On my most recent trip to London I spent some time out in the Docklands area of London – an area that has seen colossal development in recent years. Canary Wharf is the financial centre of this area with many of the major banks having their HQs based in towering glass-fronted buildings. This is the closest one comes in the UK to imagining what it must feel like to walk through Manhattan.
Glass has, for some years, been a fascination of mine, photographically. Primarily for its reflectivity, its ability in some structures to be a faithful reflector of the local environment, and yet in others instances to exhibit an almost Cubist tendency to warp and distort.
‘Docklands’ is an area where, for centuries, maritime trade was plied in a vast area of docks. And those waterways still exist – they dissect the land. And the water reflects. On a calm day it is a faithful recorder – precise, mirror-like. But on other days when a breeze ruckles its surface, the reflections are warped . Water is dynamic. By contrast, glass is static: its reflective qualities fixed either during manufacture or during installation.
It has occurred to me just recently that water and glass are both canvases upon which light paints an impression of the neighbourhood. Sometimes with precision, sometimes impressionistic, sometimes modernistic. And what I find so attractive about Docklands is that the glass and the water exist side-by-side, or perhaps I should say vertically: fancifully I see them competing to see which of them can provide the best show.
Two images today – taken during this visit – probably shot about 30 minutes apart. I will be returning here many times, I can feel the emergence of a new relationship.
Click on either image to see a higher quality enlargement.