Project #1 – The City of London at Its Quietest (or any other busy urban area you know, for that matter)

Edit – November 2016: Entry’s title changed to reflect the new direction this blog heads for from now on. (Come on! We all are allowed to change now and then, arent’t we?)

Roaming the streets of London, camera hanging from the neck, occasionally snapping the odd street scene, is certainly an experience many a British or cosmopolitan photographer (myself included in this latter group, as I left London for other shores quite some time ago) won’t easily forget:
Brushes with tourists ever avid to make the great capital in a couple of days; your own wondering of where the heck those pickpockets the police sign tells you to beware of,  are actually lurking from at that precise moment; the odd overzealous London cop (bobby) inquiring the heck of you as to your actual purpose (if any) for photographing a certain government building – the list is endless!

But before anything, a little disclaimer of sorts: please, mind you who may not have had the honour/pleasure/heart (your mileage may vary) of visiting the well-known capital of Buckingham Palace, Harrod’s, black cabs and red buses yet (you definitely should!):

The “City of London” referred to in the title of this entry and along its lines, is not London itself, but its very own financial district instead, which is called just that. So, think of The City of London to London, what you’d think of Wall Street to New York. Cappice?

Moving on with the post itself, on my own personal level and keeping to its photographic theme (lure), something I’ve got accustomed to, when it comes to photographing The City, is eagerly awaiting for weekends in order to catch a rather different glimpse of “The Square Mile”, as it’s also known as. Don’t get me wrong: I love getting lost among the bubbling crowds of tourists and execs alike – from Fleet Street to Liverpool Street:
It’s just that, by only sticking to photographing it during those busy hours/days, you might be missing a certain character of that area seldom seen on the average “street photograph”, so as to speak.

So, as I start at this moment pondering over the pros and cons of said habit, I invite you to wait for the weeks to come for the next installments as to why shooting scenes in one of London’s busiest neighbourhoods – but at its quietest time – was by some time, a rather hard-to-break habit of mine.

So, I’ll be naming, on those oncoming entries, the right time, nooks and corners of that adorable concrete jungle which may as well strike the same creative chords in your photography – as I’d like to think it did to mine, back then.


I know, the example above is not exactly a technically-perfect one to illustrate this brief introduction (more serious ones are still to come, promise!) but it does depict that solitude I strive to contrive (haven’t  I just come up the loveliest rhyme?) when being there at the right time (wrong for most) of the day and week. It depicts Carter Lane, at its narrowest alleyway-like part, on a quiet Saturday afternoon.


TECHNICAL BIT (USUALLY SEEN BY PIXEL PEEPERS ONLY!): The film I used for the shot above was the now-defunct (what a surprise!) Kodak Elite 400, pushed to 800 – hence possibly, the low dynamic range (even for slide film) that ended up curbing my attempt at not having a washed out sky – I’d obviously exposed for the shadows, on the handful of frames I shot of this scene (I’d always do exposure bracketing with my Canon 50e – even though that camera’s light meter is a notoriously outstanding one). Nonetheless, I think it conveys the theme I’ve been on about in the last few lines.

More on that later! Continue reading