Throwback – Pride in London Event Photography
Pride in London Event Photography
I was lucky enough to be one of the London event photographers at Pride in London in 2018. I realised the other day that due to a heavy workload I have not had time to share this colourful set of photographs on Piranha’s blog.
As it is that time of year again, when in June the Pride in London march should be taking place I have had a look back and revisited the photographs. The march would have been on the 27th June this year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the parade will only be celebrated online. The next London Pride parade has been postponed to summer 2021.
Leica Photojournalism Course
In 2018 I was attending a Leica Photojournalism Course in London and as a part of the course we were given a back stage pass for privileged access to all aspects of the Pride parade and any pubs and clubs that were holding any supporting events. I had a full day to take photographs and the best were then provided to Pride in London for PR and publication.
London Event Photography and Coverage of the Parade
The photographers gathered at the start of the parade and headed out to capture images of everyone busy with the setup and preparation of the floats. Once the floats had set off we then walked with them down Portland Place, photographing the people, and the crowds bustling around.
Off the Beaten Track
It was at this time I thought there was going to be so such more to the day than the parade itself so went off the beaten track to seek out individual groups and people celebrating in their own way.
Soho Square Churches
My first stop was Soho Square a famous bohemian location in London’s ‘media land’ – there was a lot of preparation but nothing underway quite yet as it was too early in the day. It occurred to me when I saw the two churches in this square that there might be a photographic story to be told around religion and the gay community. St Patrick’s Church was open but empty and The French Protestant Church of London was closed.
I spotted a sign for ‘Free Breakfast’ and an arrow pointing into St Anne’s Church in Dean Street. This could be empty too, but at least I’d get croissants and coffee! Unlike the two previous places of worship this Church was heaving with people, chatting and enjoying a pre-march service. I checked with the vicar and all was fine for me to mingle, take photographs and set whatever I needed up. It was at this venue I probably got some of my best images from the whole day. It pays to seek out photo opportunities off the beaten track as it can lead to hugely rewarding unexpected pictures. The atmosphere was friendly and very welcoming for all to join in.
Cafes and Bars of Old Compton Street
I explored the cafe’s and bustling bars along Old Compton Street which were full of colourful people getting ready to join the march, be a part of the march or just form a march of their own. The people taking part were spectacular in their costumes and in their characters.
I continued to work my way through the streets around Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Eventually I caught up with people I knew on Whitehall.
The day was challenging, enjoyable but exhausting and many miles were covered on foot in pursuit of the strongest photographs.
The Final Photographs
Afterwards I downloaded and processed the 1,000 or so images taken of the whole event and presented my 20 favourites as a slideshow. These images were sent to Pride in London and the global online magazine LFi (Leica Fotographie International) published several. The image below appeared on the BBC website.
Onwards to 2021
The colour and excitement of the day drew attention to LGBT+ community issues and the wide publication of the images was used to promote the cause. I look forward to photographing many more Pride in London parades in the future.
Showreel of Favourite Event Photographs taken on the Day
Below I have included a short showreel of my favourite photographs taken on the day. This is very much a selection of the many pictures –
If you would like to see more of Piranha’s event photography please do visit the main web page here – Piranha Event Photographer London.
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This was one of the most interesting events I have photographed. Pride is always an amazing opportunity for people to express their characters and enjoy the day. From a technical point of view as a photographer, the photography is challenging in that you have to work fast and there are no second chances for capturing the best images. I needed to quickly spot an opportunity and then be in the right place at the right time. Anticipating the shot is crucial and makes for the strongest final image. - Douglas, Photographer