea

Some reports have said that Mayor Ken Livingstone has looked rather weary and Stephen Hird’s picture (which appears on the front of  yesterday’s FT), shows him taking a break from the last day of campaigning, at what is colloquially know in this country as a ‘greasy spoon’ cafe. Intended, I suspect, to demonstrate his ‘just-like-us-ness’. It may in fact have succeeded rather too well because he does look just like any other tired old bloke.   

Boris on bus

Traditional symbols have been mercilessly exploited. Boris, an old Etonian had as his campaign bus one of the famous old red Routemaster London buses that Ken, as mayor, banished from service (Toby Melville).

Red rosette

On Polling Day Ken donned the traditional Labour politican’s garb of raincoat and Red Rosette (Toby Melville) and Boris seemed to complete the transformation into Winston Churchill that he had shown signs of earlier in the campaign (Darren Staples and Alessia Pierdomenico).

Churchill

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Spring in London – at last

Spring in London has finally sprung. The lid of concrete grey cloud has occasional cracks in it allowing the sun to shine through which completely transforms the appearance of the place.  

St Paul’s Cathedral

The seasonal ‘showers’ this year have had a monsoon-like intensity but having suffered the discomfort of long days of rain, Londoners have been rewarded by some wonderfully dramatic sunsets as Toby Melville demonstrates

GP Tower

The rain has transformed London’s parks into an explosion of lush new foliage and sprawling suburbs are transformed by cherry blossom. 

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.

Did Carla Bruni-Sarkozy disapoint? Here are the photographs, judge for yourselves.