“I took this photo just around the corner from my flat, in Clarence road in Hackney, on the third night of rioting and looting in the British capital. I'd heard of photographers being mugged for their gear and assaulted during the riots so I arranged to meet up with some other snappers when I arrived. At the top of the street there was a burning car, lines of riot police with dogs and hooded men throwing bottles, sticks and stones.
Suddenly the police withdrew, leaving the rioters to it. I could see people climbing in and out of a shop with smashed windows, so I went to have a look. There were a lot of men and women looting the shop and at first no one noticed me. I started to shoot and, like you do, with every frame I took another step into the shop and away from a safe exit. The shop had been trashed inside and a couple of men were filling their bags with bottles of spirits and cigarettes. Another checked the till. I kept shooting until one of them noticed me. The last frame I have is of him looking at me as he pulls himself up onto the counter.
I left the shop but two large looters came over and accused me of being police. There was a bit of pushing and pulling as they tried to take my cameras. Luckily some of the other photographers who had been with me when I arrived came over and pulled me away. It was a lesson, not only in not overstaying your welcome, but also how important your colleagues are.”
Canon 5D Mark II, 24 - 70mm lens at 40mm, f3.5, 1/160 ISO 1600
Caption: Looters rampage through a convenience store in Hackney, east London August 8, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris