Category Archives: architecture

Question Perceptions…. again

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See my previous post HERE for my motivation for subverting how we are trained to perceive reality. This style of photography which combines filter, shallow depths of field and the strong sunlight is done in camera (mostly!).

The image below I dismissed at fist for being way too surreal – then I released that was why I liked it. Its a photograph through a very thick red filter of the afternoon sun above some steps up a cliff face in Normandy. The metal handrails catching the light which seem to direct you to the source of all being.

stairway sunset. 2015, 5 x 4 digital file

Drifting en route

According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the boundary between the ‘world out there’ and our own subjective consciousness are blurred. When physicists look at atoms or particles of light, what they see depends on how they have set up their experiment. This concept comforted me recently when I was crammed into a train at rush hour, as I found solace in questioning my perception.  This concept also motivated this image I recently took. Whilst not being a traditionally perceived version of reality  – it is a version of reality all the same. Its unconventional (yet relevant) aesthetic perhaps highlighting these lofty scientific theories?

en route. 2015, 35mm digital file

But where does this leave us then? What’s the point of anything if we real by human measure? John Lennon wrote “Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream, it is not dying, it is not dying”. That’ll do for me.

Cirque de la Quirk Portraits

Molly McQueen and Jackie Jibbles portraits

Molly McQueen and Jackie Jibbles portraits

I was asked to shoot portraits and document the performers at Cirque de la Quirk last Friday night. It’s the latest project from the delectable Molly McQueen, formally of noughties band The Faders. Her vision is to create a cabaret party brand that can traverse the festival circuit. There was definitely something of the festival atmosphere as the heady crowd (elaborately dressed in steam punk and burlesque couture) were bedazzled by magicians, dance-offs, hoop-girls and (yes of course) live DJ sets.

Wolfgang Guy Geuth portrait

Wolfgang Guy Geuth portrait

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Rob Voodoo portrait

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Party girls portrait

This fine event took place at the strangely named club/bar “The Stillery” in Camden Town. The word “stillery” is a fictional one and a bizarre name for a club space although arguably not quite at silly as its former name of “WKDs” which, in all fairness, really was a bit of a dive. (Remember being forced to go there due to the limited late night options for one last whiskey and coke?) What makes the name even more questionable is the fact that it suggests a distillation process has taken place on the premises at some point in its history. Given that it’s part of the monstrous Sainsbury’s development that opened in 1988 I can safely say that any notion that it was once a distillery is a self-perpetuated myth. Incidentally, the man responsible for this architectural blotch on the Camden landscape is Nicholas Grimshaw (the architect not the smug faced DJ) who I happen to know resides in the area. I hope he weeps each time he pops out for bread and milk…. *fade out rant, fade in thumping techno*

Angkor Rouge

Angkor is a region of Cambodia that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. Its subsequent rapid decline has been hypothesised to be due to natural disasters such as disease (Bubonic Plague), earthquakes, inundations and drastic climate changes.

Angkor fell further into disrepair under the Khmer Rouge and for some years afterward organised thieves stole hundreds of priceless sculptures and carvings. Through use of antiquated techniques, filters and digital processing, I produced this series as an interpretation of that period of degradation while expressing wider insinuations to the effects of the Khmer Rouge regime as a whole.

 

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angkor rouge
angkor rouge (5)
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This series has also been published on flickr HERE along with a selection of my other travel photography.

Oliver Harris portrait

oliharrisfinal

I took this portrait of Oliver Harris recently. Oli is halfway through writing a series of detective novels. The first two which are available from Vintage are set mostly around London. The novels hinge around the experiences of the self-destructive genius Detective Nick Belsey of Hampstead CID. Read more about him and his work HERE

I wanted to capture Oli in an urban London setting – the elevation was important to denote his over-riding perspective and the living room setting highlights the mental journey of the author (or indeed the reader) as imagination kicks in.

Kings Cross revisited in metal

I was employed to photograph a architectural model made by Pipers Modelmakers. Its testament to the architectural importance of the Kings Cross site that this model seems consistently recommissioned to them in one form or another. Pipers are on new ground here working in a variety of metals. Furthermore the red and the gold are the same metals – the red just being slightly decayed. Its a welcome break from the digital tsumani that engulfs us all.

King’s Cross is changing…

I mean it. It’s a shadow of the place I knew (and feared) growing up in London North. The derelict castle which previously resembled Dracula’s town house is now the 5 star St Pancras Hotel and the shady forecourt of Kings Cross Station has traded drugs and desperation for aspiration and aperitifs. Well done town planners – way to regenerate (or simply push the unattractive social underbelly out of the eye-line of this international hub).

The work is not yet complete, however. There are fine people drawing fine plans, getting funding and making models for the rest of the site which sprawls northwards past the canal towards Brecknock. And that’s where I come in – employed to photograph some of the architectural models for the area built by the skilled craftsmen of Pipers Modelmakers. This is a small selection of images from a recent shoot I did for them.

Clive Anderson portrait at RIBA

I was asked to cover the English PEN fundraising quiz at the extraordinarily beautiful RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) last week. The night was deftly hosted by presenter, author and former barrister, Clive Anderson. It was star-studded night, bringing together the great and the good of the London’s media and literary worlds. Mr. Anderson did sterling work with an exuberant crowd. I took his portrait at the end of what was a very long night – I think he projects an air of being simultaneously satisfied yet exhausted.

Clive Anderson portrait

Clive Anderson in reflective mood

RIBA

RIBA

Tense competition saw the Daily Telegraph’s team take pole position by just one point, ahead of teams from The Guardian/Observer and The Literary Review, which tied in second place. A team from the London Book Fair secured third place. Other teams taking part included: Agile Agents, Bob&Co, Suzie Boyt, Black’s Club, Bloomberg, Canongate, Carter Ruck, Amanda Craig, Daily Telegraph, Faber & Faber, The Guardian/Observer, HarperCollins, Orion, The Times, Little, Brown, The Literary Review, London Book Fair, Press Complaints Commission, Random House Penguin, Political Quarterly, The Financial Times, and Isabel Wolff.

Conference

Conference

Inspiring Armitage and Heaney

On Sunday night I was covering an event at the Tricycle theatre where the two poets Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage selected 10 pieces of writing – verse or prose – that had inspired them. They were on stage introducing each piece which were then delivered by the actors Charles Dance and Jenny Jules. The event was a one off fund raser for English PEN, called Inspirations, and was sold out weeks ago.

It was a tricky gig for me as, unlike production photography, this was covering a live performance (instead of the dress rehearsal): subtlety was the order of the day although that is easier said than done. I was keen to get a least one charismatic image of Seamus Heaney – a veteran poet whose works I admire. Its always tricky to photograph live performance and actually enjoy the work but I did get a kick out of the extract of the Beckett play, Waiting for Godot. Just a few lines reinforces the fact that life is tragically futile yet the gentle simplicity of the writing somehow suggests that reason is restored.

 

Seamus Heaney and Jenny Jules portrait

Heaney enthralls

Seamus Heaney, Jenny Jules, Charles dance and Simon Armitage

Seamus Heaney, Jenny Jules, Charles dance and Simon Armitage present

Full house at the Tricycle Theatre

Full house at the Tricycle Theatre

Sameer Rahim covered it nicely for the Telegraph. They also used my photograph HERE

BAOBAB POWER!

This is Andrew Hunt and Nick Salter, the co-founders of a recently launched company called Aduna. Dedicated to providing the world with extraordinary African plants like the baobab, Aduna now supplies these fruits to a variety of UK stores. Their produce is sourced with close interaction with the small scale producers in Africa. Did someone say Fair Trade? These guys are the sequel to that tired mantra.

Aduna portrait

Aduna co-founder portrait

I first got involved with Aduna through this portrait I took for them last month. Since then they asked me to take some pics at their launch party at Shaka Zulu in the stables in Camden Town. Shaka Zulu is a massive South African bar and restaurant which is massively over the top (even the ceiling is a wood carving!) but somehow done with a bit of dignity. Aduna launched last week to a glam crowd. The baobab pina colada’s flowed freely long into the night. Check the party out – zulu style…