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Most recent entries
- 2012 and 2016 times 2 – London on the rise
- Stripy house can stay stripy
- Mr Ed has some metaphorical fun
- A picture of a book about pictures
- To Tottenham (8): Zooming in on some Big Things
- Playing golf versus following cricket
- Quota bicycles
- Another Capital Golf car
- Battersea Power Station then and now and soon
- Timing shits instead of forcing them
- Lincoln Paine shifts the emphasis from land to water (with a very big book)
- Classic cars in Lower Marsh
- Stabat Mater at St Stephen’s Gloucester Road
- A selfie being taken a decade ago
- Gloucester Road with evening sun
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This and that
Category archive: My photographs
I know. 8056. Not what I mean.
I’m hoping that as the years go by these kinds of comparisons are going to accumulate, and that as I do further trawling through the archives, other similar contrasts will be discovered.
All four of these photos were taken from the top of the tower of Westminster Cathedral, in Victoria Street, two of them in April 2012, and two of them in October 2016.
The first pair are looking down, towards the top end of Victoria Street:
And the second pair of looking in nearly the opposite direction, towards Westminster Abbey and beyond, which is at the bottom end of Victoria Street:
Quite big differences, I think you will agree. Cheesegrater. Walkie Talkie. And all those pointy things near Victoria Station.
There is only one thing wrong with the fabulous views you get from the top of the tower of Westminster Cathedral. From this spot, you cannot see the tower of Westminster Cathedral. I like this tower a lot.
The history of this particular picture is that GodDaughter 2 and I were in Waterstones, Piccadilly, which is one of our favourite spots. She loves all the books. I like the books too, but I love the views that I can photo from the cafe at the top. This is not very high up, but it is high enough up to see many interesting things, and familiar things from an unfamiliar angle, of which, perhaps or perhaps not, more later.
So, anyway, there we were in Waterstones, and we were making our way up the stairs to the top, rather than going up in the lift, because I needed the Gents and GD2 needed the Ladies. All of which caused me to be waiting on the book floor nearest to the Ladies, and that was where I saw this book. I had heard about it, via a TV show that Hockney did a few years back, and I did a little read of the bit that really interested me, which was about how very early photography intermingled with “Art”. I wouldn’t have encountered the book itself had it not been for GD2 and I both liking Waterstones, and had it not been for nature demanding GD2’s attention. So, this is another picture I owe to her, to add to this one.
The way Hockney and his art critic pal tell the story of how early photography and the Art of that time intermingled is: that all the other Art critics say that the Artists were zeroing in on a “photographic” looking style, through their own purely Artistic efforts. Nonsense, say Hockney and pal. The Artists were already using the early stages of photography, and if my recollection of that television show is right, that this had been going on for quite a while. They were using photographic methods to project a scene onto a surface, and then painting it in by hand. These paintings look photographic because, in a partial but crucial sense, they are photographic. Later, the photo-techies worked out how to frieze that image permanently onto that surface, by chemical means rather than by hand copying. Those Art critics want to say that the Artists lead the world towards photography, but the influence was more the other way around. Photograhy was leading the Artists.
This fascinating historical episode, assuming (as I do) that Hockney and pal are not making this up, shows how complicated and additive a technology like photography is. It didn’t erupt all at once. It crept up on the world, step by step. And of course it is still creeping forwards, a step at a time, in our own time. Early photographers couldn’t shove their pictures up by telephone onto your television screen, the way I just did, if only because television screens didn’t happen for another century.
Meanwhile, the book trade is creeping forwards. In the age of Amazon, am I the only one who sees an interesting book in a bookshop, looks at the price, says to himself: I can do much better than that on Amazon, and contents himself with taking a photo of the book’s cover? Are we bad people?
For this book, the difference is thirty quid in the shop, but twenty quid or even less on Amazon.
In that talk I did about the impact of digital photography, one of the uses I found myself emphasising was using digital cameras for note-taking. How much easier and more exact to make a picture of this book’s cover with one camera click, than to record its mere title with the laborious taking of a written note.
So far, I have only managed seven photo-postings about my expedition to the big old Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is now in the process of being turned into a bigger new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Tomorrow, Spurs play Chelsea in the semi finals of the FA Cup, and in honour of this confrontation, here is Tottenham posting number eight.
I made my way eastwards from the stadium, towards the park and then the canal beside which I hoped to walk south. But before I got there, I encountered this:
This footbridge is to be found next to the level crossing at the north end of Northumberland Park railway station. I climbed up on the footbridge and took this shot, looking south, of that railway station:
My main reason for showing this is to show you how far away the Big Things of the City are from this vantage point. This sort of circumstance being why God invented zoom lenses. Look what happened when I cranked up my zoom, on my trusty Panasonic Lumix FZ200.
What you see here is the miniscule portion of the above view that you see if you follow the railway lines straight to the horizon, and then shift a tiny bit to the left, just past that big spikey thing, to those tiny little things sticking up, just beyond the big spike and to its left, as we look:
And what we see is that those tiny things are the Big Things of the City of London. Gherkin. Cheesegrater. Shard. Plus intervening clutter of course.
Over to the far left of the station view photo you can also make out the towers of Docklands. But they aren’t that special to look at. If it weren’t for the pointy one, you’d hardly know how to spot them, because they’d just be a few anonymous lumps. What Docklands needs is a mega-skyscraper of a distinctive design. Maybe a thin tower, with a huge revolving restaurant at the top. Something along those lines. But I fear that the nearby presence of City Airport would make that impossible, for the time being anyway.
Last August, in Gabriel’s Wharf:
Really annoying day, making very little progress on about half a dozen different fronts.
I just spent about an hour working on today’s posting, but it got stuck, and complicated, as postings will. So here is a shiny car to fill today’s void, photoed this afternoon, in Mayfair:
It’s the younger, racier brother of this shiny car, which I encountered in 2015.
I still hate and fear golf.
Then being five and a half years ago, with a sunset behind it and some birds in front of it:
The structure in the foreground there is …:
… which is on the other side of the River from me, across Vauxhall Bridge Road and turn ride along the path next to the River.
Right now, Battersea Power Station is in a rather different state, which you can actually see rather well in that famous view from Ebury Bridge Road, looking out over the railway lines that leave Victoria to go south over the River:
The whole area, in it and around it, is being turned into apartments. They’re even going to have their own new tube station, at the far end of a new bit of the Northern Line.
The first one there was taken from Battersea Park railway station, the other two shots from nearer to all the building. That fake-up of how it will look tells you ... how it will look. If you are a helicopter traveller.
What’s happening in Battersea is the one great exception to the otherwise inexorable drift of London’s centre of gravity eastwards.
Late this afternoon, in Lower Marsh, I came across this classic oldie:
I see a lot of vintage cars in Lower Marsh? Why?
Finally, the penny dropped and I asked the Great Machine in the Sky. I typed in “vintage cars lower marsh” and immediately learned about this. Every month, the classic cars gather there:
We meet between 12:00 and 16:00 on the third Saturday of every month at the Lower Marsh Market – on Lower Marsh Street just behind Waterloo Station.
Yes, come to think of it, I always see them on a Saturday.
Indeed, a decade ago to the day, on the grass outside Westminster Abbey. The word “selfie” didn’t then exist, but that didn’t stop anyone from doing it. It was because so many were doing it that the word was needed:
I like how the soles of their feet are the bit of the photo that’s most in focus.
My first use of the word “selfie” was, according to my blogging software, in this posting. It’s all about me.
I have GodDaughter 2 to thank for this picture:
That was the sight that greeted me just before I went inside St Stephen’s Church, Gloucester Road, where GD2 and some music student friends, conducted by Matthew O’Keeffe (Scherzo), were performing Rossini’s Stabat Mater. That’s a link to a piece about the event written in the future tense, so I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s the best I can do.
I can’t be objective about GodDaughter 2’s singing, but she sounded very good to me.
I like this footbridge, and I like this photo of this footbridge:
We are looking down from the road bridge that takes Twelvetrees Crescent over the River Lea and Bow Creek. It’s a delightful spot, to be found at the top right end of the Limehouse Cut. On the right, we see the Limehouse Cut about to make its bee-line for the Limehouse Basin. And on the left, the River Lea is about to wend its very winding way down to the River. Where the Lea empties itself into the Thames is right near where I took these fish photos.
The reason I cross-reference all these photo-postings of mine is because the idea of these expeditions is not just to see amusing things in isolation, but in addition to that to build up the bigger picture in my mind of what that part of London, and in particular its waterways, is like. All these walks need to join up with each other, in reality and in my head. The latter I achieve by trawling back through my photo archives, by repeatedly meandering about in google maps, and by connecting up this blog posting with that one. And by going on more expeditions.
As related yesterday, yesterday’s walk was basically pretty boring. But by this I do not mean truly boring. I mean: boring, if I had not had a camera with me. But I did have a camera with me, and I kept a more than usually alert eye out for incidental photoable fun.
What had got me out and about in the first place was the hours of cloudless sky that were going to happen, and this lack of clouds enabled the sun, combined with all the bright shiny objects that abound in a city like London, to create some photoable fun with reflected light:
I don’t know exactly how that first effect was created. I was in too much of a hurry to get to the Limehouse Cut. The middle one is light bouncing off the water onto the underside of a bridge over the Limehouse Cut. And the third one is light bouncing off windows opposite.
Here, by contrast, is a picture of light going nowhere:
You see a lot of these things on the tops of canal boats, and this makes sense, more sense than it does having them on the tops of houses. The difference is that electricity on a boat comes with a cost not only in money but also in time and both. The time it takes to transfer the electricity into your electricity store. And the bother of finding one of the terminals you’ll be using, which is not so easy, especially if there is a queue. So any topping up of your electricity store that you can do automatically, without having to stop at a special terminal, is very welcome. Especially on a day like yesterday.
Today I had what I suspect may prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I say that because it was so boring that I may never do it again. I walked the length of the Limehouse Cut:
The thing about the Limehouse Cut is that it is dead straight, as purely man-made things so often are. So, when you are walking along next to it, you find yourself staring forwards at an infinitely receding, dead straight, unchanging canal-side path. The Limehouse Cut is dead straight, and hence dead boring.
Click on that dreary little map of the Limehouse Cut, above, and you will get the context, which shows also how most waterways in London look. Not straight. And that makes them much more amusing to walk next to. Usually, when walking beside a London waterway, there are constant twists and turns. New things regularly come into view. The whole atmosphere of the journey keeps changing. But when things straighten out, like they did today, it can get very repetitious.
Here are some pictures that make that point:
I have long noticed something similar when it comes to walking along roads. Long straight boulevards are an ordeal. Twisty and turny walks, with lots of visual variety and with obstacles in the way so you can’t see miles ahead, are, I find, much more appealing.
The point is variety. Anything that just keeps repeating itself is dull. Even if it is something you might think picturesque, like a waterway with lots of boats on it. But that gets dull also.
I was actually not surprised by this. I was expecting it. But, I was hoping against hope that there might be a good view in the distance, like the Shard maybe. Or that it wouldn’t be boring. Well, it wasn’t entirely boring. There were things to see that were surprising. Plus there was a park that I was able to visit. But basically, it was boring.
But the thing was, what if the Limehouse Cut was really exciting? I had to make quite sure that this was not so. So, there was a meaningful mission today, and it was accomplished. And it didn’t take that long.
I couldn’t decide which of these two fish photos was the best, so here are both of them. The photo on the right is better of the fish itself. The photo on the left shows more of the rather strange setting. Click on either, or both, or neither, to get the bigger pictures:
I encountered this fish in Orchard Place, last Sunday. Orchard Place is the road you need to walk along if you want to check out Container City, which is what I was doing at the time. To find Orchard Place on google maps, and to satisfy yourself that we are both talking about the same Place, got to Canning Town tube station and go south.
That’s the model of London in the foyer of the Building Centre, photoed by me last month.
In the foreground, all the new building in the Battersea area.
The small square green bit in the middle of the picture, on the other side of the river, is Vincent Square, which is a short walk from where I live.
London, especially on the south bank, looks like it’s flooded, doesn’t it?
I find myself becoming ever more entertained by those cranes at the top of buildings, for cleaning windows. The ones that look like this:
Is it a crane? Is it roof clutter? It’s both!
The above photo was taken in March. And then, in April, this month, I took this next photo, because, although not by itself very significant, it really adds to the story being told above:
I did a bit of cropping on both these, to make them more identical, in all but the essential difference they illustrate.
For you see (which you now do), this particular window cleaning crane has the trick of disappearing into the (very visible) roof of its building like it’s not even there.
One moment: roof clutter, of the most obtrusive sort. Next thing you know: roof clutter gone.
There is another such window cleaning crane, very near to the above window cleaning crane, in fact just across the road from it, on the big ugly building with the curved roof, from which a window cleaning crane with a curved bit of roof on it occasionally emerges. And in February, I chanced upon this window cleaning crane in action:
From form emerges function. Function functions. Then function disappears back into form, like nothing had happened.