I haven’t been getting out much lately, so am instead exploring my photo-archives.
These from March 24th 2012, when I journeyed (and not for the first time) out east to the Victoria Docks, in the vicinity of the then-under-construction Emirates Air-Line, which is that strange ski lift that goes across the River:
As you can see, I especially like the cranes. And the barbed wire. There were even pylons to be seen. Best of all is that newish (-ish now) footbridge.
I used to love that place, and especially then, with all manner of new stuff going on. Memo to self: go back and see how things there have changed. Because, they have surely changed quite a lot.
And this could be the biggest change of the lot. Apparently, spurred on by TikTok, people have recently been riding on the ski lift in large numbers. There’s a first.
I am awaiting warmer weather, in the hope that I will then feel up to taking a photo-walkabout, somewhere in London town.
Meanwhile here are some photos from a walkabout I did, walking (about) from the Angel Tube to the Barbican, as late sunshine was replaced by early moonshine, back in April of 2016:
The final photo there is of how a stretch of Oxford Circus Tube was looking on that day.
The lady seen smiling through a window of reflections (photo 10) is the then only very recently (March 31st 2016) deceased Zaha Hadid (as you can maybe guess from photo 11). This was the lady whose buildings only had straight lines in them at all because people will insist that the floors they walk about on and work on are mostly flat rather than curving up and down. Clients eh? Philistines the lot of them. ZHA has (or had in 2016) a building in Goswell Road, and I walked right past it that day, and also had a nose around in it. I remember being surprised, because I had no idea this place even existed.
See also the photo of another portrait picture, this time of actor Charles Dance, which I photoed on this very same walkabout.
Chaos! Modern Art, only for real! I think it’s a coffee place of some kind,, or maybe a hairdo place that also sells coffee. There are a couple of Brian Micklethwaits in there, reflected in the window, and in a mirror behind the window. (I photo myself instead of photoing strangers.)
And, there’s this building …:
… which used to be the Office for National Statistics, until that enterprise moved to South Wales. Since then, I don’t know who has been occupying it. Some even spookier government enterprise or enterprises is my guess. Somehow it doesn’t look like the sort of building that would make regular people very welcome. Too much like a Modernistical version of a medieval fortress. It looks like the sort of building with occupants who think that they might one day have to defend themselves against angry mobs.
However, today I embarked upon transferring a posting from back in March 2014 entitled “Keeping up appearances”, only to discover that it had already been transferred. It featured a rather excellent photo that I photoed in Oxford Street:
What this tells you is that architectural modernism has utterly conquered indoors, but that out of doors, modernism is only popular because its totalitarian impulses have been held at bay, by what you might call ancientism.
Well, somewhat held at bay. Modernism still has a fight on its hands.
But it would appear that the idea of “ancientism”, which I think is useful, was only then occurring to me, what with me then calling it “what you might call ancientism”, rather than just ancientism.
Somewhere on that bucket list of things I want to write for Samizdata before I die is something pulling together all my thoughts and discoveries about Modernist and Ancientist architecture, battle between, etc.. Something tells me that if I do ever manage this, the above photo may get yet another showing.
A while back, I showed photos of The Broadway being built, which, because of the weather, looked like black-and-white photos. Here is that same Broadway last Wednesday, nearer to being completed, in sunshine, and therefore in colour:
Photo 1 is the first view of these new towers that I get when I walk along Regency Street and look towards Victoria Street. In that photo, and in photo 4, we clearly see those coffins, which I first mentioned here way back in July, near the bottom of one of these towers. Now, there are also coffins at the top of that same tower. Odd choice.
Photo 5 shows the games that light plays with the big sign facing Victoria Street. “A dynamic new residential quarter redefining …” what? I probably have other photos in my archive telling me what, but frankly, I don’t care and would be amazed if any of you did either. In photo 5, which is a detail of the same scene, you can see through this sign that 55 Broadway will, in you stand in the right spots in Victoria Street, be visible from there. Good. That’s not what happened when New Scotland Yard was in this same spot. The fake photo here shows this gap in The Broadway very clearly.
Photo 7 shows that the other two towers on either side of the coffin tower will sport a slightly different, although closely related, decorative plumage. Too thin to be coffins.
Photo 9: cranes. And in photo 9, I am looking back up Victoria Street from the other side of Parliament Square, at the same cranes, which look pleasingly tumultuous, I think. I really hope that the era of such tumultuous crane clusters is not about to end. Or, to put it another way: I wonder if these apartments will sell at anything resembling a profit?
As I spend less time accummulating photos and more time contemplating the ones I have, I more and more see that. for me, light is everything. Photography is, I find myself telling myself more and more often, light. For me, bad light equals bad photography, the sort of photography that involves lots of pressing of things like the “sharpen” button in my not-Photoshop programme. Good light presses that button for me.
October 21st 2018 was a good light day. In the days after it I did several postings based on photos I photoed that day. I did my favourite ever photo of Centre Point that day. I photoed how very blue the blue sky was that day. I photoed Bartok. I photoed Chinese lanterns. I photoed Compton.
I spent some of October 21st 2018 in the area around and to the north of Centre Point:
One of those photos, number 22 (of 25), requires a bit of an explanation. I like to photo the BT Tower. And I like to photo the reflection of the BT Tower in the big building at the top end of Tottenham Court Road. That photo is one of the few times I managed to photo both these things at the same time.
I think my favourite of the above photos may be number 2. Scaffolding, lit in a way that makes it, I think, downright magical. I also particularly like number 3, where you see both a reflection and a shadow, of the same pointy building.
If your are inclined towards enjoying such things, then enjoy. Click click click. It needn’t take you long.
Here are two signs that go rather too well together for comfort, I think you’ll agree:
And I bet I’m not the only one to have noticed, as I did in May 2017. The photos I photoed just before that and just after that were both moderately close-ups of the Walkie-Talkie, which gives you a rough idea of where this was.