The great photographers Don McPhee and Martin Jenkinson both shot a miner in a policeman’s helmet confronting cops at Orgreave – but whose image became iconic, and who decides?
These days, it’s not unusual to see dozens of amateur photographers all pointing their smartphones in the same direction in a scramble to capture variations of the same shot. But scrums of professional photographers are an old and familiar phenomenon, with competing versions thus existing of many famous images. So what helps one picture stand out from the crowd?
One of photographer Martin Jenkinson’s best-known pictures shows a protesting miner, wearing a toy policeman’s helmet, squaring up to a line of police officers. The black and white image holds both a playful humour and tension in its frame, pitting the lone protester in his parodic outfit against the dark block of officers facing him, one of whom looks directly at the lens. The image was taken at the Battle of Orgreave, a pivotal 1984 miners’ protest in which the police outnumbered demonstrators. Some officers, many argue, used excessive force.