London in Black and White

London is many things, light and dark. Perhaps nowhere else in England embodies the intersection between chaotic creation and destruction like this monolithic metropolis, that 8.6 million people call home.

There is something foreboding about London; to feel a little intimidated by ‘The Big Smoke’ is a sign of wisdom. The idea of London as the epicentre of historic dominion and oppression remains. You can very much feel the ghost of the terror and darkness that once inhabited the streets; lasting darkness of the kind  immortalised in the poetry of William Blake. And everywhere little reminders lay, like the hopeless inequality which hangs heavy and leaden over this place. I have resisted London, although I cannot deny the cultural weight which is here.

In a city of such enormous contrast and energy, it felt right to take photos in black and white. My close friend William and I packed our bags, and set off into the mass.

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Blackfriars, London
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Covent Garden, London
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Charing Cross, London
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Westminster, London
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Covent Garden, London
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The Mall, London
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William looks out from the Switch House tower. Tate Modern, London
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Victoria Memorial, Green Park, London

December in Black and White

The title is not exactly true. This series was shot all through November, December and January. I worked in black and white because I think that, whereas a colour photograph is often real and immersive, a monochrome frame brings out a distinct otherness. It’s still real, but it is more honest that it is a representation of the real. You can be drawn in, but never get too close, as though a sheen has been drawn across reality.  December represents the end of the year, but also the end of a lot of other things that are important to me. I see it as perfect that I decided long before, unaware, to use this format. December was some kind of full stop, or maybe an ellipsis.

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St Nicholas Market, Bristol (F) Ilford XP2
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Bath Spa University, Newton Park (F) Ilford XP2

 

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Climbing stairs, with Joseph – Bath Spa University, Newton Park (F) Ilford HP5+
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Bath Spa University, Newton Park (F) Ilford XP2
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Terrace Walk, Bath (F) Ilford HP5+
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Cocoa and magazines – Cafe W, Bath (F) Ilford XP2
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Kingsmead Square, Bath (F) Ilford XP2