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Photography

Category : Urban Landscape

Coast of Light

Some more recent additions to the Coast of Light series, from Andalucia. This is an edit from a set taken in August 2013.

 

Confluence

Confluence - Mutton Brook (left) and Dollis Brook (right), forming River Brent

I have been updating my website over the last month and in particular, have added two new projects. Both of which are long term collections and relate to urban London.

The first is 51° 30′ N / 0° 7′ W, which is the longitude, latitude reference point at Charing Cross. Distances to and from the centre of London are usually measured from here. It is a selection of images and observations made on walks around the city. The current uploads are fairly recent, but this is an ongoing process, as I have film dating back to 1979, my first year as a student.

The second addition is ‘Confluence’. This is a photographic essay of the River Brent and the surrounding environment. Also ongoing, images will be added as I make further walks this year.

Some accompanying notes:

The name ‘Brent’ is apparently derived from Celtic and Old English, meaning ‘sacred waters’, which is rather sad given the river running through areas of West London has long been regarded, by many, as an inconvenience and just in the way. It has been channelled around Brent Cross shopping centre, straightened and contained by the North Circular Road, built over and diverted through a tunnel near Wembley Stadium and generally used as a tip or dump for anything from cars to chemical waste. And it’s only 16 miles long.

The name reflects the Celts’ belief that all rivers (and wells) were sacred. A belief which saw them throw valued items such as swords or shields into them as tributes to spirits. This practice has long disappeared in West London, unless you venerate the humble shopping trolley.

My interest in the Brent started with urban walks along the Grand Union Canal at Brentford, which itself is now part of the river. Some stretches, like this one, are green corridors which are so important for wildlife in cities. Other parts are included in The Dollis Valley Greenwalk, from Barnet to Brent Cross and which connects with the London Loop walk. Over the years some money has been available for work on London’s waterways and much has been done by volunteers, particularly on the canal networks, but a lot more needs to be done.

Although I started taking an interest from an environmental point of view, it dawned on me last summer, as I was photographing along it’s banks, that I have always lived or been near The Brent. As a child I used to fish (illegally) in the pond at Moat Mount, which is apparently the river’s source. My secondary school was next to Silkstream, a tributary. My first choice football team, Edgware Town, was also sited close enough to require balls to be fished out of it’s water. My first car was stolen and dumped by the river behind the football ground and a few years later I was married in St Mary’s Church, Hanwell, which is on a hill overlooking the Brent Valley and the Wharncliffe Viaduct. More recently, The Port of London Authority even pulled me out of the Thames after capsizing a boat near to where the two rivers meet at Brentford. All coincidence I suppose, but there is an affinity.

Leica M6

After my brief flirtation with a Leica M6, a set of test shots taken on a quick walk along the Thames between Chiswick and Kew Bridges last week. These are shop scans put through Lightroom. They have more jpg artifacts than you can shake a stick at, along with a very generous helping of sharpening from the person who scanned them, but they’re ok for reference.

Verdict…would I buy one? I’ll have to flip a very expensive coin on that!

60 minutes – Barry Island, 1980.

Wheels at Barry Island train scrapyard, 1980

Wheels at Barry Island train scrapyard, 1980

 

Typ 3862 locomotive at Barry Island train scrapyard, 1980

Typ 3862 locomotive at Barry Island train scrapyard, 1980

60 minutes – Barry Island, 1980.

I saw a blog post about Barry Island last year. In South Wales, it was home of the largest train scrapyard in the UK. Curiosity led to search through some ancient ring binders containing 35mm slides taken as a student. I found a small set of images from a walk, probably in 1980. This made me 19 years old. Yikes! On the side of one of the trains was a hand painted note, “Do not remove parts – for Plym Valley Railway”. I would love to know if the Plym Valley Railway ever took delivery of this locomotive..and if, in the intervening 32 years, it was ever restored.

60 minutes, 8th December 2012

6 years, 10 months ago environment, film, landscape, Travel, Urban Landscape 0

The first walk I’ve done in a while…..

 

Guerrilla gardener allotments, October 2012

Richard Reynolds, the guerrilla gardener, told me about these plots last year.  I paid several visits to the area at the time, recording the site and surrounding environment. On Friday I took more photographs, looking at the changes over the last 12 months. So a gallery of new images.

 

 

 

60 minutes – 5th August

I’ve been staring at this roll of film on my desk since the beginning of August, which for various reasons, never got processed. As I was working this weekend, I didn’t have time to shoot any new personal material, so it was a good opportunity to pay the local lab a visit. From a walk from Kew Gardens to Ealing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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