Tag Archives: east london

Shop Shots

A few shots of 123, a once (illegal) gun factory.

All taken with the wonderful 50mm workhorse.

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Lord Coe Lecture

On Wednesday Lord Sebastian Coe paid a visit to my old university in Mile End, Queen Mary.

For the last four years QM has hosted the Annual Guest Speaker Lecture and this time former athlete, politician and now Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games would speak. ‘The Winning Mind’ was the topic of the afternoon attended by a number of Economics and Finance students. It was an insightful lecture by an extraordinary man.

I was shooting at high ISOs throughout to avoid the unrelenting obnoxiousness of the flash. I am quite sure this reluctance will slap me soon enough.

Lord Coe is greeted by Dr Jon Davis and Elizabeth Price

Meeting the Principal and other university executives

Lord Coe

Principal Simon Gaskell

And the book signing




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An ever so bizarre style

I attended this class last year; life drawing (and photography) with lashings of lemon, fire and lime, silk and sordid sin.

Welcome to The Book Club and Life Drawing Extravaganza – The Seven Deadly Sins.

The efforts exerted on the project concept and the actual expression of it are really quite amazing. Workshop architect Morris, and all those involved, really have excelled themselves. A brilliant and most inspiring – if not slightly alarming – environment had been made available for far less than pint.

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Scratch+Sniff: A Scented Journey around the World

Last week three wonderfully exciting workshops were held at the The Book Club:

Super/Collider Science Fair: Volcanoes!

Scratch+Sniff: A Scented Journey Around the World

Life Drawing Extravaganza – The Seven Deadly Sins

The more relaxing of the three, Scratch+Sniff required only a nose, a chair and and a willingness to travel. All present were, with eyes closed, transported through the wondrous medium of scent to destinations so immediately distant and unfortunately detached.

Odette Toilette and perfumer Angela Flanders hosted the evening.

Odette Toilette and Angela Flanders


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The Barking billboards and photoconceptualism

Never have I been offered such a fantastic opportunity.

But before I begin, I must thank all those who helped. Without your willingness to sacrifice time and expend energy on my behalf, this wouldn’t have worked as well as it did. Many thanks to you all.

In March, I was asked to shoot three billboard images for Barking and Dagenham council. Working in collaboration with Muf architecture, I set about the project with zeal and zest. I had no idea what lay ahead; an extraordinary amount of stress, deliberation and some serious learning curves with gradients to suit.

How brilliant it all was!

Katherine, the lovely artist partner at Muf architecture, met me two weeks before the agreed shoot day. We talked concepts, wishes and hopes. Articulating the concept photographically and producing the project were my responsibilities. These were new duties and ones I had to learn on-the-go. I felt much like a long distance runner learning to sprint short distances – unable to regulate my breathing.

The architects had already redesigned and supervised the construction of an arboretum in Barking town square; there sat also a mock ruin designed by Muf. My job was to provide images for the billboards leading up to the space. The regenerated area sits rather incongruously, set within a stretch of concrete jungle and drab high streets. What it does, however, is set the tone for a newer, remodelled Barking. Whether this is an achievable challenge, I am not to pass judgement. It is, though, with the best intentions, a great project in a once great area of London. Back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Barking was one of the largest fishing ports in England.

The images themselves. Jeff Wall was to be the main photographic inspiration. In 1970s Vancouver, Wall amongst others, pioneered photoconceptualism. He meticulously reconstructed scenes he had witnessed in his day-to-day ramblings, and other images he had imagined initially as concepts. It’s all rather new to me, but immensely exciting and has definitely enhanced my photographic perspectives.

The aim was to use a dystopian bass note, add some optimism and then throw in three pre/post-apocalyptic scenarios for the actors to follow. I wanted the contrived scenes to appear as ‘natural’ as possible. I hoped that I could articulate the scenarios coherently so that the actors could then self-generate the scenes with little guidance and interference – it had to be fluid.

All the actors were tremendous and I was truly impressed by their ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude.

Community, duty, care and re-engagement with the local area were the buzzwords we worked with.

Below are some locations I scouted leading up the shoot. I acted upon Katherine’s advice, and headed up to Hampstead Heath.

We used this backdrop

The Scenarios

The two chosen images, to be split across three billboards

In situ

I appreciate that all that has been written and conveyed may not be all that coherent!

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The Book Club and the birthdays

Welcome back to The Book Club; expect no nudity this time.

The following images were taken over the course of two evenings.



It was his birthday

She enjoyed the camera

The beer was Japanese - and so was she

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Shacklewell Studios

You’ll have to forgive my ignorance here.

The name of the band that this post orbits eludes me. I am searching furiously, but to no present avail. This evening was to be their last proper dinner; tour would begin the following morning – as would the KFCs and ‘fizzy pop’.

The entire Shacklewell Studio complex is really quite good. More particularly, the top-floor Diesel Music space is a hidden gem. Whitewashed rafters and pale blue walls shelter the crowd, and a window-side bar provides the entertainment; the dinner table is an aesthetic-pleasing addition.

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