“Half of Hackney talks to itself.”
I’m waiting for a bus at the stop outside our local Lidl. This is the considered opinion of the lady next to me in the bus shelter. We’ve both been watching the antics of a man and a woman, also waiting for a bus, but passing the time by looking for something only they can see. All the while, they are both and separately talking to whoever it is that’s responsible for nothing at all.
I’m forced to agree; “It takes all sorts,” I reply hoping not to cause offence and spark an outburst of my own.
“It’s the drugs,” she says.
Fortunately, the 388 bus arrives before I am able to talk myself into a real corner.
When I lived in London in the ’70s, it was advisable to bring a bodyguard for safe access around here. Today, the place is populated by hirsute hipsters and slight, studious, often serious looking women, many pushing some kind of wheeled uber padded device containing their (no doubt) soon-to-also-be-hirsute and precious offspring(s). Oh yes, there are lots of snowflakes too, but Mrs P has warned me against even mentioning them.
I am on my way to a meeting, cradling a messenger bag laden with laptop and the inevitable Fuji. I feel safe on the streets – more than can be said for many places, Cape Town included. I’ve carried a camera everywhere for as long as I can remember and photographed as I’ve visited, walked, travelled, or simply just lolled, watching the world go by. Hackney is fine photographic fodder.
So. I’m living in what has to be one of the great urban un-destinations. In many respects, Hackney has it all; history, restaurants, gentrification, people from every nation and walk of life, building developments, pubs, industry, commerce and a whole lot more. There’s even a network of waterways, rivers and canals.
Not long after the incident in the bus shelter, I bought what has become my mobile studio. I still walk a lot, but this way, I can meander many more of the streets and byways, with a basic camera kit in the front carrier. There’s no shortage of things to see, explore and shoot.
For those interested, these photographs were shot with a mixture of X-Pro-1, -2 and X-H1 bodies, most with my new Zeiss 35mm Distagon – more of that later.
Anyway, there are lots of photographs to post. Part 2 follows in a few days.
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