It feels like London has been one big construction site for years now a day doesn’t seem to go by without a road being dug up or a building being torn down. The pace of things seems to have picked up to almost fever pitch. With the Olympics just round the corner and I often wonder just how it’s all going to get done in time. Kings Cross is one of the hot spots for construction it seems though of all the other places I think it is seeing some progress at least. Inch by inch the scaffolding creeps its way across the station and surrounding buildings, revealing shiny new glass and steel structures (the architectural flavor of the decade). I often find myself being drawn to the sight of the huge cranes that seem to float above the city. I am often at dusk or dawn captivated by their calm heights as they bask in the sunlight and the open air. Commodities we are a bit short of down on the ground amongst the buildings and the rubble.
Despite the changeability of the weather at the moment plants are doing their best to keep to schedule, they keep on doing what they do which is put on their best colours to entice lots of busy insects and birds. A good thing that we are still managing to get the odd day or two in between the rain and hail storms for them to really shine. And it is so lovely when I do get a moment or two to appreciate them.
A timely reminder from life that I am not lost, I wander.
I am often as much impressed as I am amused in by the way we humans creatively use our environment. Quite often I see evidence of other people using what is around them to overcome the limitations of their own resources or environment. This student for example not having access to the space or clothes dryer he needs to dry his underpants. Simply takes advantage of the warm sunny weather opens a window and hangs them out to dry. Fantastic!
I find something deeply soothing and powerful about just sitting and watching the water. Maybe it’s because I where I grew up I spent a great deal of my childhood either in a pool or on a beach or by a river. My mum used to jokingly refer to us as water babies. We would as children play games where we pretended we were dolphins trying to launch ourselves out of the water and arc through the air then dive back in again. I don’t think we ever quite managed to emulate them to be honest. I learnt a great deal about myself and life through my interactions with water. I learnt how to relax my body so I could float on its surface. I learnt that to get where you want to go and not be exhausted by your efforts you work with it because it does what it does. Water is a teacher of great wisdom.
These two old fellas wait patiently while their master pops in and outs of shops, they watch him dashing back and forth with some amusement I imagine. He seems to be in such a rush and not really appearing to get very far, I hope he remembers the dog food.
I continue to find myself fascinated by the workmen on the rail tracks. Is it their High Viz uniform I wonder? More likely for me it is that they are one of unnoticed millions who go about their daily jobs keeping the cogs of infrastructure moving. They are one of many professions that day after day make sure that the stuff we just expect to be there, like electricity, running water and trains just keeps being there.
Here’s a fun one the Shard to be found in London Bridge. I love taking pictures of this building it is such an imposing structure which I am sure is what they were going for. This was one of the few times I have managed to get a shot of this building where it’s tip is not in the clouds so I was very happy to catch it. I slapped a filter on it I think it was earlybird and got this effect. It kind of reminds me of one of the orc towers in Mordor, I like it.
I am really pleased with this shot the dirty brick wall the lady walking past in a blur and the sharp sign.
I am really enjoying playing with Instagram, I have only just really started to use it and it has really been a revelation for me. I have for the last few years been not really been working with my phone camera at all. Then I discovered Instagram and a whole new world has opened up for me. It is fantastic and I have really reconnected with my love of just taking pictures for fun and play. Now I just need a phone with a better battery life!
Another train, another train journey into London. When they are not packed full of people, or when I don’t have to be somewhere and I’m stuck on the train, I love riding the trains. Watching the world woosh past or crawl depending on the signals is great fun. You can see all sorts of amazing things out the windows, there are fields full of horses and cows and bunnies and deer. Some of my favorite train moments have been early in the morning out in the country seeing the deer in the fields as the sun rises it is so surprising to see them and such a rush!
Today though I am coming into the city so no furry animals but there are trains and graffiti which I also love to photograph.
On the platform of London Bridge walking up to the front of the train heading home. I looked up and saw this old gentleman wandering down the platform ahead of me. He seemed ready to head home and kick back and relax after a hard day in front of his desk. Luckily he wasn’t moving that fast so not only could I keep up with him (I’m a slow walker), I also had time to get my phone out, unlock it and take a photo before I got on the train.
Another train into London, this time to Waterloo. There is a lot of construction going on in that part of the city from London Bridge Station to Waterloo East seems to be non-stop scaffolding and construction sites. As we were slowly moving by on the train I happened to catch these two guys taking a breather or lunch break (I like to imagine). I really get a kick out of catching these moments in the day when people are just taking a moment to do nothing more than be themselves. I often aim to catch people in that state when I am shooting events or parties, it can be a bit tricky because people often find it hard to relax with a camera floating around, which is completely understandable. I do my best to get people comfortable and usually after a while they forget I am even holding a camera, or even better they start to have fun with me taking their pictures.
On the train again, I pass by this junk yard when I’m on the slow train I love the old cars on the roof of what I assume to be a junk yard. I often entertain the fantasy of taking one of them home and fixing it up to be a fancy red racer. I doubt the reality would match the fantasy though, but it is fun to dream.
Another train station shot taken from a different train this time. I love to travel I really enjoy the journey from one place to another and all the moments in between. I get to catch bits of other people’s journeys and lives. It was a bit of a gloomy day this journey and I was drawn to take this shot the grey of the sky with the camera and the station sign. I find it thrilling to take photographs of the cameras that watch us in our day-to-day meanderings. In a way it feels quite connecting to photograph them almost like I’m saying hello to them.
Delicious Dim Sum for a joint birthday in China Town.
Dim Sum for my family is the equivalent of a Sunday pub lunch. We would all get dressed in our best and head out to Dad’s favorite China Town Restaurant. We would order enough dishes to full the table and eat till we burst. All my life Dim Sum has always been the way to celebrate special occasions.
Skull jacket I noticed the skull patch on this guys jacket as he walked past and I was compelled to capture it. So much so I speed walked to keep him in sight while I fumbled for my phone. Thank goodness for my current obsession with Instagram or I may have well let thus moment just pass by.
I like many people I think spend a lot of time putting things off for another day. This year I had put off getting in touch with many of the people I love because I have been ‘too busy’ trying to get my new working for myself status off the ground. Today being Christmas I decided to give them all a call and wish them a festive holiday day with their families and friends. As I phoned round each person and left messages on their voicemail thinking they are probably enjoying the delights of an over indulgent Christmas dinner I began to think to myself about my own family who live far away.
I haven’t spent a Christmas with my own family for a good few years now and this year I missed them more than usual. It got me thinking about the run up to Christmas all the frenzied buying and worrying about the new year. News stories covered in gloom and cynical witticisms, it didn’t really leave me or many of us I suppose with much time to really think about what it is we are supposed to be celebrating. Bombarded by panicking shopkeepers who need the biggest shop of the year to stay afloat and employers who want to get as much done as possible before all the work stops for christmas where is the time to breathe and reflect on what we have to be grateful for. In amongst all the rushing around trying to find just the right brand of toy or game for the kids where do we have the chance to just take in the moments that we have with our families these ever fleeting moments. Time, the ting we seem to have less and less of not just in our lives but also in our daily routines.
More and more we are expected to commit more to our jobs our studies, our online interactions. It is easy to forget that the real moments of significance, the truly powerful moments in our lives are the ones where we engage with each other in person. It takes courage and strength of character to drop our bullshit and be honest real human beings with each other, to stand up and say this is me warts and all and I’m ok to be here with you just as you are. So my Christmas wish for you is that today you can forget about the perfect Christmas and just be here today in that house, room, flat with the people you have chosen to be with. Let them make you laugh, let them drive you crazy, let them piss you off and still be there and love them anyway cause you’ll never get to do this Christmas again.
Today, I took a trip back in time with myself to when I first started taking photographs. I have been asking myself a lot about what photography is and means to me. I have been looking out at the enormous wealth of talent out there on the internet and wondering if I have a place there. If I could or even should put my work up here too and more and more I am getting back in touch with the things that first started me on the road to wanting taking pictures to be part of what I do in life.
I took a walk out this morning to a graveyard and walked around remembering myself at 15 when I first got hold of a 35mm camera. I don’t know why I chose that setting to begin with, maybe because it was quiet and people would not get in the way of my lens. I started thinking back to being a younger child and going out to the graveyard with my grandmother for All Souls, every year we would bundle up in the car and tend the graves of our families, bring them fresh flowers, tidy up and maybe leave a bit of something they liked to drink. As a child it marked for me these places as somewhere special to reach out and connect with those we love and who had loved us, not so much as scary gruesome places for a good horror scene.
So as I walked around I began to look again at what was really here in this place, I started to notice the words. Places that had been tended and others not. The stillness, the quiet and sadness.