Capturing a landmark political moment: the Reuters picture that dominated the British front pages - Reuters News Agency

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Capturing a landmark political moment: the Reuters picture that dominated the British front pages

Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A Reuters image dominated the front pages of national newspapers in Britain at the weekend and captured a significant moment in British politics.

The departure of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Special Advisor Dominic Cummings who masterminded the 2016 Brexit referendum vote and Johnson’s 2019 landslide election win, was captured by Reuters Photojournalist Henry Nicholls in a moment regarded by many as the end of an era.

British newspapers including the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, Daily Express and the i all published the image on page one on Saturday, and it was widely shared across social media.

Henry describes how he captured the image of Cummings leaving the front door of 10 Downing Street, carrying a box of possessions into the London evening:

“Downing Street is normally quiet on a Friday afternoon, but there had been even less movement than normal, so I had a slight hunch there might be events unfolding due to earlier rumours of Dominic Cumming’s possible resignation.

I chose to shoot using the available light in the street, which in terms of the exit photograph, was just the lone lamp above the door.

It was dusk, so there was still a tiny amount of light from the sky to fill in the street slightly. This came together nicely when Cummings emerged, as he walked out from the warm orange glow inside Number 10 into the colder blue light in the street.

There was a security guard who stood in the doorway as well, but luckily Cummings blocked him briefly, so he appears alone in the photograph.

There are many ways out of Downing Street, but by using this way to exit, I believe he was choosing to be photographed in a certain way, to send a message. He has quite a distinctive look as well, so even though the picture was shot wide, he is still recognisable.”

The image received considerable reaction and interest within political and media circles, including broadcaster and journalist Ayesha Hazarika, who described the image as ‘iconic’ when she interviewed Henry on her Times Radio drivetime programme.

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