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Themes #01 – Social

My first of five posts reflecting on my Themed portfolio. This one focusses on the Social aspect of my travels.

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Welcome to this my first blog setting out the reasons behind my themed selection. Over the past week I’ve posted pictures through my social media channels, and now I can give you a little more detail behind each picture.

I’m using the current Covid-19 lockdown period as an opportunity to showcase more pictures that may previously not have had any prominence, either through my travel blogs or more recently through my Memory collection. 

This week’s theme is all about the ‘Social’ aspect of life, which I’ve categorised as follows: People, Food & Drink, Sport, Religion, Retail, Remembering and Neglect & AntiSocial. I think the category titles are self explanatory.

So I’ve selected these pictures on the basis that a) they’re an obvious fit, b) I like it’s artistic and/or photographic quality, and c) it has a good story to tell. I hope I can convey these reasons through this week’s blog?

People – Man in Finchley

A black and white phot of a man standing still looking at his phone opposite King Edward Hall along Finchley Road

This was an opportunist shot as this man walked into frame and hesitated at the junction before crossing Arcadia Avenue. He was looking intensely at his mobile phone and I felt that the combination of his laid back pose, his concentration and the interesting background made for a good composition..

I was shooting mostly in black and white that day and I felt that the somewhat ornate, but now redundant, sundrenched King Edward Hall was a perfect setting. It’s a rare moment where I happen to be in the right place to capture this moment in time?

Who knows what the gent is doing or thinking, but I’m glad he stopped as he did as he was totally oblivious to my presence.

  • Location: Arcadia Avenue in Finchley Central looking into Regent’s Park Road
  • Date/Time: Tuesday 24th September 2019 at 1.11 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Food & Drink – Late Night in Spitalfields

A colour photo inside Spitalfield Market as it's closing. Colourful tables and chairs in teh foreground with overhead string lighting casting a moody feel

This shot was taken during my meanderings around Liverpool Street Station when I eventually ended up in Spitalfields Market in the early evening. Traders are just shutting up for the day and the coffee shops and most restaurants have already closed.

This colourful view of a seating area through metal railings shows how things will look twice a day. At the start of the day, and as in this picture, at the end of the day as the restaurant staff have placed all their tables and chairs neatly together.

The moody lighting, colour palette and industrial setting gives this shot a warm feel, and one that portrays a pleasant stopping point during a busy day rummaging around the bustling daytime market.

  • Location: Spitalfield Market
  • Date/Time: Friday March 15th 2019 at 6.42 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO5000

Sport – No Games Today

A rain soaked terrace on the edge of Hackney Marshes sports ground

I found myself on the fringes of Hackney Marshes after wandering around Stratford and through the Olympic Park. I was headed towards New Spitalfields Market (how coincidental is that in relation to the previous post) when it started lashing down with rain and the only cover I could find was under the Eaton Manor Walk bridge as it crossed the main road.

Such was the deluge that the bridge offered little cover so after a short while I resigned to getting wet. In an attempt to get something out of the moment, I walked up the side path to the bridge and realised the steps extended into a very wide terracing for spectators to enjoy the spectacle of players on the nearby football pitches.

There were no games, but the weed strewn rain drenched steps gave a sense of how this area might look on a weekend with spectators made up of friends and family cheering on sons and daughters.

  • Location: Access steps to Eaton Manor Walk bridge over the A106 Eastway
  • Date/Time: Thursday June 13th 2019 at 12.06 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 28mm; Film Speed – ISO125

Religion – Waiting for Jesus

am na sleeping on the doorstep of the Universal Pentecostal Church in Brixton

This image of a rough sleeper on the steps of the United Pentecostal Church under the sign ‘Jesus Cares’ was one waiting to be captured.
It portrays a sense of hope, optimism, or maybe sheer desperation, and whichever it is, the passing pedestrians seemed little unconcerned. Maybe the gentleman was a regular and knew he would get sanctuary at some point: I hope he did?

  • Location: Standing on the corner of Bucknor Road and Acre Lane in Brixton
  • Date/Time: Tuesday May 28th 2019 at 12.11 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100

Retail – Cloth Ends

A saturated black and white photo of several ends of cloth rolls creating an array of circular patterns

My day started at Dalston Junction, a little known end of the line: one created as part of the Parliamentary line to Battersea Park station. And after a browse around the junction, I amble through the back streets, following the crowds really, into the busy heart of Dalston Kingsland.

Before I know it, I’m strolling through Ridley Road street market, just around the corner from Dalston Kingsland station. It’s market day and the street is heaving with local shoppers vying with the traders for the best deal of the day. Mostly fruit and veg, but there’s the occasional whiff of fish or butchered meat, and as it’s a very hot day so the flies are plentiful. Yuck!

At the back end of the market, where Ridley Road joins St Mark’s Rise, the type of stalls change, and this is where I found this one. I’d say over three quarters of the open front is crammed with these rolled up remnants, leaving a narrow doorway into the stall itself. But it’s the remnants that catch my eye. Colourful as they are, I’ve taken this in a black and white setting to add character to the picture, and in a way reflecting the grittiness of the market itself.

It’s an interesting reminder of the market, and one I’ll keep for a while.

  • Location: A trader along Ridley Road street market in Dalston Kingsland
  • Date/Time: Tuesday August 13th 2019 at 11.57 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 48mm; Film Speed – ISO320

Remembering – Kennington Remembers

A memorial stone in Kennington Gardens

My visit to Kennington, on the Northern Line is a bit of a stretch of the imagination as it’s not physically a terminal station. However trains do end here, and after going around the Kennington Loop tunnel, they end up on the opposite platform ready to return northbound. So I’m content it’s a justified visit.

Kennington Park is a short stroll from the station and on this autumnal day, it was a very pleasant walk around the park enjoying the surrounding artefacts and gardens. When I stopped to read the inscription on this sculpture, I realised how poignant the moment was as it was a commemoration of an event that happened on this day in 1940.

What troubled me was that despite the fact someone had gone to the trouble of commissioning this sculpture, it now seems to have become forgotten as there was no evidence that the date had been remembered.

For my part, I share with you the inscription:

‘History despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived but if faced with courage need not be lived again Maya Angelou

‘To commemorate the wartime suffering of the people of Kennington and in particular over 50 men women and children who were killed on 15th October 1940 when a bomb destroyed an air raid shelter near this spot. Rest in peace’

Read the full story of Kennington’s Forgotten Tragedy here. My thanks to the Friends of Kennington Park who shared this story with me.

  • Location: Kennington Park, just inside the entrance opposite the Sugar Pot on the main A3 Kennington Park Road
  • Date/Time: Tuesday October 15th 2019 at 12.14 pm
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 24mm; Film Speed – ISO200

Neglect and AntiSocial – Not Funny!

two clown'ish grafitti faces on a  car park wall in Romford

I found this on one of several days out in Romford. On this particular dank day, I was walking around the town’s perimeter on a mission to traverse all the town’s central car parks. Why? To view the town where I have lived for over thirty years from a different perspective.

Street art or wall art has become a common feature right across London, and I was first introduced to this art form when in Croydon at the outset of my end of the line story. There I met several artists, very creative artists whose passion shone through in their works. It was in Croydon I also appreciated the difference between street art and graffiti: the former is approved whereas graffiti is not. More a random bedaubing, often in discreet locations where the perpetrators are unlikely to be seen.

This is a very simple example made up of two heads with a smile, or grimace. Maybe a budding street artist testing out his/her skills. Nevertheless, a sight that seems to crop up only too often around London these days.

  • Location: Inside a stairwell at Angel Way Car Park, Romford
  • Date/Time: Thursday December 12th at 11.55 am
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ3.5; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 23mm; Film Speed – ISO800

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