London has been an important part of my life this year as both my children have now moved there (more or less) permanently. As I look back to my photographic year, London makes up a huge chunk of it. Most of you reading this wouldn’t really consider it photography. More like jogging with a camera in your hand really, chasing after wife and kids in between rushed shots.
Still, whatever works, right ? Photons were captured, after all.
So here is a final set from London, displaying once more all that variety.
This may be the city’s outstanding feature. The more or less subtle blend of old and modern is quite the playground for photographers and the short winter days at Northern latitudes yield quite a lot of interesting light.
Most of the city center is like two different jigsaw puzzles got accidentally mixed and it all worked out okay.
But I do wonder, though, whether the architectural permissiveness of the Boris years is not overpowering the older city now. The great blend of old, recent and impermanent (the glass buildings that refuse to age) is now being threatened by corporate hubris (what isn’t ?) and it’s becoming difficult to frame a shot that doesn’t show a shiny tower dwarfing an older stone dwelling. Could that be a visual illustration of a political loss of values ? Just askin’ …
All of which is impressive. For a capital that should be bracing for the financial impact of the nation’s recent secessionist vote, London does seem to be powering on with an energy I’ve never seen outside Asia. History will tell whether the head was stronger than the wall, but it’s all very spectacular to watch and photograph.
For some reason, Barcelona has a reputation for street life that, to me at least, seems very overrated compared to other places, particularly those where the climate is less clement. No doubt the Ramblas can fill your year’s needs for bars, pickpockets and food platters but more Northerly destinations such Turin, Berlin and London feel more vibrant to me. Personal choices, I guess, but co-author Paul’s depictions of Edinburgh, Oslo and other cities located where meridians converge seem to corroborate that impression.
At any rate, London is a nice place for people’s photography. The laws surrounding that activity are more easygoing than in France and the opportunities are legion. Even for someone as people-photography challenged as me, there’s a lot to be done.
Aahhh, it’s difficult not to be repetitive with car photography, but I can’t resist. The risk is to be swayed by the beauty of the object and to forget you’re a photographer, an interpreter of things, leading to very literal photographs. Guilty as charged on a couple of occasions, but here again is a great opportunity for creative juice flowing. And since most of the city center is so obscenely rich, there will be no shortage of exoticas to frame.
Does that count as architecture ? I don’t think so. Instead of focusing on one or a small number of buildings, these images are more interested in a (low flying) bird’s-eye view. The whole picture, how individual elements work together. Once again, good light really helps …
Gardens and festivals
Lantern festivals, to be exact. Most major gardens host them in the festive period. Kew Gardens and Chiswick House to name the more famousest. But multiple others also. Needless to say they mean trouble for your memory card. Come prepared (warm clothes, spare batteries).
Art is everywhere. In numerous galleries and museums. But, also, on the streets.
And all the rest …
The odd, the abstract, the … yes, the rest.
So, that’s it from me for 2017. Talk soon (next Monday). If you plan to be there, I have a little holiday homework for you to do. Think back on the photographic good times and photographic bad times of 2017 (comments on this welcome). We’ll have a pow wow.