A stroll with Little Amal

3.5m refugee girl puppet in South London.


I’m sure many of you have seen at least some of the coverage of Little Amal’s visit to the UK over the last few weeks.

When I saw that she was coming to Deptford here in Lewisham I simply had to go see her. But I was not going to photograph the occasion as I would have done years ago - as a news photographer, I was going to observe as a street photographer. I was there in that capacity only with no editorial agenda whatsoever.

It was mobbed. Lots of jostling as she moved through the streets. Security personal, news photographers, news camera operators, street performers. All sorts. I know of some other street photographers in attendance that kept their distance once they saw how crazy it was, especially as covid cases were again on the rise. I certainly kept my mask on while photographing and hustling for position. I noticed too that the news professionals were all wearing theirs too. Good to see.

All photos © Paul Treacy

There’s a freedom when not having to satisfy a picture editor. There’s no pressure. Only the pressure you put on yourself to get a good picture. There’s no pressure to hit all the usual marks of a news assignment. But there is a part of me that misses that pressure. Although I was not on assignment, these images are with a syndication agency and may get picked up later when a more off-kilter image is preferred.

These pictures may take on value over time as they fit into my overall street photography coverage of life on the streets of south London. I’m currently preparing to submit work to the museum of London for review.

Little Amal is a 3.5m tall refugee girl that walked all the way from Turkey to raise awareness of the plight of refugee children around the world. If you’d like to know more, you can see coverage of her UK visit across the news media or check #littleamal or #walkwithamal on social media channels.

The woman above seemed to be rather distressed for some reason and Little Amal picked up on it and reached out.

This is the kind of picture I was after. I like to play with the various elements of a scene to see what I can come up with. Most of the bubbles were tiny but sure enough, if you’re patient, you’ll get a picture that satisfies.

A spot of grocery shopping perhaps?

Or perhaps a new outfit?

I’d like to finish by pointing you to a recent interview I did for Up Photographers, a major international collective of fellow street photographers that you might enjoy. It’s a street photography who, what, why, where, when type piece and might give some more insight into my practice.

I have also moved my books and prints to Big Cartel for easier handling and record keeping. I’ll be expanding my offerings over the coming days and weeks on the run up to Christmas should any of you be so tempted for gift giving.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.




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