Moments of Solitude - In the City of London

After working for 7 days straight, I was beholden for a day off; just me and my Nikon box with a hole in it. I had recently been entertaining the idea of photographing people reading as a personal project. Myself being an avid reader, I find the solitude that comes with it is important, especially in a city like London. 

I started the day slowly, not really finding subjects that interested me; the ones that did I failed to capture. I walked from my home borough of Islington, through Karl Marx's old haunt of Kentish town onwards through the dirty streets of Camden. From there, I traversed through the bland streets around Euston towards the hideous BT tower - it, to me, resembles a shit modern art version of Sauron's Tower from J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

It wasn't until I arrived at Goodge Street tube station that my 'twelve inches' behind the camera started to work.*

It quickly became evident to me that I wasn't just interested in capturing people reading, I was focused on that persons unawareness of the noises and people around them; their solitude amidst the flurrying. 

I soon had a hour of solitude myself in my favourite cafe, nestled between some antique bookshops close to Leicester Square. I drank coffee whilst reading the dense pages of A.J.P Taylor's The Origins of the Second World War. Directly opposite me sat a pretty girl enjoying the same solitude, but instead of reading, she was jotting things down in a colourful notebook; on occasion she stared out of the window. She reminded me of the character Rey from The Force Awakens.

After the second coffee and complicated inter-play of aloof politicians, I left. I made my way to one of the bookshops, it was busy.

My last shot was captured on my tube journey home; a common sight at that time of day during the rush hour. However, the man seemed immersed in the evenings news, so immersed he didn't even notice the camera pointed right at him.

*Taken from the Ansel Adams quote “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!”




Surreal Wandering

Wandering the streets of London in the rain is a joy. It is a city that is full of grimy back alleys and hidden gems. It is a history lesson, but one that you can touch and see; buildings of Tudor, Edwardian, Georgian, Victorian descent meet the Brutalism of the 60's and 70's. 

Then there are the people, mostly tourists - the only ones unworried about the wet weather - enjoying the sights. Street musicians fill public subways with echoed melodies whilst pubs are crammed with raucous punters.

At one particularly surreal point in our wandering we were approached by an interesting double act. A man dressed as Hitler dressed up as Charlie Chaplan had teamed up with a chicken from a horror movie to aggressively demand money from people.  

As the clouds got darker and the street lamps began to light up, the rain fall increased. Sheltered by black umbrellas, tourists still walked, their pace slightly quickened, glimpsing views of the old city. Rain water cascaded from restaurant and pub awnings and warm light spilled onto the wet paths.   

In Old Borough Market, younger revellers drank and smoked in the street. We found a small cocktail bar and sheltered from the rain. With wet feet we drank red wine by the window and watched people walk by. Some, at ease with the bad weather, others rushed past dodging puddles. 

After feeling sufficiently dry, we returned home, leaving the rain to continue cleaning the dirty streets of London.