john gladdy – speakers corner

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John Gladdy

Speakers Corner


Hyde Park Corner, London, England.
Every Sunday since at least 1872.

Between 2009 and 2012 I became a part of the ongoing street theatre that is Speakers Corner.

Graduating, slowly but surely, from detached photographic voyeur to fully-fledged participant/heckler/occasional bit player.

I have joined a cast of thousands that have come to this place to express their views, however controversial or off the wall, over the last hundred or so years. Religion is the current hot topic, especially Islam, but over the years the area has attracted notable political and human rights activists including Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and William Morris and still hosts a very lively Marxist forum and a selection of anarchist, conservative and socialist speakers.

This piece, as it stands, is not intended to answer any big questions or reveal any deep insight into the reasons people attend this place. I am not sure I am even qualified to ask those sorts of questions. I hope only in some small way to take you on a little sensory wander around the place. A selection of tapas if you like.




John Gladdy (b. 1964) is an English photographer living in London.

He has no formal qualifications having been expelled from high school and no formal training as a photographer. He discovered he had a talent for image making while working with the photographer Brett Walker on a community project in 2003.

He came to photography very late in life and has worked his way back from initially using automated digital equipment to now using mainly fully manual film based equipment in a variety of formats. He processes and prints his own work, wherever possible using traditional darkrooms and materials.

His portrait work is held by collectors all over the world. He is currently resting in London trying to overcome heart problems and looks forward to being well enough to travel again and find a new project.

Started at 45 years old this is his first attempt at a long form photo essay.


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John Gladdy


60 Responses to “john gladdy – speakers corner”

  • the standalone image is sold to the astute bidder as advertising fodder

  • Been to the ballet lately guys it has come a long way since being a interpretation of fencing performances are available live on the internet as well.

  • In every day life the moving picture is king

    Perhaps, but it’s complicated. One could make a reasonable argument that people generally prefer to look at moving images, hence film and television are far more popular than newspapers and magazines these days. But Michael Kircher makes a good point that outside of television most of the pictures we see on a daily basis, both on the web and in the analog world, are still images. Websites and outdoor advertising are rife with still images. And considering these tend to be extremely commercial businesses, no doubt market research shows that still images continue to sell. I don’t know how representative of the general populace I am (usually not very), but I hate it when internet video pops up unbidden on a site and do everything I can to avoid it. Choice, however, is something else again and the fact that sites are integrating more and more video supports the notion that people like, if not prefer, moving images. YouTube is very, very popular.

    Image creation, however, is something else again. Everywhere I look, whether I’m in the big city or small town, I just about everybody is taking still photographs all the time. On my Facebook feed, I think my non-photographer friends post more images than the photographers. And I hear sites like Flikr are very popular as well.

    I suspect a big part of that has to do with required skills and technology. It’s very easy these days to snap a decent photo on your phone or camera. Viewing, printing, or uploading to the web requires no expensive software or super powerful computer. Changing the look with programs like Instagram is easy as pie.

    Video, on the other hand, is much more difficult. It requires more skill to capture decent video. Editing, even with a relatively simple program like IMovie, is much more difficult than applying simple manipulations to still images. Serious editing requires serious computing power and expensive, difficult to master, applications. Getting it in a viewable format requires all of the above plus arcane knowledge of codecs. Adding audio opens up a whole nother bag of worms. And then it requires decent bandwidth to view it.

    Of course these things are getting much easier. Computers are more powerful, services like YouTube ease the codec issues, but the camera will always need to be held steady and the pans will always need to be fluid and that will never be as easy as snapping a photo on the camera phone. So I think it’s safe to say that still images will rule most people’s individual worlds, whether they would choose that or not, for a long time to come, if not forever.

  • Pictures are in abundance what I have referred to is the crafted image going is the photographers craft replaced by the picture.

  • The biggest snag for me with video is that it simply tells too much. I prefer still images because they let you dream much further. You see with video if you record a few minutes of somebody there’s a good chance we will find out too much about this person. She maybe is extremely attractive but that voice of hers is awful or perhaps she or he is drop dead gorgeous until you see them walk and suddenly bang all those cool feelings crumble away leaving the everday boing and triial reality. But a photograph is so good at manipulating the truth it leaves so much more open to the imagination, it’s simply easier to create something iconic. Video takes a lot more ingredients which need each other to make something a “Wow”.


    I love this! I love the very first sentence I heard… “you just came here for an argument”…From then on it only got better.. Fantastic imagery and sound and I love the bits you chose to highlight…I am for all forms, the pictorial alone, the pictorial and the written but I love the pictorial, the written and audio all in one…Its a really really hard thing to master and I really think you have done a fabulous job…

    Well done and its inspired me to keep working on the environmental piece I am doing… sometimes seeing something like this pushes you forward so thanks for that!

  • well done john.. sorry to have been unable to join you at speakers corner that sunday :o)
    works very well – whatever people classify it as.. stills.. MM.. blahblah.

    photography has new venues for showing work.. thats all..
    most of what is called “MM” has been around for yonks.. as “slideshow with sounds”.. the new venue to show the work has made it more prevelent of course.. easier to do and show.

    when video is thrown in it seems much of what is called MM becomes what might once have been called a documentary.. thinking of “darkness visable” by seamus murphy on media storm..

    working up an end result is paramount – whatever it’s called in the end is academic.. whatever trends are building now may stay or go, to be defined later.. once upon a time myspace was here to stay, and now it’s facebook.. who cares what it’s called – content is king.

    i guess it all starts differently for all of us. for me it starts with still images..
    it’s always been the case that editing for slideshow, exhibition or print is different.. now we have editing / producing for the internet as well.
    sa’ll fresh with the internet, although things seem to be settling into themselves in many ways for many photographer / producers.

    anyway.. gotta go – work.
    well done john .. hope to see you again soon in the near future and looking forward to hearing your next story is underway.

    stay well

  • Hey congrats John on finally getting this published. Been away with spotty internet so didn’t get to it until now. Was actually in Hyde Park last week but no idea where this is and was with Felix so straight to the playground it was.

    Funny that most of the voices seem to be American accents. Why is this do you think?



  • Just love this. have for a while when i saw the images on his website long ago. Thing the sounds adds rather than distracts. Love it. damon

  • that should be think the sound….

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