Tate Britain’s staircase

One of the by-products of preparing a new talk for a Camera Club is that it very often involves a rummage in the archive to find images that help illustrate a point and which have never before ‘surfaced’. And today’s image is one of those that I had never previously used for some bizarre reason.

The talk titled ‘Observations on a Visual Journey’ got it’s first airing last night at Hampstead Photographic Society. A very friendly club and my talk seemed to go down well. Thanks HPS for such a warm welcome.

_DS79054The image is of Tate Britain’s new staircase. Tate Britain underwent some major alterations that were completed in 2013. The new staircase is the centerpiece of the changes (quote) ‘…descending from the museum’s entrance rotunda into the basement that, with decorative scalloped patterns on its floor and balustrades, has a style hovering somewhere in the 116 years since the Tate’s original building was built’. The Architects are Caruso St John. I believe I detect Art Deco influences. It has a glorious sweep to it.

The staircase is not easy to capture but thankfully on the day I visited I was carrying my ultra-wide wide-angle lens and this image was taken at 16mm (film equiv). It took a while to determine the best place to stand and then I waited patiently until a group descended the stairs. And that one splash of Cerise – icing on the cake.

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The London skyline

Leake Street, a disused road tunnel that runs underneath Waterloo Station London, is well known as a mecca for street art – murals, graffiti etc. There’s hardly an inch of wall that hasn’t been painted, and then painted over and over again.

_DS79514Just where the tunnel ends I found this artwork. I love the sweeping lines of this and the sense of imminent destruction by a giant tidal surge. It features an impression of some of the landmarks that pierce the London skyline. To Londoners these buildings are readily recognisable.

For those of you from overseas: the spike is The Shard – one of the latest skyscrapers in the capital and the tallest building in Europe. Slightly below and to the left are a clutch of buildings from the Canary Wharf district. Finally slightly to the right is the unmistakable Strata building from Elephant and Castle with three wind turbines that sit within the tapering roof – turbines that I have never seen rotate.

If you are ever in that area of London with time to spare, pay a visit to this tunnel – it will be time well spent.

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There haven’t been many opportunities for image capture this month so I’ve gone back exactly a year for today’s image. It’s raining this morning so it’s apt that the image I’ve chosen features umbrellas – lots of them.

IMG_5601This is a brilliant piece of street art – impressionistic and stylish. I found it at the back of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Southbank. It was painted as part of the Urban Arts Festival Weekend. The artist is Dan Kitchener – click here to visit his website. I’m not sure if this art is still in situ; Dan’s page says it was scheduled to be displayed for only one month but I am sure I have seen it twice, more than a month apart. But a year later from when I took this image… it may not be there. Which would be a shame, because this is so good it deserves to remain in place.

I would never have spotted this if I hadn’t gone ‘round the back’. So often we stay on the main paths, roads, river walks. It’s when you  venture off those main well-trodden routes that you find the unexpected. Try it…

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If a group of us were taken to a location we had never visited before and given an hour to take a set of images the likelihood is that we would all come back with something similar, but each one of us would come back with at least one uniquely different image. And that would be because as we grow as photographers we all learn to see the world differently: the product of our personal creativity and our distinctive heightened powers of observation. We are interpreters of the world we pass through. As André Kertész says: ‘I do not document anything, I give an interpretation.’

Today I have two interpretations for you of a building I spotted on my recent visit to Camden in North London.


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Landmarks in the window

Whenever I walk in London I spend a considerable part of my time staring at windows as I walk past them. Today’s image comes from the Islington area of North London. This was part of an impressive graphic displayed within an office (from memory I think it was an up-market estate agency) on a glass screen and I found a position to shoot from where the reflections didn’t muddy the important areas of the image.


Posted in Seen on the Street | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Blue Facades

London is a fascinating city to explore, especially on foot. It has so many faces. The more I explore it, the more I realize how little I really know about it.

I was in Camden just before Christmas and headed off into some of the side streets and in the space of a few yards found the two building you see in this post almost, but not quite, eye-balling each other across the road.IMG_7280Two distinctly different architectural styles and eras, linked by the colour Blue.IMG_7278An apology to loyal readers: I’m very conscious that I’ve not been visiting, ‘liking’ and commenting on many of your blogs in recent weeks as much as usual. I’m still coughing (it’s been nearly a month) as if I’ve had a forty-a-day habit for the last forty years, and that has really slowed me up quite a bit. Thankfully I’m nearly through it. We are also in the throes of de-cluttering, clearing thirty years of accumulated dross, and sprucing up the house and garden a bit. By the end of the year hopefully we will have moved. On top of all that I’m putting the finishing touches to a re-worked talk to be given in three weeks time. Time is at a premium and some things have regrettably taken a back seat. One of them being my daily trawl through the WordPress reader. My sincere thanks to all of you who continue to loyally read, ‘like’ and comment on my musings, I will endeavour to make more time for returning the compliment but I hope you will understand if it is a little intermittent.

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Striking Gold

Yesterday I struck gold – thanks to my wife. Not Gold, the substance, but photographic coins of gold.

It rained yesterday afternoon splattering the windows with spots of rain that clung to the glass improbably. And then the watery late afternoon sun shone on the windows and my wife shouted: ‘come and look at this’. She had been attracted by the little diamond glints from all the individual droplets of rain, backlit by the sun. I could see the beauty but I just couldn’t get a satisfactory image.IMG_7642_cropThen I started to see through the droplets, focusing on the distance and letting the raindrops drift into out-of-focus golden spheres. I felt I was getting closer to a half-decent image but still it seemed to elude me.IMG_7647Something made me glance down onto the gable end of the garage roof, glistening in the sunlight and I had an idea. I had finally found an image and here it is below. Simply processed with just an increase in saturation to bring out the golden light.IMG_7653It’s rather different from what my wife initially saw, but without her help I would never have seen this. We see quite differently most of the time, but sometimes – as in this case – she strikes gold for me, bless her.

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