A London Walk

I've lived in London for around six years now, and when you live in a place, even one as vibrant and exciting as the capital, it's easy to take things for granted, thinking 'Oh it'll always be there', and we often find that we put off going out in favour of day-to-day mundane tasks. So, the other day my boyfriend and I went for a walk through the city and played at being tourists for the day! It's lovely to take the time to really appreciate the wonderful city we live in, and experience aspects of London that we don't often get the chance to see.

Capturing London Culture on Camera

So, despite the rain and wind, we packed up our cameras, and head off into the big city. We got off the train at London Bridge, and wandered through Borough Market before winding our way through the little back streets that run behind the Southbank, heading roughly in the direction of Waterloo, but without any particular destination in mind.


Borough Market

I don't get the opportunity to play with my (boyfriend's) camera that often, as we both have very busy schedules, and it's rare that we get a whole day off together. When we do we're usually catching up with things like food shopping or sorting out the washing. Over the summer, he started teaching me basic photography, and it's something I have found that I enjoy.

Seen along the Southbank

One of the aspects of Culture in London that I enjoy is that it is often found in random places - as we were winding our way through the little streets behind the main Southbank walk, the gentleman above was hiding beneath a bridge playing a flame-throwing tuba in front of a psychedelic graffiti of Shakespeare. It is the sense that around every corner there may be something to see.

'One Two Three Swing!' Superflex ** 'Violins Violence Silence' Bruce Nauman

As we walked along the Southbank the rain started to get a bit much for me to handle without getting grumpy, so we sought refuge in the Tate Modern. As I've previously discussed there is much about Modern Art that I don't really engage with, however the more I've tried, the more I can appreciate it, even if I still don't understand the point of a lot of it! My boyfriend was just happy to be out of the rain!

The Tate Modern is a former power station, situated on the South side of the River Thames, roughly opposite the Millennium Bridge (the one that the Dementors destroyed in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) and within walking distance of Blackfriars Station. It still retains many of the features of its past incarnation, such as the iconic central chimney, and the oil tanks which have been converted into galleries to house immersive installations. 

'Yellow versus Purple' Olafur Eliasson

Staircase ** Strip (921-6) Gerhard Richter

'Little Ballerina' Degas ** 'Ishi's Light' Anish Kapoor

Hiding from the rain in Tate Modern

One thing that really struck me in the Tate was the presence of 'Little Ballerina' by Degas. This is one of my favourite sculptures, and I was surprised and delighted to see her. The statuette was greeted with disgust when first exhibited, and, at the time, was at the pinnacle of new techniques and styles of representation. However, Degas is now considered a classic artist - at what point does Modern Art become 'classic'? This little ballerina was modern when she first arrived, but what does she represent now?

I really appreciate that many of the galleries in London are free to enter (indeed, Tate Modern's central Turbine Hall has previously been called 'the largest creche in London, as families are drawn to the open indoor space, especially now there are swings installed!) In the future I'm intending to bear this in mind a little more, so that whenever I have an hour to spare I can seek out a nearby creative space to explore.

Southbank Centre at Night

As dusk fell we found ourselves watching the skateboarders in the Southbank Centre's undercroft: for over forty years the Brutalist concrete architecture of the Centre's foundations have provided a perfect space for skaters, skateboarders and BMX bikers, and is referred to as 'the birthplace of British skateboarding'. After being threatened by potential development work, in 2016 the campaign group Long Live Southbank succeeded in preserving the space, and the Southbank Centre recently unveiled plans to restore and expand the space as part of recognising the site's importance in British skateboarding history.

This year I'd like to do more photography, and expand the range of subjects. I'm particularly interested in street and life photography, and these were my first few attempts at capturing light and movement on the Southbank.

We did spend the evening in London as well, but I'll write about that in my next blog...


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