Archive for the ‘United Kingdom’ 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.

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.

An Englishman in Algeria

Having travelled to France on my Canadian passport while my visa application was lodged with the Algerian Consulate in London, my British passport is returned to me in Marseille. Now I can shed my Québecois identity to enter Algeria as an Englishman.

Victoria to Dover

A fatality on the track shortly after leaving London results in a long delay as the crime scene ahead of us is investigated.

Tottenham Court Road to Arsenal 3

As Zineb observes, a journey doesn’t necessarily involve travel from one country to another. Riding the train from one Tube station to the next can also be a journey.

Tottenham Court Road to Arsenal 2

Tottenham Court Road to Arsenal 1

‘For Surreal’ Postcard Received from Mike at Cornerhouse, Manchester, 4 June 2010

After Sonatrach, more real estate in London.

London Headquarters of the Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation

The United Kingdom is probably the largest current investor in oil-rich Algeria. For its part, Sonatrach, an Algerian state-owned company, is a major investor in the gas reserves of the Thames estuary.