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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: My photographs

Thursday October 19 2017

Last Sunday, I photoed those wonky looking cranes.  I also took this photo:

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That’s not at all what I think, but lots of people do think that those City of London Big Things are indeed follies.  Follies being a show that the National Theatre, that concrete thing on the right, was advertising when I walked past it.

I find the Big Things of the City hard to keep track of, given that I do try.  Let’s have a closer look at those vertical concrete lumps, that look they will turn into something very big:

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There you go.  Once you have a name like that, the gates of the Internet open.

So, what’s the City of London about to look like next?  The most useful answer I got was this:

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That being the picture at the top of a Londonist posting from last July.

Quote:

Based on the visuals, these projects are a mixed bag of ho-hum and coo-wow. Taken together, they make for a crowded cluster that’ll almost entirely obscure the much-loved Gherkin building, once so dominant on the skyline.

A particularly coo-wow part of the story being the Scalpel.  See above.

The rather ungainly 22 Bishopsgate, which is going up where the Helter Skelter would have gone until the financing for it collapsed, is going to be the tallest Big Thing in London, for a short while, just until that big boxy tower ("1 Undershaft") with the diagonals on it goes even higher.

22 Bishopsgate will have a free viewing platform, according to this report from two years ago:

At the top of the building will be a double-height public viewing gallery, which will have dedicated lifts, be free to the public and sit alongside a two-storey public restaurant and bar.

I can’t wait, as people say when they’re just going to have to wait and are actually quite capable of waiting, in a state of impeccable mental equanimity.

This is the kind of building of which it will be said: The view from 22 Bishopsgate is magnificent.  From 22 Bishopsgate, you will not see 22 Bishopsgate.  They used to say this about the National Theatre.

I sseem to recall taking some closer-up photos of all this activity a few months back.  I must take another look at those.  And … I just did.  June 3rd, earlier this year.

I particularly like this one:

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Very stylish.

Tuesday October 17 2017

I love cranes, especially those big tower cranes they use to build Big Things.  So tall. But so thin.  But they do trouble me.  How do they stay up?  Why don’t they ever fall over?  Well, they do, sometimes.  But mostly they don’t.

And, as I couldn’t help noticing when I was out and about last Sunday, these tower cranes often lean over, in a way that looks like it is asking for headline-making trouble.

Consider one of these cranes, the one on the right, that’s leaning over, about four degree off of the vertical.  How does that not fall over?  (Thank you vertical lamp post for telling us what vertical is.)

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Well, I’m guessing these people know what they’re doing.  No, scrub that, I’d be amazed if they didn’t know what they’re doing.  This kind of thing just has to be business as usual, no matter how crazy it may look to mere passers-by.  As I discovered when I went looking for other leaning cranes in my photo-archives, and I found one that I had photoed just an hour earlier, on the same walkabout:

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I think we may assume that the BT Tower is the very definition of vertical.

In each case, the crane is bent backwards by the big concrete blocks that compensate them for the lifting job they do with the other end of their tops.  But when no lifting is happening, the compensating weight has no weight to compensate … it.  And the result can look very scary.

No London cranes have been reported collapsing during the last few days.  So, like I say, no problem.

Sunday October 15 2017

For me, it’s the most expensive penny I ever spend.  I’m referring to the toilet in Gramex, the services of which I often avail myself, in between hunting for keenly priced second-hand or ex-review-copy classical CDs.

This shop has kept moving over the years and is now seeking yet another new location, because its current location is about to be turned into a hotel.  But for now, until the 17th of this month, when you pee there, you beyold, in a very bedraggled state, a reproduction of a famous photograph, of New York’s Grand Central Terminal:

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There seem to be several versions of this photo, because more than one photoer noticed this remarkable phenomenon.  The phenomenon being how the presence of smoke or steam in the atmosphere turns any light that journeys through the smoke or the steam into a solid block of light.

This being well known to showbiz of course.  Here is a recent 6k photo, of a pop combo in action, being lit with smoke and searchlights.

The nearest I have ever got to anything like this myself is a set of photos I took one rather misty day in September 2015, when I was officially checking out the first of London Gateway’s cranes.  I have already shown this photo here, but here it is again because I like it so much:

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Here is another photo that I took moments earlier, which I have not shown here before:

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What I especially like about that one is that is shows how solidified light of this sort blocks out what is behind it.  You can’t see past such light.  But when there is no light crashing through and lighting up the mist, you can see through the mist.  Look how, when there isn’t lit up mist, you can see, past all the closer-up drama, another world of clouds, in the darker distance.

The above photo reminds me of another favourite photo of mine, this time where my reflection in a shop window, dark because back lit, makes it possible to see through the shop window into the shop, which otherwise you can’t because of brightly lit reflections from behind me.  In this case it is those bright reflections that are the solid light:

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That was photoed in the south of France, in Ceret, a town famous for its light and much loved by artists, in particular by Picasso.

I love that what we actually see through the shop window is someone else taking a photo.

Photography is light.

Saturday October 14 2017

I got bogged down semi-working on a succession of postings that never got finished.  So here is a quota photo, picked out the archives pretty much at random:

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There I was, trawling through a huge clutch of photos taken somewhere in Brittany, in June 2011, but not knowing where they were of.  Then that photo presented itself, and all was clarified.

Memo to self: always photo signs, maps, signposts, in fact anything that will later tell you what you were photoing and where.  I know, I know, cameras will give you map references, if you ask them nicely.  But I’m a twentieth century boy.  I like actual maps

Preferably with little signs on them that say: you are here.  Or in this particular case, vous êtes ici, which I don’t think the above maps do have.  Quel dommage.

I recently started a new directory called “You are here”, for all such map photos.

Thursday October 12 2017

I had a nice surprise today.  As time passes, the number of places I can buy the Gramophone and the BBC Music Mag keeps on diminishing, one of the few that remains being W.H.Smith in Victoria Station.  It was once again a beautifully lit late afternoon, and when I stepped outside the station concourse, I encountered this beautiful sight:

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Yes, the wraps have come off Pavlova.  And far sooner than I had been expecting.

Several of the above photos feature the new Nova building.  This fine edifice was awarded this year’s Carbuncle Cup.  The dreary grumblers who award this award think that it’s a badge of shame, but I generally find it, and its accompanying runner-up collections, to be a great source of information about interesting and often excellent new buildings.  Nova is wonderful, I think.  I intend (although I promise nothing), to say more about this enjoyably showy yet elegant addition to Victoria’s mostly rather lumpish architecture.

In 3.2, I got lucky with an airplane.

Tuesday October 10 2017

Today was mostly a dull day, unsuited to photoing, by me at any rate.  But late in the afternoon, I realised I needed to get out there to purchase a new SD card reader, what with the existing one having become too undependable.  I could usually get it working, eventually, but who needs that?  I needed a card reader that didn’t need any juggling and wiggling and mucking about with, but just worked first time.  And now I have it.  I also took a detour to Sloane Square to meet up with a friend, before journeying to Curry’sPCWorldCarphoneWarehouse in Tottenham Court Road.

Equally good, the late in the afternoon today turned out to be very photogenic.  The light was beautiful.  Always it’s the light.  The sky was in that cold clear state where every vapour trail hangs about, and it looked like someone had been scribbling on it with a big box of white chalks of different sizes.

I took photos, of course, and here are a few of the ones I liked best.  The first three were on the way to Sloane Square.  The last one, the sunset, was taken outside Warren Street tube.

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Not much happens in the sky in 1.2, but I like it anyway.  There’s something about those little ladders that you see on roofs.  I see that, in the case of this particular ladder, there are birds that agree with me about this.

AndI love that fake building in 2.1, on the outside of the real building that I think they’re refurbishing or rebuilding or cleaning something, just off Sloane Square.

What makes the sunset worthy of inclusion is the low cloud that joins in, making it look like something’s on fire.  Plus, there are cranes.

All the photos I took transferred themselves to my mainframe, first time, clean as a whistle.  No juggling or wiggling.  Just plug in the reader. Shove in the card.  Done.

And earlier in the day I got some other stuff done too.  A good day.

Monday October 09 2017

Yesterday GodDaughter One invited me to join her for one of her Moves , from Stonebridge Lock, up the River Lee Navigation, to Enfield.  The boaters of London have to keep moving.  They aren’t allowed to stay in the one spot for ever, which I bet thins down the numbers.  Plus, it makes sure that the canals have lots of canals boats chugging about on them for the likes of me to photo.  It’s quite a subtle rule, I think.

I took many photos.  Here are some that commemorate the life and work of Alfie Saggs, the lock keeper of Pickett’s Lock, which was renamed “Alfie’s Lock” in 2015:

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Alfie Saggs is well known to London’s canal boaters, but the story was all new to me.  Read about Alfie Saggs here.  Apparently Alfie liked Bounty Bars, and so Bounty Bars were how the boaters expressed their appreciation of his work:

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It’s good that this celebration of his life’s work was something that Alfie Saggs himself was able to enjoy, and that it didn’t happen only when he died, just three weeks ago:

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I photoed a lot of signs yesterday.  Signs are very evocative and very informative.  When I browse through directories of past wanderings, I am always glad of signs.  They tell me exactly where I was, the way that mere landscape and waterways cannot with nearly so much certainty.

Sunday October 08 2017

Yes.  I ran it by Adriana plus her Plus One (Perry de H), at that feast I reported on yesterday, and it turns out that I’m not the only one who finds the phrase “self storage” …

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… to be rather odd.  (That’s this.)

I know what self storage is.  It’s the name given to the process of ridding your self of some of the crap by which your self is currently surrounded and impeded, without actually chucking it away irrevocably.  In particular, when your self is in between locations, or when your self has moved from a big place to a smaller place, your stuff, or your excess stuff, needs to be stored somewhere.

But self storage, taken literally, sounds like you are parking your self in a warehouse and for the duration, your life will consist only of all the extraneous crap.

You become like a zombie or something.  I can understand people wanting to put their mere selves to one side while earning a living.  That might make a rather profitable business.  But while actually, you know, … trying to live … ?

Odd.

Friday October 06 2017

A couple of days ago, I photoed words, and I photoed the top of the Boomerang (although I would recommend scrolling down rather than following these links (a lot quicker (alas))).  But in among photoing all that, I also I photoed this ambiguous beast.  Ambiguous because originally, the beast looked a lot like this:

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But then someone else, by adding some alternative eyes, turned the beast into this:

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The original photo I took, from which both the above versions were cropped, looked like this:

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You see, that’s the trouble with the Leake Street Tunnel.  Nobody owns it, other than a sort of conglomerate of politicians, and what that conglomerate has decided is that whereas all artists may paint in the Leake Street Tunnel, none of them can prevent further painting by further artists.  The only immortality achieved is virtual and digital.

Or, maybe it’s a bit more complicated.  And if you aren’t part of the club, and you just turn up and paint, you get your knees broken, or something.

Whatever.  The thing I really admire about the beast, as originally painted by Artist One, is the state of its teeth.  Check them out.  Thought has gone into them.  No wonder Artist Two was envious, and decided to appropriate them for his alternative beast.

Thursday October 05 2017

Indeed:

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Also photoed yesterday, from near Southwark Tube.  I enjoy the grubbiness of the incomplete object with the shininess of its soon-to-be-finished finish.  Not sure I yet like it, mind.  It now seems a bit seventies and brash and shouty.  But, I thought that at first about the Walkie Talkie.  A lot depends on what it contributes to the distant London skyline.

More about the Boomerang here.

Here’s another Boomerang photo from June, from Waterloo Bridge:

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Left to right: Boomerang, Shard, South Bank Tower, and (already a definite favourite of mine) 240 Blackfriars.  (More concrete resisting to the death at the other end of that last link.) Also to be seen, the Oxo Tower and (far left) the tower of Tate Modern, both now dwarfed by even more modern Modernity.

Note how the slope of the lower part of the Boomerang aligns exactly with the slope of the Shard.  Coincidence?  My guess: not.

Wednesday October 04 2017

Words make for entertaining photos.  The words in signs.  The “words” in graffiti.

I was out and about today, and here are a couple of the more amusing photos I took.

There was this, involving two glamorous women:

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And this, involving another quite glamorous woman:

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The first photo was taken through a shop window in Lower Marsh.  That quote about Hell seems to be generic, so presumably that’s a generic woman.  I had supposed it to be somebody in particular, in the way that Marilyn Monroe is somebody in particular.  But, it seems not.

The second photo was taken at the southern entrance of the Peake Street graffiti tunnel.  An entrance that now looks like this:

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The graffiti in the tunnel, which goes under Waterloo Station, is constantly changing.  Here is how some of it was looking today:

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Apart from recognising a couple of Hulks there, the incredible one and Homwer Simpson, this is all a mystery to me.  As I think I’ve said here before, graffiti like this has in common with Modern Art of the more usual sort in being incomprehensible to outsiders.

At the other end of the Peake Street graffiti tunnel, there is a big notice which tells everyone what the graffiti rules are.

I know what you’re thinking.  Good luck with that.  And if you are thinking that, you are not wrong:

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Life is Beautiful!!  Hm.  Not so sure.  But then, I am in two minds about graffiti.  It’s threatening, but stylish.  One moment I like how it looks.  At other moments, it feels like visual bullying.

If anyone knows what this notice now says (I’m talking about the big purple “word” there), please leave a comment.

I prefer standard English.

Monday October 02 2017

This blog having been in business for well over a decade, an obvious blog post genre is ten-years-ago-today.  This one’s actually more like ten-years-ago-plus-about-a-fortnight, but who, apart from me, is counting?:

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What I think this clutch of photos captures rather well is the sheer fun that digital photography unleashed, around that time.  I was a photoer-having-fun and so were all the other photoers.

Digital photography wasn’t completely new at that moment.  It had already been around for several years.  But what my photo-archives tell me is that this is about when it started getting seriously good.  This was when the rubbish-to-okay success rate (simply from the point of view of things like blurriness) of the average mostly-automatic-setting photoer like me, or of the photoer in the above photos, started climbing from something like ten percent to more like fifty percent.  We weren’t yet at the fifty percent and still climbing rate.  Or, we only were if the light was very strong and there was no moving.  (That came around five years later.) But these kids frollicking about outside Westminster Abbey were keeping still for their camera and therefore also for mine, and as you can see, there was plenty of bright sunlight sloshing about that day.  So their pictures were probably okay, just as mine of them were.

Also, ten years ago was well before the face recognition problem kicked in.  Then, I had no problem about posting recognisable photos of people.  I also have no problem with the recognisable faces above, because these kids were making a rather undignified spectacle of themselves outside a major place of worship.  Which is fine.  God loves fun, or why would He have created so much of it?  But: the above recognisable faces, all those years ago, are fair game for my blog, I say.

Saturday September 30 2017

I recently referred, with an accompanying photo, to the resistance that reinforced concrete puts up when the time comes that machines destroy it rather than create it.  But the photo in that posting was basically of a machine that was doing the destroying, rather than of much in the way of the resisting concrete.

This photo, taken during the summer of 2016 in the vicinity of the then only beginning to arise One Blackfriars (aka The Boomerang), the big new Big Thing now nearing completion on the south side of the river:

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Concrete is good under compressioin.  The steel reinforcing rods are strong in tension.  But the steel reinforcing rods don’t crumble when assaulted.  They bend.

Friday September 29 2017

Indeed:

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From the I Just Like It collection.  Photoed somewhere in the Piccadilly Circus Leicester Square region, in December 2013.

One of those photos where I moved my camera to keep it on the object of my attention as it rolled by, thereby keeping the object in approximate focus and the background not.

Nice.

I love luxurious cars driven by the ostentatious nouveau riche.  (Is there another kind of nouveau riche? Probably, yes.) I would hate to have to actually look after such a vehicle throughout its life, but I love being able to photo such things, on my wandering in London, where there are just enough of such vehicles to be amusing, but not so many that you stop noticing and stop enjoying.

Wednesday September 27 2017

By which I mean an urban dragon, like this one ...:

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... which I photoed this afternoon, stuffing a few of the remains of the old New Scotland Yard, now deceased, into a skip, for a lorry to take away.

There is something very primitive and savage about machines like this one, destroying reinforced concrete, i.e. destroying just the sort of concrete that is designed to be indestructible.

I had a busy day today, by which I do not mean that I accomplished anything.  Merely that I did a lot of pleasurable things, out there is Real World.

And then, BMdotcom was misbehaving, when I first tried to post this.  But it seems now to be back working again, albeit - alas - with its customary lethargy.