Five years ago when I started as a press photographer one of the first big events I covered was the 2010 General Election in the North East... fast forward five years and it was that time again but this time I was covering the events in the South West and beyond. The most noticeable difference this time was just how stage managed the whole process was - with everybody expecting the results to be extremely tight nobody wanted a Gillian Duffy moment. This meant that interaction between the leaders and the actual public was kept at a minimum, with the vast majority of events being held in safe spaces filled with doting supporters. Press officers weren't exactly forthcoming with news of events (a problem all over the country by the sounds of it), which meant that actual photo opportunities were kept at a minimum. That said, I still managed to get a few shots I liked during that time, mostly thanks to the force of nature that is Boris Johnson.....
1) International Man of Rescue:
2) Ladies / Babies man
3) A man not afraid to tackle a piece of food
The Chancellor George Osborne enjoyed a trip to a vacuum cleaner factory and happily got pictured with his namesake hoover George:
Before which he got into the West Country vibes by enjoying a Stowford Press cider (he timidly drank about a quarter)
A job for the London Evening Standard provided me with a couple of minutes with Nick Clegg on the Liberal Democrat battle bus:
Which brought us to election day. Early on I decided that I wanted to cover David Cameron's actions on this day so with a 5am start I set off to Oxfordshire to photograph David and Sam turning up to cast their votes at their local polling station. A woman dressed as Elmo and a few other protestors made events interesting..
On the way back to Bristol I photographed the obligatory quirky polling station, this one in a launderette in Oxford:
As we were not allowed in to cover David Cameron in Witney during the count (along with several other agencies due to 'space restrictions'...) I headed back to Bristol to cover the Bristol West / North West count at night. In what can only be described as one of the longest nights of my life the results were finally announced at around 7am for the key marginal Bristol West seat, which as predicted went to Labour's Thangam Debbonaire, having previously been held by Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams. Also noteworthy was the amounts of votes that the Green candidate Darren Hall managed in second place - in keeping with the Green's huge surge in popularity across the country.
Ending with a real genuine moment in the election as Stephen William's was consoled by supporters as his ten year political career came to an end:
With the nation awaking to the shock news of a Conservative majority on Friday morning, I was still wide awake pretty pleased with securing the front page of that days Sun newspaper. Until the next time...