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

Halfway point in 24-year photo project


Every February the latest set of pictures from a 24-year-long series are exhibited in London and this year's set marks the halfway point.

The 24 photographers are each assigned an hour of the first day of the year in which to record an aspect of their lives. The original 24 met while studying at Central St Martin's in London and though they have gone their separate ways the project continues to unite them and their photography.

This year the exhibition is curated by Bridget Coaker, night picture editor at the Guardian and co-founder of Troika, who said: "When I first heard about 24photography I thought, 'What a great idea - I do hope they manage to keep the momentum going.'

"Now in its 12th year, this group of dedicated photographers are still going out in all weathers and all hours to capture something that shows something of the first day of each new year. Their commitment to the project is inspiring."

The pictures are on show in Soho Square, London, from 24 February until 19 March.

Read full article Halfway point in 24-year photo project

Window-Shopping Through the Iron Curtain

Krakow, Poland, 1988, Three loaves of bread. Photograph by © David Hlynsky

Towards the end of the 1980s, the political map of the world began to change with the collapse of the Iron Curtain that had divided Europe and the battle of East v West seemingly over.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall saw thousands pour across the border from East Germany into the West, no doubt struck by the brash lights and shops full of just about everything you could dream of.

Read full article Window-Shopping Through the Iron Curtain

Coast to coast across the US

American landscape

When photographer Charles Fox unexpectedly found himself heading to the US with his original plans in tatters, he decided to make the most of the opportunity and set out to travel coast to coast in that time honoured tradition of the photographic road trip.

Starting on the west coast, he spent five weeks making the journey. Sometimes he would linger in a particular state, at other times just pass through, the landscape little more than a blur through the window as he laid down the miles.

Read full article Coast to coast across the US

At the pump

A worker prepares to fill a car at a gas station close to Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro

It is said that the world runs on oil, but according to some estimates there is only enough to last another 40 or so years. Others point out that there are plenty of other reserves yet to be exploited, and as technology improves we will be able to dig deeper and in more hostile locations, though there are of course environmental concerns with this.

Whatever the truth of it, the petrol pump can be found the world over. The process of filling up the family car, moped, lorry or whatever mode of transport you are using is much the same, and one likely to be with us for some time yet.

Read full article At the pump

Taking the plunge

A swimmer at Tooting Bec Lido

On a bright yet cold winter's day I can think of many things to do, and throwing myself into cold water is not one of them. Yet, around the globe there seems to be no end of volunteers to attempt this, and at the weekend about 650 swimmers of all ages and abilities took part in the sixth UK Cold Water Swimming Championships, at Tooting Bec Lido, in south London.

The challenge to competitors was to swim nearly 30m across the width of the Lido in water at about 3C. Photographer Nina Sologubenko went along to record the event and was drawn to the moment just before the swimmers took to the water.

Read full article Taking the plunge

Picture power: Tear gas at Kenyan primary school

School children from the Lang'ata road primary school scramble up a bridge

Earlier this week, scenes of schoolchildren running away from tear gas fired by police in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, sparked condemnation and even a hashtag, #OccupyPlayGround.

Pupils at Lang'ata school were protesting at the loss of their playground. They had returned after a two-week teachers' strike to find it fenced off by a private developer. Agence France Press photographer Tony Karumba was on hand to record the demonstration and here he recalls the event.

Read full article Picture power: Tear gas at Kenyan primary school

Instagram: The 'homeless' chief executive

Wheels of an aeroplane

Cillin Perera travels a lot. As the chief executive of a couple of companies, he is constantly moving from one place to another and, like many others, has turned to photography to record his journeys and keep in touch with family and friends.

He began taking pictures on his phone and rediscovered his love of photography, something he had not done since his days at Harvard in the late 1990s.

Read full article Instagram: The 'homeless' chief executive

Picture power: A sea of flashes

Helen Mirren arrives at the Weinstein Netflix after party

When film stars hit the red carpet you can be sure their every step will be captured on camera and the recent Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood were no exception. Reuters photographer Patrick Fallon was on hand to capture this picture of British actress Helen Mirren and here he talks about the story behind it.

I like this picture not only because it captures the essence of the scene on the carpet, the sea of flashes, but also because it was a little long-shot victory for me. Helen Mirren didn't walk the entire red carpet and only stopped at about the first photo position. I still had to take a picture though and this worked out nicely as I am always looking to create something different from the pack.

Read full article Picture power: A sea of flashes

Picture Power: Race for the cross

Bulgarians dive into the icy waters in Sofia as part of Epiphany Day celebrations

At the start of each year, the picture wires are always full of various events around the world marking the calendar change. One event held in Bulgaria each year to mark Epiphany was captured by Agence France Presse photographer Dimitar Dilkoff. Here, he offers his thoughts on the image.

"I've been shooting Epiphany celebrations in Bulgaria since 1993 with very few exceptions and I almost always shoot the plunge at this lake in Sofia.

Read full article Picture Power: Race for the cross

MA students document global issues

To begin the year, here is the work of 10 postgraduate students who have just completed the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography course at the London College of Communication.

Each picture is just one of a series by each photographer. I would encourage you to click the website link at the bottom of the page for a deeper look.

Read full article MA students document global issues

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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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