Archive for the ‘UK’ Tag

Photograph Found Outside the Algerian Consulate, London, 7 June 2010

And this is where my journey began over a month ago, picking up stray photos from the pavement outside the Algerian Consulate in London as I waited for a visa.


Mancunian Mayhem: Postcard Sent by Brenda Burrell and Received in Manchester by Joseph McGonagle

Glimpses of an Industrial Past: Postcard Sent by Ed Welch and Received in Manchester by Joseph McGonagle

Quebec, UK: Postcard Sent by Ed Welch and Received in Manchester by Joseph McGonagle

An Algerian in Manchester: Postcard Sent by Djihed Afifi and Received in Manchester by Joseph McGonagle

Orwellian Cat and Mouse in the Maghreb

I remember that it is George Orwell’s birthday tomorrow. I usually celebrate the event at his graveside in Sutton Courteney with my good friend, Christian Payne. In Algiers an equivalent number of policeman, often armed with Kalashnikovs, do the work of London’s CCTV cameras. As in the UK, photographers are equated with terrorists in Algeria, but with better reason. In the 1990s civil war Islamists often identified those they would assassinate by photographing them. For want of Google maps, they also photographed buildings to be blown up. But, at least the work of surveillance has a human face here.

The only way I am able to work here as a photographer is by using an iPhone or a Canon G11 with a swivel screen. The iPhone is an inconspicuous camera to use in a country swimming in jailbroken units. The crumbling buildings and vibrant trade in pirated technology remind me of Blade Runner.

I am told that, in Annaba, near the Tunisian border, where I am going next, I may even be assigned my own personal policeman. He will be there to attempt to ensure that no photographs are taken. It may be cat and mouse all the way.

Oranais in London


Card Received from Nina Martin (Verso)