More Around Mayfair 1987

South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-52-positive_2400

Mayfair is one of my least favourite areas of London, and one where I often felt uncomfortable photographing. And one where I often had to point out to people that the law allows photography in public places including taking pictures of people and private property. But it was an area I felt I had to photograph, and where there is a great wealth of architecture and architectural detail. These pictures are just a few from page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.

South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-53-positive_2400

Many of these buildings will have been photographed many times before, but I think some have been overlooked, and what pictures are available don’t always show them well or in their setting.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-43-positive_2400

As well as buildings, these are also pictures of cityscape, and arguably bad buildings have as much place as good ones in a record of the city. Since I took these pictures there have been changes, both in the city and also so far as images of it are concerned. Around the Millenium, volunteers from the Royal Photographic Society photographed most of our listed buildings for the National Building Record – with very mixed results, but more comprehensively we now can all view the streets though Google’s roving camera – of great use to me for finding the locations where I photographed. But useful though this is, it often does not include the exact view I want to see or which shows the subject best – and certainly never penetrates the alleys and off-street viewpoints of many of my pictures.

Brook St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-46-positive_2400

Excessive wealth seldom seems to come with a great sense of taste, as the shops of Mayfair (and some of its buildings) bear witness. And in one shop window I found a dummy that seemed to me to express the arrogance of wealth so clearly. Of course in some of the art dealers there were paintings and prints which I admired, and I did go into a few of the galleries to see more.

South Audley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-01-positive_2400
Brook St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-34-positive_2400
Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-53-positive_2400
Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-65-positive_2400

There is a long tradition of photographers taking self-portraits, and in one shop window I couldn’t resist giving myself a new head and making the square of the plinth below seeming to be in my hands as a large plate camera. It took a little guesswork to get it right, and ideally I should have been just a few inches closer so that my hair wasn’t visible as a small crescent above the head in the window., but I was surprised to get it as close as I did.

Mount St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5j-55-positive_2400

Nowadays a flip-down screen on the back of the camera would let me line this up without problems. Then I had to look through the viewfinder to try and get myself in the right position, then lower the camer and hope. You can see the reflection of my camera lens and camera in the middle of the plinth, and also the unintended tilt of the image as I failed to keep the camera completely level.

More on page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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