I spent a fun day on Saturday taking part in a street portraiture workshop run by Niall McDiarmid at the V&A. These are the three best shots I got when he sent us out into the street in the afternoon. Now I just need to go and shoot a load more to build up my portraits portfolio.
Blackheath fireworks are one of the highlights of the year in this corner of south-east London, with people streaming towards the heath from all the surrounding streets. This year’s display was particularly good, helped by drier, warmer weather than usual. Let’s hope it’s the last year in which Greenwich Council doesn’t pay its fair share of the costs. Thanks to Lewisham Council for organising it.
I called by Parliament Square on Wednesday having seen a few tweets about the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protest gathering there. The sun was out, and it seemed to be a good chance to take some more portraits. It was an interesting crowd – I got the impression that there was probably a significant link back to the Occupy movement, plus the established Green Party and anti-fracking groups. My main motivation was to get some more portrait practise in, but it was interesting to see what looks like the start of a new direct action movement. The speakers I saw included TV presenter Julia Bradbury, Clive Lewis MP, and the writer George Monbiot.
More of that Saturday afternoon autumn light in Deptford, this time in Giffin Square just off the High Street. Today’s started as grey and damp as can be, and it’s almost impossible to imagine that the light looked like that yesterday.
All photos shot on a Fujifilm XT20 with XF35mm f1.4 lens, in case you’re interested in that kind of thing.
More of my Deptford pictures here.
I realised recently that I really want to add to the portraits in my portfolio, which obviously means actually taking photos of people. Taking photos of demonstrators feels a little like doing street portraiture on easy setting, but maybe I shouldn’t get so hung up. Anyway, walking through Parliament Square on my way to Westminster tube I shot these in the space of about 5 minutes. I should go there more often, really.
The Woolwich Free Ferry has been taking people across the Thames for centuries, most latterly as a key route for lorries to avoid the Blackwall tunnel. The current roll-on, roll-off boats, built in 1963, are to be taken out of service this week to be replaced by new vessels which promise hybrid diesel-electric power (check out the exhaust fumes in the picture above to see what the current boats produce), and magnetic berthing. One striking feature of the soon-to-be-redundant ferries is the large space for foot passengers under the car deck, not barely used, but a reminder of the ferry’s past role in getting dock and factory workers back and forth before containerisation and deindustrialisation arrived.
I thought I should get some pictures before these boats bow out, and went down for a trip to North Woolwich and back on a bazlingly bright late September day. See the full album ‘Last days of the old Woolwich Ferry here’.
It’s been a few years since we’ve managed to go to any of the Open House London properties, but today we made it all the way over the heath to see Britain’s only Brutalist Quaker Meeting House, tucked away down a side road near the station in Blackheath. Designed by architect Trevor Dannatt OBE and opened in 1972, it’s a clever building, split over two levels and making good use of a small corner. I particularly like the way light is let in around the corners of the main meeting room’s ceiling, as well as through the wooden window structure in the centre. The mood in the building was as serene as you might expect. You can see more of my photos of Blackheath’s Quaker Meeting House here.
After that, we walked over to Boone’s Chapel on Lee High Road; I’d never heard of this until it was mentioned when I went to visit Charlton House’s Summer House on Thursday to take some photos of the restoration works in advance of Open House Weekend for The Charlton Champion. It turns out that the architect responsible for the restoration work had done similar work at Boone’s Chapel and is now based there, and part of the display explained the history and importance of Charlton House’s Summer House in a much better way than I’d seen previously. I failed to get any photos, though: too many people in the way – hopefully I’ll get back to an open day there at some point soon.
Also on the subject of heritage open days, I have some photos on the Charlton Champion today of the Grade II-listed structures you can visit night or day, any day of the week, namely two K2 telephone boxes…
An excellent night with good friends at the Barbican Centre, watching Gruff Rhys perform his latest album, Babelsberg, with the London Contemporary Orchestra. I’ve seen Gruff Rhys a few times with the Super Furry Animals and solo (the American Interior show at the Southbank being a highlight), and he always brings something new and special to the show. This time the orchestration really brought the new songs to life and shone extra light on his melodies; I hope I can catch him again soon and look forward to seeing whatever he does next.