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Monday, 26 November 2012

London calling....

It's not every day that I get into "town", as they say but you know, every now and again it's good to get a dose of city lights, just to get a different perspective on life. I found myself in London for a couple of days earlier this month, visiting art and photography galleries; a work related visit, I might add.


I generally avoid cities. They don't suit me. I grew up in a busy town - Brighton - only, what, 30 minutes from the city by train? I miss-spent plenty of my teenage days and nights at gigs  and stuff like that, so I know the score. And I don't like it. After a long day on the streets I have an over-whelming need to find green spaces and some quiet. I could never live in a city again.

But I do recognise the vibrancy and energy that a city like London has. Wandering the streets, galleries and museums with my camera in hand, I found pictures jumping out at me at every turn and round every corner. Because everything is new and different and therefore exciting and stimulating, I found my creative batteries fast-charging and I started getting excited about shooting pictures - any pictures - just because this was different from my every-day experience of living in a rural community on the edge of a National Park.

I walked along the South Bank, along the embankment towards Tate Modern from the Millennium Bridge. I guess this is bit like Paris' Right Bank, the home of the art's community in the city. Everything here is worth shooting. I'm no Bresson' street shooter, believe me but even I couldn't miss, along here. The point of all this of course, is "change". Going somewhere totally out of your normal, everyday experience sounds like it's got to be a healthy, invigorating exercise and sure enough, there I was, the world's most anti-city photographer, just lapping up all this stuff. I don't know if my pictures are any good but I definitely returned more energised to go out and shoot with a new eye. Try it for yourself -it  might help.

Footnote: After battling around Tate Modern (interesting in places, dull in others),  The Barbican Centre (inspiring and surprising), the V&A (whooaa - need at least a week!), the Photographers Gallery (disappointingly small) and the National Portrait Gallery (spent too long in the bar and only saw one room!) - I needed some green space and little bit of quiet, so I headed for Hyde Park. Eventually found myself standing outside the Royal Geographic Society's grand edifice. I saw the the best photography exhibition of the trip in their little walk-in gallery. Just goes to show you - it's the little, surprising discoveries but you have to go out and stumble upon them.