19th of January 2019. The yellow vest were marching through Leeds city centre. This was a great opportunity to capture some editorial photos.
After spending the week checking where they were going to meet up. It wasn’t until the morning I found out they were planning on meeting outside the BBC Yorkshire building at 12pm.
Luckily for me I was dropping my partner off at work for this time. Which we got into the centre at around 11:45, this gave me plenty to get over ready to take some shots.
I walked to their meeting point but there were no yellow vest in sight. Out side of the BBC there were a large group of remainers holding signs ready for confrontation.
The weather was rather cold. Instead of standing around waiting for people to show up. I walked around to see if I could predict the route they were going to take with the amount of police down each street. After searching around abit I made my way back over to their meeting point.
It had started.
They were all stood in the middle of a busy cross road blocking off traffic in all directions. With police stood around them not really doing anything. Just making sure they were safe I guess.
So I got my camera out (80D with a 16 – 40 f4 lens attached) and walked over. There were a few other photographers out which wasn’t surprising. But I felt slightly awkward, I have never done anything like this. I always take photos of still life mainly. In my head I was thinking that someone isn’t going to take kindly to me pointing a camera at them and end up saying something to me. But stuff it, what will be will be.
Standing back from the crowd, stood in the middle of the road. I got a few shots of them just chanting away waving flags and mouthing off.
They proceeded to walk over, in the middle of the road still stopping traffic, to the BBC where the remainers were stood. With a barrier in between them there was lots of shouting and chanting at each other. The first person I saw been carted off by the police was across with the remainers group of people, which I tried to capture but my lens was too wide to get it.
They proceeded to keep traffic from moving, stood in front of busses not letting them move in or out of the bus station. which I managed to get a few shots of. A group of them had moved on further up the road and on to the opposite side, not to confront the counter protest, I’m not really sure what they were doing. But it did get rather heated between the yellow vest and the police. I believe a few had been sprayed with mace, there were a few people taking their shirts off spraying water in their eyes. With me been on the other side of the road stood around the other group of yellow vests I missed the opportunity to capture what had happened. With my lens been as wide as it was I would have had to be stood rather close to the action to capture it which I didn’t want to put my self in the middle of it. I think I need to get myself a longer lens for events like these something like a 70-200.
After an hour and not really much else happening apart from them all walking in the middle of the road causing chaos for traffic. I decided to give in and head to a coffee shop to edit the photos, give them titles and keyword ready for uploading to the 4 out of 5 agencies that allow editorial images I use. An hour had past the image information had been entered and I was properly about 15-20mins into trying to upload. The internet just didn’t work where I was, strange for a city centre. So I packed up and headed straight to a pub I knew would have decent internet and would be quiet for me to sit and get things done.
The images were up on to my 4 agencies I currently use, shutterstock, Getty images, big stock and Alamy. All I had to do now is wait for them to be approved… Alamy was the only ones to approve them straight away as I uploaded them as 24hrs newsworthy. The rest took far too long. A few days had passed by the time they were approved and visible to people to use.
Which leads me to this… Nothing has sold from this event. Zero earning. I believe this due to photos not been able to get them accepted straight away. All the news reports on local websites had already been done. I think the other photographers that were there may have worked for these. Apart from that there was not much coverages at all on these protesters, properly they don’t want to give the pro brexiters the publicity and voice.
If anything it was good experience for further events and got me out the house. It has given me a bit more confidence to take these type of photos and not worry about people not taking kindly to me capturing the event taking place. At one point while I was watching, someone kept looking me up and down at my camera which was s bit unnerving.
Not everything is going to work out and sell but this is the beginning of the year I have along way to go. Looking forward to see where I end up towards the end of his first year. Here are the shots I captured below.