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Leading photographer and trade unionist Martin Jenkinson dies aged 64

Martin Jenkinson

Martin Jenkinson  -  © Picture: Jez Coulson

28 June 2012

Martin Jenkinson, who has died aged 64, was a leading photographer and trade unionist, and a former member of the NUJ National Executive Council.

Martin Jenkinson's dedication to trade unionism and the highest standards of professional photography made him a regular visitor to union conferences, picket lines, demonstrations and other labour movements events across the UK. A former steel worker, he became a valued teacher on digital photography courses. Based in Sheffield, his work and commitment took him everywhere that workers were in struggle.

John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser and former president, remembers:

"For several years in the late 1980s and early '90s I had the pleasure of serving with Martin on the NEC. He was affable and sociable, and while we often voted differently I respected his honestly-held opinions.
"Martin was clear-sighted, and he was always able to cut through waffle to home in on the matter at hand. And always, always with a disarming sense of humour. I spoke to him only a few weeks ago and I am shocked by his death."

Pete Lazenby, Yorkshire NUJ activist, says of Martin Jenkinson:

"I met Martin at demonstrations, pickets, strikes, rallies,union conferences, miners' galas and many more 'jobs' we covered over the last 30 years or more.
"More recently we worked together on freelance commissions for trades union publications, he doing pics and me the words. The last one we did together was a commission for Unison, covering the November public service workers' strike.
"Martin was in his element, taking images of working people in struggle.We were dashing between picket lines interviewing and picturing ambulance workers, nurses, hospital cleaners, council staff, rallies in South and West Yorkshire. It was great.
"Martin's professionalism was combined with his passionate political beliefs. It comes across in his images. Visit his website. A taste of it is there.
"He leaves us a massive and unique archive, an absolute treasure house of working class history."

Read an obituary of Martin in the Morning Star by Pete Lazenby.

Martin is survived by his wife Edwina and daughter Justine. Messages of condolence can be sent to Edwina at 30, Rundle Road, Sheffield S7 1NX. E-mails can be directed to Martin's NUJ colleague Mark Harvey. Martin's family would be glad to receive copies of any picturesthat colleagues may have taken of him over the years. They can also be emailed (in hi-res if possible) to Mark Harvey.

Martin's funeral was held on Wednesday June 27, 2012, at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium in Sheffield.

Fellow photographer Kevin Cooper recalls:

"Martin was the quintessential photographers' photographer. He served at all levels of the NUJ, including the Freelance Industrial Council and the National Executive Council and was a key negotiator back in the days when we had freelance agreements with national newspapers and magazines groups throughout the union.
"He was also a member of the old analogue Wiring Committee with the NGA, which predated new technology, e-mail and digitalisation. Martin sat on a number of outside photographic groups and helped to improve relations between professional portrait and advertising photographers and editorial photographers. I was proud to call him a friend and served with him on a number of union bodies."

Larry Herman comments:

"Martin represented the best of trade union activism and was one of those whose work remained mostly hidden."

Tags: photographers, , picket, trade unions