Photo reporter in a riot

Manifestations à Paris (2007), par Remouille

Manifestations à Paris (2007), par Remouille

You may never have to do it, but it is a kind of experience that only an excellent pro reporter could deliver: How to cover a riot.

John Camp (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist) gives us the essentials about shooting photos in this kind of high-tension, fast-action environment. The photographer (pro or amateur) does not want to be taken by surprise either by the activists or by the police forces. For this, he needs to follow a set of rules. Some may appear obvious, some may be important to learn:

  1. Always — ALWAYS! — know where the cops are and what they’re doing
  2. Don’t mess with riot cops during a riot.
  3. Always — ALWAYS! — know where the Little Assholes are.
  4. Very important. Learn to walk backwards.
  5. All riots have their own geography, or shape.
  6. Listen carefully.
  7. Dress right.
  8. Given a choice, at a riot, it’s better to be a reporter than a photographer.

In the words of John Camp: “Follow these simple media rules, and you probably won’t get hurt, and you’ll probably get the story. Best of all, you’ll also look like a pro.