Tuesday, 21 December 2010
An iconic landmark as you enter London along the A4 The Ark has always fascinated me. Built in the early ’90’s it has recently had it’s interior completely redesigned by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson. These images show the new interior that enhance the original design of the building.
The end of the year and I finally get to see the short film that I helped research and film for a local education charity Worldwrite, who tirelessly campaign for global equality. This short film tells the tale of the Battle of Cable Street. A mural still marks the spot where the East End locals fought against the police to stop the fascist movement under Oswald Moseley marching through the East End in the 1930’s.
One of the things I enjoy most about my job is walking into an interesting and well designed space and looking forward to how I will translate it into imagery for the client. In October I was asked to do the marketing shots for the brand new wine bar, just off Oxford Circus, called Dego. A great new space that has a cool and relaxed vibe together with friendly staff and great Italian food. My images help to reinforce that vibe and will no doubt aid in pulling in the clients.
Not as I first thought something to do with the film industry, but the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences, which is located at 10 and 11 Carlton Terrace.
Beautiful buildings designed by John Nash, who also designed Buckingham Palace, The Royal Pavilion and Marble Arch. Number 11 is the former residence of William Gladstone and is being totally refurbished to it’s original beauty. I was lucky enough to photograph the buildings for their future marketing purposes.
A long drive north was well worth the opportunity to photograph the redevelopment of the now famous Park Hill Estate in Sheffield for a feature in Building Magazine. Built in the ’60’s and heavily inspired by Le Corbusiers ‘Unité d’ Habitation’ it featured such innovations as “streets in the sky” large walkways intended to replicate the community feel of streets on the ground.
What was a roaring success when it was first built become a haven of social problems by the 1980’s leaving many wanting the place demolished. Despite this the buildings were given grade 2 listed status and now form the largest listed building in Europe.
Currently in the process of redevelopment by Urban Splash with Hawkins Brown as the main architects the estate forms an interesting place to photograph. Split into three distinct phases it shows great contrast. The bright modern redevelopment with it’s multicoloured facades, the totally deserted and derelict part awaiting redevelopment and on the far side the beautifully kept and still lived in part which shows how it was originally intended to be. Parts of the estate were also used as locations for scenes in the recent Shane Meadows TV drama This is England ’86.
It’s been a while since I updated the blog, due mainly to the volume of work I’ve been undertaking. However in July I took a much needed break and travelled around Croatia visiting Dubrovnik, Split and many of the idyllic islands in between. A country of contrasts, it seems like just yesterday that I watched the bombs reigning down on Dubrovnik destroying what was once a beautiful city. Today if it wasn’t for the museums to remind you of what happened you would never believe it as you walk around the peaceful, vibrant and almost too picture perfect country. The only sense of any conflict is when you travel through the only part of the coast still in Bosnian control and see the huge warships sitting menacingly in the bay!
Friday, 4 June 2010
Working late one night at the O2 in Greenwich, I came out to be confronted by the setting sun hitting Foreign Office Architects new building for Ravensbourne College. A cool and interesting building covered in tiles inspired by gothic rose windows and flower patterns interpreted as an abstract mathematical construction. Too good an opportunity to bypass I got the camera out and took a couple of quick shots. A fitting location for a digital media and design college with seven different shaped windows created using only three tile shapes. To my eye the building reminds me somehow of Gaudi and his work in Barcelona. I’d love the opportunity to spend more time photographing the building properly once all the hoardings are down and be the photographer responsible for all the marketing shots.
This month I was lucky enough to photograph Renzo Piano’s first finished UK building, Central St Giles, located directly behind New Oxford Street in the shadow of Richard Seifert’s Centre Point and opposite the historic Angel pub and Henry Flitcroft’s Palladian church on St Giles High Street in Central London. Built on the site of an old MOD office block, the new building is incredibly bright, multi-coloured and designed to rejuvenate an area that previous had only two contributions to popular culture, leprosy and alcoholism. In 1101, Queen Matilda founded a leper hospital and colony at St Giles, causing a social stigma that plagued the area for centuries. The term “off the wagon” meaning someone returning to drinking was coined when the condemned on their way from Newgate Prison to be hung at the Tyburn Tree were allowed off their prison wagon for a last beer at the Angel Pub and William Hogarth’s famous engraving Gin Lane depicting a drunken mother in the squalor of an 18th century London slum was also set there.
After such a chequered history Central St Giles couldn’t be more different, the external facade of the building is broken up into 13 vertical colour-coded panels. The idea being to break up what would otherwise be a very large and boring mass by creating fragments rather than a single whole. This idea has defined many of Piano’s large buildings including the Shard, whose very name is derived from the vast sheets of glass that are to be overlaid onto its surface.
Each coloured panel consists of 134,000 prefabricated glazed terracotta tiles hung, by an internal chassis carrier system, as a decorative veneer. The tiles are incredibly durable and are expected to retain their bold colours forever. The colours themselves were chosen from hundreds of options to work well with each other but also with the local buildings and trees. A full-size panel mock-up was erected on site to test the colours before the final six were chosen.
The building was a joy to photograph being beautifully detailed with Piano’s trademark fluency and precision. The external colour scheme and tiles are also echoed inside. The rear wall of the entrance lobby, lift doors, handrails and even the lift displays are colour co-ordinated. The building might not be to everyones taste, but after photographing and studying it extensively I find it amazing.
Needing to access the roof of Centre Point for another commission and managing to charm our way to the very top I found myself on a small walkway just behind the huge Centre Point lettering at the top. Not the most secure location and with the wind blowing us around, my heart was certainly in my mouth, but the opportunity to get shots from this height don’t come along every day. The easiest way to handle the ordeal was to focus 100% on the camera and the shots. I have to say I was glad to get down, but once down wanted to go straight back up!
As much as I love London, sometimes I need to go for a long drive and get away, clear the head and see something different. Dungerness is certainly different and about as far removed from the centre of London as you can get. An endless shingle beach lined with derelict beach sheds and quaint wooden cottages are all overlooked by the ever imposing nuclear power station. Guglielmo Marconi, best known as the ‘man who invented radio, used a structure on the beach for research and development in the transmitting of radio signals – and in 1899 he became the first person to send a message across the English Channel.
The most famous resident was the author Derek Jarman who built the black tarred timber Prospect Cottage which has raised wooden text on one side taken from the John Donne’s poem, The Sun Rising. The shingle cottage-garden famous in it’s own right has been the subject of many books and photographs. An interesting house and well worth a visit. Dungerness is a popular location for photo shoots and tv programmes, the light and scenery are amazing, but a visit to Dungerness wouldn’t be complete without a fish and chip lunch in the Britannia pub.
There are few things are as visually impressive as a full on Hells Angels funeral and judging by the numbers present at this one, the deceased was a beloved and highly respected member of the original UK chapter, issued in 1969 in London’s East End. Charger who died in an accident on the A1 on his way to a party had been a member for 38 years. Clearly a popular man attracting mourners from all over the world to show their respects. RIP Charger.
Friday, 9 April 2010
Another interesting and eventful weekend.
After completing my first every 5 mile running race I went straight off too a commission photographing the O2 whilst suspended from a bungee crane 200 ft above their car park.
Despite my legs being a little wobbly, it was Interesting to see the place from such a great perspective as the cage span and swung around and around! It is still an amazing structure, and one of my favourite buildings in London. Anthony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud so in keeping with the whole site sits on the rivers edge.
Immediately afterwards I had to photograph the crowd at a Peter Gabriel concert. The client wanted crazy hedonism, but unfortunately no one told the audience who sat in quiet reverence throughout.
On the upside, as I negotiated my way past the layers of security and pass requirements I saw that they are using one of my images to welcome guests to the venue. I just love to see my work presented loud and proud.
Sunday I took my daughter around Hoxton in search of street art for her school project, and was luckily enough to bump into some interesting people, one of who showed us around Cordy House, an amazing building packed full of art by the most prominent street artists around. A huge thank you to Garfield for pumping my daughter with so much enthusiasm. His site can be seen at http://mutatebritain.wordpress.com/ I nicked the images above from his site, it's of my favourite piece, a 3d piece by Chu, totally breathtaking when you see it in real life,
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
As part of an on going plan to exhibit more of my personal work, I submitted a set of images to the Association of Photographers print sales collection. Thrilled to have 5 pieces selected, the exhibition started with a private view on the 11th March. Surrounded by clients and close friends the night went really well and my work was very well received. The only downside... due to a very important shoot the following day I had to avoid the alcohol and ended up drinking a very weird soft drink. The exhibition runs until the 31st March and my pieces are scattered randomly around the gallery.
One of the huge benefits of doing this job is the places you go see and the interesting people you meet along the way. Another commission for Building Magazine saw me photographing the brand new Park Plaza Hotel, just to the south of Westminster Bridge. Occupying the centre of a notoriously ugly roundabout that contained a building once voted one of Britain’s ugliest, the new hotel couldn’t be more different. The road has been re-routed and the hotel is modern, stylish, beautifully thought through and a photographers dream. My escort for the day was Lisa Maxen from the construction arm of Park Plaza, Gear Construction. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of the project were both amazing and totally contagious. Having tea with her and the architect I quickly realized what a feat of engineering it really is. With a V-shaped atrium giving many rooms a view over Westminster Bridge and a huge column free ballroom underground, the construction methods used were vitally important. More complex than I fully understand, they incorporated the use of a vierendeel truss from the 2nd to 13th floor and cantilevering the building over the road by 7m to give more space. What I did find really interesting as I stared at it in disbelief, is that due to large full height atrium the building is effectively two structures held together by a post-tensioned slab at level 13. A belt, without which the building would just peel apart!!
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
The year has started off well, with some great jobs and a large number of quote requests, many from the USA.
This month saw me photographing the work of a good friend and great interior designer Charlotte Moorley of MRD-London. Their latest interior at Berenberg Bank occupies space in a newly built office block on London’s Threadneedle Street, designed by architects Eric Parry. The space MRD created compliments the office block brilliantly, adding well to what is already an interesting space, giving the offices a cool atmosphere and their own personality . The new offices have a clean and dynamic styling, are full of amazing features and furniture, whilst the view from every window is just breathtaking.