Phil Coomes, Picture editor

Phil Coomes Picture editor

Exploring the world of photojournalism, photos in the news and BBC News' use of photographs, including those by our readers

Tour de France and the selfie

Katie Holroyde took this selfie with the two Tour de France favourites
Katie Holroyde took this selfie of the two Tour de France favourites from the side of the road

For fans of any sport, close to the action is where you want to be. Why watch from a distance when you can reach out and touch your sporting hero?

For some events, that's not practical - but in others, there has always been a desire to get close, one being the Tour de France.

The current Tour, which began in Yorkshire, has seen millions coming out to cheer on the riders, but those in the saddle are less happy with some who attempt to take selfies as the riders approach.

Geraint Thomas said he had had to avoid fans stepping into the road to take pictures of themselves during the opening two stages of the race.

"For sure, it was a bit dodgy at times," he said.

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American always, Scottish forever

Contestants

On 18 September, voters in Scotland will be asked in a referendum whether they want the nation to become independent from the rest of the United Kingdom. Yet, across the Pond, there are many Americans with Scottish ancestry, something celebrated at California's Highland Games season. Here photographer Stephen McLaren sets out his take on the event and shares some of his portraits.

Despite President Obama's hopes for Scotland to remain in the UK, the Scottish cultural spirit - which includes pipe bands, sword-dancing, tossing the caber and sheepdog trials - is alive, well and independence-minded in California. An annual calendar of around 20 Scottish festivals and Highland Games brings a mix of recent Scottish emigres and those for whom Scotland is an approximate but proud source of their family heritage.

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Outlaws on the open road

Crossing the Ohio, Louisville. (c) Danny Lyon Courtesy of Etherton Gallery (USA) & ATLAS Gallery London

In the 1960s Danny Lyon photographed the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, not as a passive observer, but in close, as part of the gang. The resulting photographs capture a subculture from the inside and form one of the defining photographic documents of that time, influencing many photographers who went on to record the decades that followed.

Lyon was born in New York in 1942 and first started photographing in the early 1960s as a staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the University of Chicago. His earliest photographs were published in a book on the southern civil rights movement, and since then he has continued to produce work that aims to shape and change opinion.

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Exploring the George Rodger archive

Kordofan, The Nubas, Sudan. 1949

Photographic archives hold a fascination for photographers and those interested in the medium, not just for the images they preserve, but the background information that goes with them.

One student who has been delving into a number of photographic archives, both online and hard copy, is Kate Green, who, for her course at Coventry University, has focused on the material held in the George Rodger Archive.

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Photography Today

Is photography art? Today the answer is simple, indeed photography is more popular than ever and arguably the visual art of choice for the masses, but half a century ago the debate still raged.

In a new book, Photography Today, writer, artist and lecturer Mark Durden analyses more than 500 works by 150 artists from the past 50 years, exploring the impact of various genres, from pop art to documentary.

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Sunday soldiers

Squadron Sergeant-Major Nick Gibson, Royal Engineers

This week sees the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces landed in northern France and began the campaign that would end the conflict in Europe against Nazi Germany the following year. American photographer Daniella Zalcman moved to the UK recently and began a project to make portraits of people who take part in military re-enactment. Here she talks about the work.

When I moved from New York to London in November 2012, I immediately began looking for a photo project that would allow me to get to know the UK. I grew up in the Maryland/Virginia area of the US, where civil war re-enactment is an exceedingly common hobby, and I loved the idea of it — though I found it slightly ironic that most participants' families probably weren't even in America yet during the Civil War.

A table with gloves and chess pieces

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The Apology

After the Apology, Susan Moylan Coombes

Photographer Aletheia Casey recently returned to Australia after living abroad for five years and began work on a project looking at the process of reconciliation and apology to indigenous Australians. To mark National Sorry Day in Australia, Casey writes about the work.

Shortly before I left Australia in 2008, the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to the First Peoples of Australia and recognised the ongoing trauma and dislocation that the colonisation of Australia has had on the Indigenous Peoples of this land. He also made a specific formal apology for the forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their homes which occurred from the 1920s until well into the 1970s in Australia.

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Photographing the Monaco Grand Prix

On the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix, photographer David Davies reveals what it is like to cover the prestigious motor race.

As a photographer for the Press Association (PA) I have covered all sorts of events, but the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix is without doubt my favourite. Other events do not even touch the noise, smells and atmosphere of a couple of hours in May, when the streets of Monaco are lit up by the blur of F1 cars blasting round the principality.

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Observing the crowd: Bob Collins

Pensioners asleep on the beach, Brighton, c.1950

A selection of work by the London photographer Bob Collins is on display in a new exhibition at the Museum of London. The show includes his coverage of major events as well as images of everyday scenes on the streets of the capital. Anna Sparham, the curator of photographs at the Museum of London, writes about the work and picks out a few of her favourites.

For almost 50 years Bob Collins (1924-2002) worked as a freelance photographer, initially as an amateur after World War Two, before turning professional in 1956.

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At the top of their game

Anastasia Beauty Competition

Photographer Rafal Milach's latest work is a delightful collection of pictures that depict winners of various state and local competitions in Belarus.

His portraits capture a wide range of those at the top of their game, though the categories are free ranging, including:

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About Phil

Phil has worked in the photographic arena for many years, as both a photographer and picture editor, primarily at the BBC where he has covered news stories, features and audio slideshows, both in the UK and abroad.

He obtained a BA (Hons) in photography from the University of Westminster where he studied under Andy Golding, Tom Ang and Gus Wylie, the latter of whom instilled in him his love of the colour photographic document and street photography.

Despite the obvious advantages of digital photography in news, Phil can often be found running film through his old cameras and spent 64 weeks shooting a project to mark the end of Kodachrome in 2010.

Phil is a member of the British Press Photographers Association.

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