Before crossing Marylebone Road on my way home on Friday afternoon I stopped at the traffic lights, and whilst waiting for the lights to go green, I don’t jump lights and anyway Marylebone Road is much too wide, I looked to my left. On my left was a large building which had been recently part renovated, part rebuilt. It’s one of those hybrid building, of old and new, and actually works. Camped outside this building were a phalanx of media people; press photographers, cameramen, journalists and others buzzing around. It was a real hive of activity!
I sat there, looking with a sort of vague interest, but just before the lights turned green I lifted my bicycle on to the pavement and continued looking for a few minutes, half-pulled to go and take a closer look. I knew why it was so busy. It was 1:30, and at 2:00 John Terry, of Chelsea and former England captain, would learn the judge’s verdict on the the racism case that had so delighted the tabloids, led to Fabio Capello’s ‘resignation’ and turmoil in the England squad just weeks before the European Championships, where they lost on penalties in the quarter-finals, as always. If you’re not familiar with the case you can always find it on the internet.
I had things to do though, which included going to Argos and cleaning the bathroom, so I got on my bike and with a last look at Westminster Magistrates Court, pedalled away. As I cycled I thought that it might be interesting to photograph the scene outside the court, and then that I could always photograph something similar another time. I pulled over to the kerb and thought.
‘Did I really want to go back?’ And then thought,’well one hour isn’t going to kill me or change anything’. So, having cycled for five minutes in the opposite direction I turned back. I got back at 1:45 and decided to produce a photo essay with my camera phone.
I locked my bike up, and with two panniers hanging precariously from each shoulder, pushed my way through the crowd.
I’ve always found that newsworthy situations that attract the press also attract quite interesting members of the public. People that you would never know about or see otherwise,
and who seem to blossom in these situations.
Standing on a traffic island he took quite a bit of abuse, w***er being the favourite term used, usually followed by a one-fingered salute or internationally recognisable hand movement.
However, he also had a supporter,
As the clock ticked towards two o’clock,
people waited anxiously for the verdict,
and the press jostled for position.
Making ‘important’ calls.
Finally, the verdict reached the crowds..
And some people just couldn’t believe it!
Whilst others were utterly relieved and celebrated with cheap pink bubbly.
Then out came the chief protagonist, John Terry,
who walked with a fixed stare straight towards a waiting car,
hotly pursued by the press.
After a few minutes Anton Ferdinand appeared,
and was whisked through the crowd,
also hotly pursued by the press.
Finally, John Terry’s unofficial defence team appeared,
followed by the real one.
The media interviewed fans,
who said all the right things.
People posed for photos.
to send to their friends.
And the photographers filed their photos,
before moving on to another job.
If you are interested in using any of these images please contact me. All photographs copyright Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann. Any use requires authorisation. Thank you.
© Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann