Battling for Photographers, deeply embedded within the NUJ – a guest blog from John Rogers, Chair of the NUJ’s London Photographers’ Branch

LPB Chairmans report to branch.

Chairman’s report to Branch AGM January 2015

I decided to take on the role as branch chairman of the LPB as a result of the declining factors in our industry, and wanted to understand photographers’ problems and work to improving as much as possible through the NUJ

There has been a declining number of staff photographers on both, regional and national publications. Lots of photographers have left the NUJ and the LPB branch for various reasons, but the reason that is of most concern was the offering of a training programme run by the NUJ to teach writers to use mobile devices for photography. Although this was not intended to undermine the professionalism of working press photographers the actuality was that it did and we now see the likes of the Press Association and many regional news publishers making photographers redundant with Journalists being asked to do their jobs.

This branch is committed to re-establishing the differentiation between press photographers and writers for the sake of professionalism on both sides, and will seek the commitment and support of the leadership in doing so.

There has been a massive increase in ‘Citizen journalism and photography’ the result being an increase in membership applications into the branch, while this may be good for the union and its finances, there is dubious proof on many applications for full membership. Also with the issuing of UKPCA cards based on that membership there are resulting problems in the activity of untrained and inexperienced operators for the profession.

Their needs to be an increase in training for photographers to fully understand the law concerning photography, your rights as a press photographer and limitations regarding privacy, legality, public interest and confrontational aspects when dealing with police. The rights and wrongs of what you can do and can’t do.
The professional way of confronting any wrong doing by a police officer.

There have been problems in the past I have no doubt in the future too and every time we face an increase in problems with policing when doing our jobs it is right to pursue them collectively in a professional manner and try and orchestrate change in the way they deal with the media.

This branch is actively involved with meeting with Metropolitan police officers and its bureaus’ to improve relations and working conditions when dealing with photographers holding a UKPCA press card.

Branch meetings could be better attended, and it has been noted that some new applicants don’t even bother to attend when applying to join the branch this has to be questioned reasons understood and dealt with. The branch is for your use, education, social gathering and problem solving. If you don’t bother we can’t bother. If you want to make changes get involved.

The committee has survived another year but we need help and more people to involve themselves with the branch and will be asking for people to step forward and help at the AGM

John Rogers
Chairman LPB 2014/15

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