Photojournalism: A glimpse inside Fortnum & Mason

Posted on March 31, 2011 by



THE POWER OF PHOTOS IN PROTEST: What was perhaps most noticeable about UK Uncut’s peaceful occupation of Fortnum & Mason on Saturday 26 March, the day of the TUC March for the Alternative, was that virtually no press made it inside. Yes, there were one or two freelancers and a handful of individual photographers, but the swarthes of national hacks and photography agencies didn’t quite have the guts to make it past the policed entrance. What did this mean? Well, it meant the press were pretty much free to make up what they wanted about what happened inside. Anarchists? But of course. Balaclava-clad anarchists yielding smoke bombs and ammonia-filled light bulbs? Naturally. Or, as The Daily Mail put it, 1,000 activists (there were half this many) “shouted abuse at customers and launched into tirades about class war. One threatened to attack a customer in a restaurant, outraged that they were carrying on eating salmon sandwiches,” while ” a group of menacing extremists stood under the crystal chandeliers and hung posters from metal stair-rails. They threatened to smash display cases full of luxury goods if the police tried to drag them out.”

In the days that followed the occupation, the media was filled with ‘their word against mine’ reports. Piece after piece (and there weren’t many) could come out saying the protest was peaceful, that no-one smashed anything, that police and protester were interacting in discussion not violence inside the central London department store, but that was the problem: it was one word against another. But here is where photojournalism comes in. In an unequivocally objective way, it can tell a story without any bias. It can show you a glimpse inside Fortnum & Mason and leave you to make up your own mind, without interpreting what you see for you.

Here goes. Please see a link to our Flickr page for the photojournalism essay of UK Uncut’s occupation of Fortnum & Mason.

Please see here for a first person account (in words).

And here for a video taken inside the store and outside as arrests were taking place (By Shiv Malik in The Guardian).