Just having a camera in your hand immediately makes you open your eyes to the charm and beauty of all situations. But what about our huge cities? Places of frantic activity, traffic, commotion, dirt, pollution and poverty. How do you make beautiful photos? You make photos which truly capture and appreciate the distinct beauty of your city.
I have always loved London. I used to enjoy visiting as a child, despite nearly giving my mother a heart attack with my disconcerting habit of ‘wandering off’ in the middle of crowded tube stations or museums. I used to be so fixated with the people and posters and vehicles that surrounded me, and I still am to this day. Except nowadays, I see all of these things through the viewfinder of my much loved Diana, from the moment I step on the train!
Lomography, for me, is about empirical truths. This camera can not lie. So it can not make London clean, or elegant, or orderly. And neither would I want it to. It is full of hidden places and colourful idylls, and one of my favourite places to visit is the grubby end of the Camden Loch market. If you go in deep enough, through the tourist shops and clothes, under the bridge, and past the cheapest and nicest Chinese food I have ever eaten, you find yourself in the market proper, where you could easily spend days at a time searching through rails of clothes and boxes of strange vintage things.
When I visited recently, I was almost upset to see that some tube platforms have had protective doors fitted in front of the tube doors. From a safety point of view, I’m very glad, but all I could think at the time was; “But they have those in Paris!” Paris is a truly beautiful city full of, as far as I’m concerned, clean and polished monuments, clean and polished pavements, and clean and polished people. London seems so much more authentic, (to my completely biased view!) and it’s slightly dangerous and slightly beautiful tube system reflects the heart of the city
London was the first thing I photographed with my camera (hence the very blurry shot!)
There’s plenty to do in London without having to pay, and once you’ve got a ticket for the tube, you’ve got a free pass to a whole city of entertainment (and relaxation! Clapham Common’s famous ice cream festival costs next to nothing and you get all the free ice cream you can eat!) Hyde Park is one of my favourites, and at Christmas it is transformed into a ‘Winter Wonderland’ – perfect for testing out my new Fisheye lens (and having a go at long exposures!)
Finally, this city, which began as a baby settlement, is full to the brim with people. There is such a diversity of life in London that feeds the city a vibrant and vital culture, full of colour and life.