Five years ago today on the South Bank

Yes, another retro-photo-meander, on May 11th 2015

Photo 1: This doesn’t exactly nail down the date, does it? This could be a headline from any day during the last two decades. False, every time. The only time we got tough on the EU was when the mere voters voted to leave.

But Photo 2 is suitably fixed in time, the time when they were just finishing those rather lavish looking student apartments, on the far side of Westminster Bridge. In my day, we lived in digs. These were holes in the road. Just kidding.

Photo 3: Just as photos of people wearing face masks take on a new meaning now, so now do crowd scenes. Who are those people wearing blue caps? No idea. Memo to self: gather up more crowd scenes. I haven’t done many of these. In future, I’m guessing now I’ll do more.

Photo 4: The Big Purple Cow is – was? – a comedy venue.

Photos 5 to 9 explain themselves. Above the streaks on concrete is a sign saying where we are.

Photo 10: On the right, that’s the ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar.

I can never remember what the roof clutter i Photo 12 is on the roof of, but I always like to photo it.

The vapour trail in Photo 15 was also this vapour trail. If vapour trails always looked this black and horrible, there would now be no planes flying.

Another perceptual flip to add to the collection – and why I find such things to be interesting

Yes, I do like these optical tricks that computer graphics makes it so easy for computer graphicists to play on the world.

Says Steve Stewart-Williams of his latest discovery in this genre:

If you cover the bottom of the ring, the top is closest to you; if you cover the top, it flips around.

Indeed. I clocked what was going on simply by scrolling, which I did because I wanted to see the whole thing, not because I had read what SS-W had said about it yet. But instead of seeing it all, I stopped seeing only the top and started seeing only the bottom, and … what he said.

A big part of the core curriculum of this blog, and of its predecessor, was and is something like: “How I see things and how other people seem to see things”. What do I particularly notice? What do you notice? Do you ignore what I notice?

Sculpture draws elaborate attention to itself. So does advertising. I notice both. Roof clutter and cranes don’t care how I or anyone thinks they look. They are just getting on with their jobs. Millions do not notice roof clutter and cranes, but I do, partly because of their unselfconsciously sculptural qualities. Do you ignore or notice some or all of such things? Chances are you do notice and enjoy noticing several if not all of these things, or you’d not be bothering with this blog. But if you ignore, I’m not complaining, just noticing. People vary, a lot.

See also, which is a generalised version of the above paragraph: Art.

But optical illusions are interesting, because, aside from being interesting for the usual fun reasons that people like them, we most of us tend to experience them in the exact same way. It would, for instance, be bizarre if you looked at the above-linked snatch of video and then wondered what the hell SS-W and I were both talking about. Sharing the same sorts of brains, I see most optical illusions in just the same way you see them. Assuming you share my interest in them at all and you see them at all.

Optical illusions thus celebrate what we all have in common. (Except those of us who don’t. Guess: Optical illusions, in addition to being fun, are also a tool to identify people with brain oddities or brain damage. ?)

Here is the previous one of these things that SS-W pointed me to.

Battersea silhouettes

I’m still, as yet, going on quite long photo-walks. These are combined with shopping and a lot of exercise, the latter being even greater now what with public transport being off limits. There is plenty, since you ask, of social isolation, far more even than is usual. Nevertheless, I still fear that the photoing aspect may soon attract the disapproving attention of authorities, formal or informal. Too little shopping. Insufficiently strenuous exercise. Too much enjoyment. We shall see.

But in the meantime, yesterday afternoon, I checked out, again, the now stalled progress of the new apartment blocks that Frank Gehry has designed to go next to the Battersea Power Station. Last time I tried photoing these, the weather let me down. Not yesterday. Trouble was, the light was coming from behind the buildings I was most interested in photoing. But there was so much of it bouncing around that even though starting out from totally the wrong direction it was still a great improvement on the earlier trip, for photoing that Gehry-weirdness. Which I may or may not get to blogging about.

But as always, on a successful photo walk, the official destination was only part of the story. When I took another look this morning at what I had, I realised that, in among all the beautifully lit photos I photoed pointing one way, with most of the light coming from behind me, were photos like these, with me pointing the other way:

I’ve photoed that amazingly tasteless sculpture of the naked woman pointing herself forwards at the front of a boat, but this is by far the best photo of her I’ve ever photoed. The secret? Added cranes and roof clutter.

Also in the category list below is other creatures. Spot the other creature.

Perpignan photos

A year ago yesterday I was in St Cyprien, and a year ago today I was in Perpignan. However, I was in Perpignan again on January 9th of this year, when the weather was much better and hence so were my photos. Here is a selection of the photos I took then, there:

Not only was the weather better last January than it had been in April of last year; there was also a temporary Wheel in place (photos 20, 21, 22, 26). And (see photo 9) there was an exhibition on of some photos by former President of France Jacques Chirac. How about that?

A feature of any visit to Perpignan is, or should be, a journey to the department store called Galeries Lafayette (the big white building in photo 18), the views from the top of which are excellent (photos 19-28). The views on the way down from the stairs are pretty good too (photos 28-30).

Other than that, it was the usual. Amusing signs in French, roof clutter, strange plants, pollarded trees, various sorts of sculpture ancient and modern, bridges, left over Christmas signs, a motorbike. All good stuff, and all looking much better in the much better light there was in Perpignan on April 9th. Click and enjoy.

A year ago today …

I was in St Cyprien, in the extreme south of France, staying with my extreme south of France friends (aka GodDaughter2’s family).

Roof clutter ancient and modern, wires, orange tiles, fishing equipment, tourist crap with no soldiers or royal family (just Art), amazing plants (including little wine trees with mountains behind them), boats galore, and very well behaved sea for the boats to drive on. Not that all of those things are to be seen in these photos, but they are all very much to be seen in the extreme south of France:

And light. Lots of lovely light.

But, no outstanding single eyecatching Things, like in London or Paris. Just atmosphere and lots of it.

At the top of the Walkie Talkie

In January 2016, I and a friend visited the top of the Walkie Talkie. And in April 2016, I posted one of the photos I took during that visit, the third of these three Walkie Talkie photos. Somewhat later, in September 2017, I posted quite a few more of the photos I took during that same visit, of my fellow photoers, surprise surprise. Galleries were harder to do and to view on the old blog, blah blah, reprise. And now that galleries are so much easier to do and view, here’s another clutch of photos from that day, this time showing what the inside of the top of Walkie Talkie is like.

Getting into the Walkie Talkie was quite a palaver, and I’ll bet that hasn’t got any easier. So lots of people who will never want to endure all this palaver to visit this place themselves might nevertheless appreciate being told what the inside of it looks like. So, here is this next clutch of photos:

When you google Walkie Talkie, you get lots of moaning from a few years back about how terrible it is. I love it. And I continue to tell all my friend, and you lot, that eventually it will be greatly loved. But, this evening anyway, I could find no one who agreed with me.

And not a cloud in the sky

On and from the roof of my block of flats, yesterday:

We’re all confined to barracks, and the best weather of the year so far, by far, chose to arrive to celebrate the fact. About five solid days of not-a-cloud-in-the-sky perfection, ideal for any number of different and interesting photo-expeditions, and all we’re allowed to do is a little shopping shopping, go straight to and from work, and take a bit of exercise. As I get older, I become less and less inclined to incur the wrath of strangers, and me creeping about taking photos might, I can’t help feeling, incur the wrath of strangers. Up on the roof seemed like the best place to go photoing, and in particular to photo the annoyingly perfect weather.

Photo 1: The Broadway, taking shape. Photo 2: Millbank Tower, and new south bank apartments beyond. Photo 3: Parliament, The Wheel. Photo 4: looking towards Vauxhall. Photo 8: Central Hall Westminster. Photo 9: Shard.

Photos 5 and 6: Roof clutter, close up.

It’s Photo 7 that is the mystery. I’m going to have to go back up there and check that out. What’s the big tower on the left? What are the towers in the middle? Looks like they’re under construction. Guess, we’re looking towards all the building around Battersea Power Station.

The City – 5 years ago

Horrid weekend, having a cold that I’d postponed on Friday because I had a meeting to host. Sleep shot to hell. Tidying up to be done. So, quota photo time, or so I thought. Inevitably, it got out of hand:

All of that was exactly five years ago, to the day. Having assembled them all, I couldn’t then postpone shoving them up.

There was a Lego Gherkin next to the regular Gherkin. They still thought, or were pretending to think, that they were building the Helter Skelter, which they have now turned into something else, even bigger and a lot duller. Otherwise, it all looked much as it does now.

Tasting the sunshine out east last August

Yes, last summer I went on several exeditions to such places as the Dome, and beyond. Here is a clutch of photos I photoed in the beyond category. On August 11th, I journeyed to the Dome, then took the Dangleway across the River to the Victoria Docks, and walked along the north side of them, ending my wanderings at the City Airport DLR station:

There are two of these favourite sculptures to be seen, in Photo 7 and Photo 11.

There are 35 photos in all. I think maybe my favourite is 33, which includes an advert that says: “OH REALLY?” I like that, for some reason.

Photo 27 has a sign, on the side of the Tate & Lyle factory, saying “TASTE THE SUNSHINE”. It was a very sunny day. I count three that include shadow selfies (23, 24, 31).

It is so much easier doing this kind of thing than it was at The Old Blog. (My thanks yet again to Michael J, who did this new blog for me.)