May Day in Toulouse (Part 1)

This post should have been done a long time ago, on my return from Toulouse. I have so many images from the day and I did make other posts of our time in Toulouse, but due to not feeling 100% it had become a task and I wasn’t on top of things. I got around to editing shots a couple of days ago to make the post, but then ran out of speed.

The 1st of May is Labour Day around the world, and in France La fête du Travail. It is a National Holiday and Unions organise Demonstration Marches, and other organisations demonstrate on Human Rights, Racism and other local and National Issues.

Waiting to March
Waiting to March

This was the only day it rained during our trip to Toulouse. Naturally it dampened the atmosphere of the day, but not the spirit of those taking part.

Happy to be Marching
Happy to be Marching

Although I have edited the shots in way that make it look dark, that is due to the atmosphere the weather was giving it, but a lot of people were very happy and greeting each other, as if they hadn’t seen each other for a while, and were using the occasion to “catch up”. Some of the marchers were very vocal, either chanting or singing.

The Chant
The Chant

There was no way the rain was going to dampen these spirits.

In amongst it
In amongst it

There were very well made banners, and I noticed they had May 1st on them but no year, so they can be rolled out every year. Others though used pieces of cardboard to promote their views.

Impromptu Banner
Impromptu Banner

And others who weren’t displaying theirs with such fervour!

They need to seperate
They need to seperate

There were also plenty of people carrying flags as opposed to banners.

The Flag Bearer
The Flag Bearer
Flying the Flag
Flying the Flag

I thoroughly enjoyed this shoot. There were a constant stream of people. At times I stood on a wall, but at others I got in amongst the crowd.

A Face in the Crowd
A Face in the Crowd

Marches going through cities are just like cars on the motorway in rush hour. You get bottlenecks and hold ups, so all of a sudden the crowd stops. This creates another opportunity.

Waiting
Waiting
Spotting the Photographer
Spotting the Photographer

As it was raining this creates another issue for the photographer as peoples faces are covered with their coats, and the sheer amount of umbrellas acts like a brick wall.

Stop for a Roll
Stop for a Roll

Even so I still managed to shoot through them and also the banners to get this shot of a beautiful woman.

Beauty amongst the banners
Beauty amongst the banners

My shots on Flickr over the last few days have been from the march, and also some previous to that, but I haven’t included them here. There will be more that I haven’t shown in the next post.

6 thoughts on “May Day in Toulouse (Part 1)

  1. MisterGC

    Your post processing really does go hand in hand with the dramatic weather and mood of the crowds.
    My favorite image is the ‘In amongst it’. I can just imaging the chanting when I see the ‘triangle’ of open mouths. A great shot that captured the atmosphere.
    The last shot is also very good….I like the way framing singled her out to make her look so calm & peaceful in what was probably a very lively occasion.
    Grant.

  2. Cheers mate. The feeling I wished to give came across then. I felt the editing fitted this post and will refrain from using it a lot.

    It was a buzz. I could only understand the odd word they were shouting. I needed Esther there with me to translate, but she was probably marching in her own demonstration! 🙂

  3. Before I even read the post I was struck by the photo in the banner. Very nice! It must have been interesting to be in the middle of that.

    A powerful post. It was very interesting to see the mix of people taking part in the gathering. You definitely have a good eye for photojournalistic types of shots.

    The shot of the woman through the umbrellas was stunning but the one above it “Stop for a Roll” is my favorite. Everyone is carrying an umbrella except for that one man who is seemingly unfazed by the rain.

    • Tina it really was a buzz. Some people were smiling, but others seemed curious of me, whether it was because they thought I was recording this for anything untoward, you know like the Police keep track of activists.

      I do like that one myself. It was just lucky they stopped near me for that one.

  4. You’re definitly ready for an article in Libération, a french newspaper ! Great pictures giving the atmosphere of the “1er mai” . Do you know you are a lucky photograph : this kind of big demonstration exist only in the biggest cities : Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux… and Toulouse ! In small cities, the procession is very light, or even noexistent …
    You took interesting and diverse characters, with a focus on them in the crowd, the processing is adapted with this rainy day.
    Next time, call me if you don’t understand the slogans 😉

    • Thank you Esther.

      I had a mail last week from an Agency who act as agents for the media, had seen my shots, and asking if I would attend a meeting that evening. Sadly it was in Toulouse and I was in the UK. 🙂

      It was mostly light hearted, but there were also strong Unionists there too. It seemed to be part of the day, to do the demonstration then relax for the rest of the day. I think it would have had a totally different atmosphere if the sun was shining.

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