Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Suffering for your beliefs

I have been a bit quite recently, due to not being particularly well. I have had a chest infection, which got quite bad just before Christmas and I was told my doctors to stay in doors for a bit, in addition to the medication. So I was pretty much housebound for a month. I haven't yet picked up my camera this year, but I may resume the project next week. In the meantime I still have one days shots to post, which will likely take up this and the next post.

The shots here, were taken before Christmas, on my birthday. I took a half days holiday in order to try and complete the area between Holborn and Fleet Street. I started off on the east end of Holborn, where St. Andrew Avenue and New Fetter Lane join onto Holborn Circus. Here I met an Iranian man who was on day 18 of a 30 day hunger strike and protesting for the freedom of political prisoners, democracy, equal rights and freedom of speech. I spent a a while talking to him and was humbled by the experience. It was a very brave and courageous thing that he was doing, something that know I couldn't do.

After we finished our conversation, I continued up Holborn which turns into High Holburn just past the tube station, a fact I had not realised when in this area previously.

From here I then headed back down Holborn to photograph some of the streets off it, gradually heading south towards Fleet Street. The next stop was Furnival Street. Behind the doors in the shot below is a goods lift, that dates back to the late 1940’s and which leads down to an endless warren of tunnels known initially as The Chancery Lane Deep Shelter, and latterly as the Kingsway Trunk Exchange. After the war, the tunnels were briefly occupied by nearly 400 tons of Public Records Office documents, until in the late 1940’s, with the Government’s increasing realisation of how vulnerable the Capital’s communications networks would be in a time of conflict, it was decided to transform the tunnels into a protected trunk telephone exchange.This huge undertaking was completed in 1954, and a couple of hundred people worked down there until the 1980's.

Just off of here is Took Court.

At the end of both Furnival Street and TookCourt is Cursitor Street. There was quite a lot of building work going on here as you can see in the image, which limited options somewhat. The man coming towards me in the shot, stopped to chat to me for a few minutes. He was interested in my cameras, which he thought was a Leica; he owned one and was quite disappointed to find out that it was not.

Also off of Furnival Street is Norwich Street.

This leads to Fetter Lane, and from here I went through  Plough Lane.

Plough Lane then leads to New Fetter Lane, where I took a couple of images. The first is a reflection which doesn't really work, and the second is the empty interior of an office - here I quite liked the stark white emptiness , broken up the ladder. Its not a great shot, but I don't think it would have worked had the ladder not been there, or the ladder had been a plain metal variety.

I then continued east for a few streets onto Little New Street.

Just off here leading to Faringdon Street is Stonecutter Street, which is the last image of the post. The rest of the streets I photographed this day, will follow in another post.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The north side of cheapside

The title gives the location away - between Cheapside and Gresham Street. The few images here were  all taken before xmas, and this little outing completed this section of the map.

First up is King Street. Walking along here, the sun was low and creating some really nice long shadows, though the strong sunlight was also a little problematic.

Parallel to King Street is of Lawrence Lane. I wasn't overly inspired here but decided to focus on the man getting into his car, getting down low to use the yellow line as a lead-in.

Off of King Street, and which leads to Lawrence Lane, is Trump Street.

Trump Street very quickly turns into Russia Row. In the image below I was inspired to take a sneaky looking sort of shot, but with a juxtaposition provided by the security camera. Photographers get a raw deal from the public sometimes and whilst I have never had a problem I do know of people who have had abuse hurled at them because they happened to be photographing in the vicinity of (fully clothed) children, but not photographing them. In 2013 it was reported that the UK had just under 6 million CCTV cameras, or one per eleven of the population, with 5.5 million of those are in private hands. Mobile apps are now available that offer live streaming of cctv footage, yet few people seem concerned about whom is videoing our streets and what the footage is being used for.
I have been stopped a few times by people since I started this project, but most were just curious as to what I was photographing, and all took a genuine interest in the project and wished me luck, when I told them about it. It did however take me quite a while to have some level of confidence to photograph on the street, and to begin with I was very nervous about doing so. I think it helps that Londoners are so used to tourists taking pictures. The paranoia about photographers being pedophiles or terrorists means that whilst we are in an age where more people have cameras than ever before, we are not documenting our streets or way or life as much as we used to. A related matter, is the increasing amount of huge areas of private land, where you are restricted from taking photographs by over zealous security guards if they deem you to be in possession of a "professional" looking camera of heaven forbid a tripod. The whole of the Canary Wharf estate is privately owned, as are large sections of the South Bank, and photography there can be problematic.

Right, off my high horse. A bit further west, and between Wood Street and Gutter Lane is Goldsmith Street. I was quite pleased with the image below, the timing was spot on.

Half way down Gutter Lane and leading to Foster Lane is Priest's Court.

At on point this splits into two alleys, the other being Rose and Crown Court.

The final image of the day was taken on Carey Lane, which also connects Gutter Lane and Foster Lane.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Short but Sweet

A short post, with just a few pics from a few weeks ago, all taken in the area between Cheapside and Gresham Street.

First up is Honey Lane, my favourite image from this post. The street visible at the end of the passage is Cheapside.

The following image is of Prudent Passage,which connects Ironmonger Lane, with King Street.

Also connecting Old Jewry with Ironmonger Lane is St. Olaves Court, once the location of the St. Olave, Old Jewry church. the church was destroyed by the great fire of London and rebuilt by who else but Sir Christopher Wren. The church was mostly demolished in 1887, and all that remains are the tower and west wall.

On Ironmonger lane itself there was a very popular cafe/takeaway place with a long queue outside, where I took the following shot.

Heading further along towards St. Pauls, I then took two pictures of the same building but on/of different streets - Milk Street and Compter Passage which leads to Wood Street.

My last image of the day was from Frederick's Place (just off Old Jewry) and is evidence of a xmas drinks party the night before - I'm a little surprised by the coffee cup.