Shadows and Reflections: the annual collection of postings where Caught by the River’s ever-reliable contributors and friends old and new take a look back on the events that have shaped the past twelve months. Today it’s the turn of Brian David Stevens:
Looking through the archive.
Over the last year I’ve been sorting out and scanning my old archive for use in Cafe Royal Books and came across a bunch of pictures I took at the Mayday protests in 2001. Mayday in London had been a flashpoint for the last couple of years and in 2001 the police and penned a couple of thousand protestors in Oxford Circus one of the first examples of ‘kettling’ – “You are being detained here to prevent a breach of the peace and criminal damage to property. You will be released in due course.” was the police line.
I had not been in London long and was still finding my feet as a photographer, going back through contact sheets and dusty negatives I found that I’d spent a lot of the time photographing the police rather than the protestors or the protests themselves. It was the first time I’d really seen riot police in their stormtrooper uniforms (quite strange if you’d been brought up in a place when the police’s most high-tech piece of kit was a Mini Metro) and quickly became fascinated by the only section of them that was visible, through the visor of their riot helmet, it seemed that I had spent the whole day concentrating on this little window of humanity. Most of these pictures haven’t been published before.