Posts Tagged ‘1987’

1987 Fitzrovia and around

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020
Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, Camden, 1987 87-2q-24-positive_2400
Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, Camden, 1987

I think I had an appointment to see a man who worked for a well-known architect’s firm with plush offices in Fitzroy Square. It was such a different atmosphere from my own workplace, at the time in a sixth-form college. I was offered coffee and a secretary brought it, filter coffee in a cup with a saucer on a tray with biscuits, cream and tinted sugar crystals. When I had visitors at work they got instant served by me from a kettle in the corner of a dingy shared office and if they wanted milk it was powdered granules. Sugar would come in a screwed up bag and if they were lucky I’d find a spoon to stir it, otherwise they might be offered a cleanish spatula or even a pencil. We had a BBC computer with a small green screen in one corner, there I walked past more computers, large graphics tablets and oversize screens than I’ve ever seen in the same building before. It was the first time I’d really seen how things were where the real money was.

The coffee was good, the talk interesting, but I don’t think I sold any of my photographs.

Fish Stall, Goodge Place, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-2r-65-positive_2400
Fish Stall, Goodge Place, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

It was only a fairly short meeting, and I had time to walk around the area before and after – and to cut my costs I’d got a train to Charing Cross and walked from there rather than use the Underground. So there are some pictures from Covent Garden and St Giles as well as Fitzrovia.

There are still stalls in Goodge Place, but not I think any dealing in basic foods such as fish, but all selling fast food for lunches for those who work in the area.

H Wolfin, Textiles, Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-2r-46-positive_2400
H Wolfin, Textiles, Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

This shop is still there, but rather than selling fabrics in large rolls to the trade now sells children’s clothes and baby presents to tourists and others, with delivery around the world. H Wolfin is still in business but elsewhere in Greater London, now was Wolfin Textiles in Hatch End, Pinner, and their web site states:

Originally known as Wolfin and Levy, Wolfin Textiles has been established for over 100 years and began in 1900 as an independent family-owned textiles shop in London’s Old Street. Specialising in fabrics for the theatre, film, interior and fashion industries, Wolfin and Levy moved to London’s West End in 1972, before finally relocating to Greater London in 1999 as Wolfin Textiles. Today we continue to hold onto the family ethos of offering the finest quality fabrics and real customer service. We pride ourselves on being able to offer wholesale prices for everyone, with no minimum order.

https://www.wolfintextiles.co.uk
St Charles Borromeo, Church, Ogle St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-2r-24-positive_2400
St Charles Borromeo, Church, Ogle St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

St Charles Borromeo in Ogle St is one of London’s stranger church buildings, a small Grade II listed Roman Catholic Church in what is described as a simple but “muscular” Gothic. Charles Borromeo was a 16th century Italian cardinal who took an active role in the counter-Reformation and is best known to Protestants for his ruthless suppression in the Swiss valleys; during a pastoral visit to one of them in 1583 he arrested 150 people including the provost, who, along with 11 women was condemned to be burnt alive for witchcraft.

According to Wikipedia, one biographer described him as “an austere, dedicated, humorless and uncompromising personality” and his uncompromising implementation of reforms “brought him into conflict with secular leaders, priests, and even the Pope.” After his death in 1584 he was rapidly venerated, particularly in Milan where he had been archbishop since 1564, and was made a saint in 1610.

Centre Point, St Giles, Camden, 1987 87-2q-66-positive_2400
Centre Point, St Giles, Camden, 1987

The building of Centre Point, designed by architect Richard Seifert, began in 1963 at the start of ‘Swinging London’ and the building, described as London’s first ‘Pop Art Buildings’ has always been controversial – as was its listing in 1995. Completed in 1966 it was then one of London’s tallest buildings and still dominates the area, its 34 floors reaching to 385 ft (117m).

Centre Point stood empty, apart from a brief occupation by squatters to draw attention to its being deliberately left empty during a housing crisis in London in 1974, for nine years until 1975. In 2015-8 the building was converted to residential use with 82 apartments, their interiors designed by  Conran & Partners. The cheapest was on sale in 2017 for £1,825,000 but the owners apparently denied that these were luxury flats.

More on page 3 of my 1987 London Photos.

Brixton Feb 1987

Monday, August 3rd, 2020
Celestial Church of Christ, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-11-positive_2400
Celestial Church of Christ, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

Friends and others I showed pictures to at the time or talked about my work with often expressed surprise at some of the areas of London I went to when taking photographs. They saw places like Brixton as crime-ridden and dangerous and wondered that I felt safe, particularly as I was walking around the streets carrying a bag with expensive equipment worth thousands of pounds on my shoulder.

Beds, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-23-positive_2400
Beds, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

I did think a little about it myself and even once attended a training session – the only man in a group of women – about keeping safe on city streets. But the only times I ever really felt threatened were not in the kind of areas that some reacted with horror to, but in lonelier parts of the plusher suburbs.

Furniture, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-25-positive_2400
Furniture, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton Lambeth, 1987

I felt more at home in the many working-class areas of London than in the West End or City, and certainly dressed in a way that fitted in more there. I tried hard to be aware of my surroundings and not to behave in ways that drew attention to myself. And I think I was reasonably street-wise, keeping calm and confident, looking as if I knew what I was doing and where I was going and being aware of others. There were a few times when I decided against going down a particular street or alley, or crossed the street to avoid possible trouble. Because I needed the light I always worked during the day time, when all areas are safer.

White goods, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-36-positive_2400
White goods, Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

Of course taking photographs does make you stand out, but mostly people just ignored me. A few would stop and talk, and I tried to explain why I was taking a picture, though I think they mostly thought I was mad but harmless. Some people thought I must be from the council – or the newspapers, and occasionally people – particularly children – would insist I took there picture. Of course I did.

Flats, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-41-positive_2400
Flats, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987
Burroughs, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987 87-2p-64-positive_2400
Burroughs, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Lambeth, 1987

‘Burroughs’ closed as an Eel and Pie shop in the 1990s, but remains as a restaurant. Its shop-front had been replaced by something flat and bland but was recreated a few years ago, and it now serves Japanese soul food rather than cockney.

There are a few more pictures from this area in February 1987 in the album 1987 London Photos.

1987: More Soho

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020
Dance shop, Charing Cross Rd, Soho, 1987 787-2k-41-positive_2400
Dance shop, Charing Cross Rd, Soho, 1987

It’s always difficult to know where London’s districts begin and end, and sometimes it is rather a matter of personal opinion. There are some definite boundaries – postal districts and borough boundaries – though these seldom coincide with our perception of place, and most people – unless they actually live there are unaware that in central London you may be in Camden or Westminster etc. The City is a little more obvious, with its borders on some main streets clearly marked, but who would know when crossing the Charing Cross Road you might move from Westminster into Camden.

Poland St,  Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2j-64-positive_2400
Poland St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Names too change with the years. Fitzrovia for example only began to be used in the late 1930s, and other older area names are now seldom used. Building tube stations led to many of their names being used for areas which previously went under other names, and estate agents are notorious for promoting properties into nearby more salubrious areas – or inventing new area names, often by adding the word “village” to an existing name.

Never Park Here, Falconberg Mews, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2j-23-positive_2400
Never Park Here, Falconberg Mews, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Soho is perhaps one of the more clearly defined of all London areas, though some might quibble slightly at Googles definition, clearly bounded by major roads – Oxford St, Regent St, Shaftesbury Ave and Charing Cross Road. Many of us would also include Chinatown in its ambit, perhaps going south down Haymarket as far as Orange St to include Leicester Square. And perhaps some of the fringes just across Oxford St might qualify…

Carnaby St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2i-21-positive_2400
Carnaby St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

On the streets themselves, the more modern street names – since the mid 1960s – include the borough name, but many London streets have proudly retained their older signs, sometimes with a postal district (though sometimes the earlier version.)

Taylors Buttons, Silver Place, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2h-35-positive_2400
Taylors Buttons, Silver Place, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Like all things, Soho is defined by what it isn’t. It isn’t Mayfair or Fizrovia or Bloomsbury or St Giles or Covent Garden or Westminster (the area not the Borough – which all or almost all of it is inside) or St James. And it’s not just a matter of geography, but also of character.

Walker's Court, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2h-25-positive_2400
Walker’s Court, Soho, Westminster, 1987

And it was that character which was uppermost in my mind as I made these pictures.

You can see more of them on page 2 of my Flickr 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.


1987 Holborn

Saturday, August 1st, 2020
Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-2m-46-positive_2400
Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987

After Bedford Park I turned my attention to Holborn, including the area around the Royal Courts of Justice where there are shops catering for legal necessities as well as premises meeting more general needs.

Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-2m-32-positive_2400
Urinal, Star Yard, Holborn, Camden, 1987

The urinal is still in-situ but I think is permanently closed. Just along the street is a Wetherspoons which serves the same purpose. It’s actually one of their more pleasant locations and I’ve several times enjoyed a quick lunch there. The food may only be so-so, (though there are a few things they do quite well) but the service is fast and the price very reasonable for London. Of course they treat the staff badly, but so do most pubs, and if things get back to anything like normal I’ll follow the union advice and not boycott them but refuse to cross any picket line.

Lincolns Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 198787-2m-26-positive_2400
Lincolns Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 1987

Lincolns Inn fields has plenty of fine architecture and also London’s most intriguing museum, founded by Sir John Soane. Currently closed it hopes to open on October 1st, but with pre-booked timed tickets only. If you’ve never visited I’d advise you to book as soon as you can. You can get some idea of the museum through yhe amazing digital online https://www.soane.org/explore Explore Soane, but the real thing is rather more satisfying. Because of the space limitations in the museum bags have to be left at the door.

Connock & Lockie, New Oxford St, Camden, 1987 87-2l-63-positive_2400
Connock & Lockie, New Oxford St, Camden, 1987

I can do no better than quote from the company’s web site:

A centenarian business

Connock and Lockie was established by cousins William Henry Connock and John Lockie in 1902 on 60 New Oxford Street. Over the years, we have relocated several times and settled at our current address, 33 Lamb’s Conduit Street, in 2004. Throughout our 110 years of trading, we have proudly catered to the bespoke tailoring needs of discerning ladies and gentlemen.

http://connockandlockie.com
Warwick House,Great Russell St, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-2l-43-positive_2400
107-110 Great Russell Street,

‘Luxury hotel development, Completion 1987’ it states on the notice on the front of this building, and although in February 1987 when I made this picture it seemed unlikely, this is now the Cheshire Hotel, in London terms a budget hotel, with rooms around £70 per night. Quite why it changed its name from the Warwick Hotel to the Cheshire I don’t know, and the plain entrance has changed to a more pretentious one with four columns.

Space House, CAA House, Kemble St, WIld St, Holborn, Camden, 1987 Space House, CAA House, Kemble St, WIld St, Holborn, Camden, 198787-2l-15-positive_2400
Space House, CAA House, Kemble St, WIld St, Holborn, Camden, 1987

Grade II listed Space House was a speculative office development built 1964-8 by George Marsh of Richard Seifert & Partners for the developer Harry Hyams. It was technically innovative, using a precast concrete grid for rapid construction without the use of scaffolding, and remains visually arresting. As the listing text says, it’s assertive styling reflects “the confidence and dynamism associated with the period.”

This building and the connected building on Kingsway were to be vacated at the end of last year and ‘revamped’ for commercial letting.

Flitcroft St, St Giles, Camden, 1987 87-2k-66-positive_2400
Flitcroft St, St Giles, Camden, 1987

This bas-relief is above the old entrance gateway to St. Giles’s Church Yard where a bas-relief of The Resurrection was placed in 1687. It is a plaster copy of the original which is inside the church. The gateway was originally around the corner in the St Giles High St, but rebuilt in 1800 incorporating the old bas-relief and then moved to Flitcroft St in 1865. Flitcroft St gets its name from Henry Flitcroft who was the architect of the church, built in 1733.

The carving was originally in oak, and the carver, a man called Love was paid £27 for his work. The 1800 gate included a stone recreation of the work, now in plaster.

I occasionally used a photographic lab in Flitcroft St, which produced remarkable Cibachrome prints using a laser scanning technique on the transparencies which gave them an unbeatable contrast and clarity. They were also rather expensive!

You can find more from Holborn in 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.


Feb 1987 Camden, London

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Saddler, Monmouth St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987 87-2c-13-positive_2400
Saddler, Monmouth St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987

This building is a part of a comprehensive redevelopment of the area, the Comyn Ching triangle, by the Terry Farrell Partnership which took place from 1983-1991, retaining the facades with rebuilt or restored shopfronts. This part of the Grade II listed terrace at 65-71 Monmouth St was only rebuilt in the third and final phase of development which began around two years after I made this picture. The lettering ‘B. FLEGG/ ESTd.1847/ SADDLER & HARNESS MAKER/ LARGE/ STOCK /OF/ SECONDHAND SADDLERY & HARNESS/ HORSE/ CLOTHING/18, with the name B. FLEGG applied diagonally to each side’ was then painstakingly restored.

Though sometimes referred to as a ‘ghost sign’, like many others it should more correctly be called a ‘resurrected sign’.

Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987 87-2b-54-positive_2400
Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987

One of the minor themes in my work at this time concerned the urban tree. London is a city with a great many of them, notably those London Planes, a hybrid of American sycamore and Oriental plane which first appeared by cross-pollination of these two introduced species in the Lambeth garden of London’s best known plantsman, John Tradescant the younger, who named it after the city around the middle of the 17th century. It has been widely grown in streets and parks across the city since the late 18th century.

I think these trees in their regimented rows are probably flowering cherries though probably some with greater aboreal knowledge will correct me. But this was a militarised forest that rather made me shudder. The planting was apparently designed to stop students playing football in the area. It hasn’t lasted and there is now a green area here – though some of the trees in it may be these same specimens, and there are still a couple of large brutalist concrete boxes around a couple of groups of trees.

UCL Institute of Education, Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987 87-2b-43-positive_2400
UCL Institute of Education, Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987

And in the background of the previous image was one of my favourite brutalist buildings, with a playfulness by Denys Lasdun’s that is perhaps more exiting than his National Theatre. It was a part of a larger plan, never completed and much opposed at the time, though in the end it was only a lack of money that really stopped the destruction of more of the area and the building on the open areas such as the ‘garden’ above.

Phoenix Cafe, Chalton St, Somers Town, Camden, 1987 87-2a-64-positive_2400

The Ossulston Estate in Somers Town, close to Euston Station was a remarkable council estate built by the London County Council in 1927-31, taking inspiration from modernist public housing which the LCC’s Chief Architect G Topham Forrest had visited in Vienna. The 7-storey housing blocks are behind a low wall of shop units along Chalton St, of which the Phoenix Cafe was one. Some of these units are still in use as shops, though not this one.

The 310 flats were built to high standards for the time and the development also included The Cock Tavern  – all are now listed. Some of the estate has been extensively refurbished.

St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, 1987  87-2a-25-positive_2400
St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, 1987

One of my favourite church exteriors in London is that of St Pancras (New) Church in Euston Rd, built in 1819–22 in Greek Revival style to the designs of William Inwood and his son Henry William Inwood. Perhaps its most remarkable feature are these caryatids, who look to me pretty fed up, perhaps unsurprisingly as they have a stone roof sitting on their heads. They are above the entrance to the burial vault and hold symbols suitable to this position, empty jugs and torches which have gone out.

Mahatma Gandhi, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, Camden, 1987  87-2b-01-positive_2400

A short distance away in Tavistock Square is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, 1869 – 1948, who studied not far away at UCL in 1888. The powerful likeness is by Fredda Brilliant and the site for it was chosen by V K Krishna Menon who was a member of the Theosophical Society and for some years a St Pancras Councillor before being made High Commissioner for India in the UK. The memorial was erected for the 125 anniversary of his birth and unveiled by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Most years for some time I have visited Tavistock Square each August for the annual remembrance on Hiroshima day around the Hiroshima Cherry tree a short distance from this statue. The square also contains a memorial to the victims of the 2005 bombing here, the Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone, a memorial and bust of surgeon Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake (1865 –1925) and a bust of Virginia Woolf.

More pictures on Flickr in the album 1987 London Photos.


January 1987 continued

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Regents Canal, Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987 87-1c-22_2400
Regents Canal, Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987

think I had a good month taking pictures in January 1987. I always liked the winter months for photographing places, although the weather wasn’t always kind. But London is a city of many trees, and though they enhance it greatly they also obscure many views. And I do like the way you can see the structure of the trees after they have shed their leaves for the winter, though perhaps they are at their best in spring as they begin to sprout again.

Most of the month I was in Camden, and walked a little beside the Regent’s Canal as it goes through Primrose Hill. There were just a few boats moving – the canals were less busy back then. I’ve always had an interest in the canals in London – and this year was to have exhibited a set of panoramas to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Regent’s Canal, officially opened in August 1820. You can read more about that show which had to be abandoned in an earlier post here, and the set of pictures I took in preparation for it are – including the one from Camden below – are on Flickr.

Regents Canal 2020: Camden High St13-20190308-d0708
Regent’s Canal, Camden, 2019 – from ‘Regents Canal 200’
Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987 87-1c-51_2400
Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987

One of my favourite portraits is Bill Brandt’s 1963 photograph of a rather morose Francis Bacon looking out of the left of the frame at twilight in front of a lamp post on Primrose Hill. Of course my picture is nothing like his, an empty path and rather more naturalistic, but I think it captures something of the atmosphere of the place which attracted Brandt and made him choose it as a suitable stage for his picture.

Sir John Soane, memorial, Old St Pancras Burial Ground, Pancras Rd, Camden, 1987 87-1d-15_2400
Sir John Soane memorial, Old St Pancras Burial Ground, Pancras Rd, Camden

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a leading British architect working in a neo-Classical style. Although prolific, many of his buildings have been demolished or, like the Bank of England, greatly remodelled, though his three London churches, St Peter’s Walworth, Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone and St John, Bethnal Green remain, as does the Dulwich picture gallery and work at various stately homes.

His family tomb in the Old St Pancras churchyard, designed the year after his wife’s death in 1815 is perhaps the most clear example of his work, and is said to be the inspiration behind Giles Gilbert Scott’s red telephone box, made in 1924 shortly after Scott had been made a trustee of the Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields – possibly London’s best and certainly one of its quirkiest museums.

Fence, Grafton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1h-14_2400
Fence, Grafton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I made several exposures of this short alley in Gospel Oak, beside a tall fence partly covered by dead creeping plants. and with a rectangular block behind. Fortunately fairly early on a Sunday morning in January there were few passers-by to doubt my sanity and I didn’t have to wait long for the passageway to be empty.

The barriers, the fence and the building each define planes with rectangular blocks at different angles – with both creeper and clear space roughly defining rectangles at an angle, and through that space the rectangle of the building seemed to me to match that of the barrier on the footpath.

Gilden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1g-46_2400
Gilden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

You could furnish a home from the street in front of this shop selling (and buying) “All types of Old & Modern Furniture” and of course many did. We still use the chairs we carried home from a shop like this, and a few other pieces of furniture, though we had our own photographs of ancestors for the wall rather than buy those on display.

But other things too attracted me about this display as well as the neat rows of chairs, the mattresses and the gas cookers. There was the antique lamp post in the middle of the display at right, and, above the door, presumably from an earlier use, the advertisement in lieu of a shop name ‘WEIGHTS Cigarettes… For More Pleasure.”

Hockey, St Leonard's Square, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1i-46_2400
Hockey, St Leonard’s Square, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

Two house bricks stand as a goal for these boys playing roller hockey on quad skates in a cul-de-sac in Kentish Town. I think it was a sport I had not met before – and those hockey sticks were made in the USSR.

Hockey Players, Holmes Rd, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1j-41_2400
Hockey Players, Holmes Rd, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

A short walk away I came across another group of hockey players, standing with large sports bags and hockey sticks next to a mural showing roller hockey players on the wall of a skate shop. Their bags and sticks say ‘CANADIEN’ . I can’t remember now what they told me, and whether or not they were Canadian.


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.

Beginning 1987

Monday, July 6th, 2020
Forge Place, Malden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1a-46_2400
Forge Place, Malden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

I’ve just begun to add black and white pictures from 1987 to a new album in Flickr, and am rediscovering quite a few pictures I had forgotten, including most of those in this post, all from the January pages of my filing sheets.

Eros, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, 1987 87-1a-55_2400
Eros, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, 1986-7

Probably that means they were taken in January 1987, though a film I loaded into the camera in December might not be finished until the following month, and I suspect that the picture of Piccadilly Circus with boarding around Eros was probably made before Christmas. Some statues get regularly boarded up.

Window with cross, Mansfield Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-35_2400
Mansfield Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I’d been waiting to start this album for a few months, as I’d got fed up with using my film scanner (too slow and now with an unreliable Firewire interface), my flat bed scanner (not quite sharp enough) and a bellows and macro lens on a Nikon D810 where I couldn’t quite get even lighting across the frame. The Nikon film holder that comes with the bellows works with mounted slides which crop the frame, but try as I might I couldn’t get even lighting across the full 35mm frame.

Dove, Southampton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-46_2400
Dove, Southampton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

While it was fast and easy to photograph negatives, every one needed to be worked on in Lightroom and Photoshop to try and correct the lighting fall off, and I couldn’t find a way to do so automatically. I experimented with different light sources and made some slight improvements, but couldn’t solve the issue.

Stairs, Malden Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1b-52_2400
Stairs, Malden Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I decided to buy Nikon’s more recent kit for digitising images, the ES-2, and ordered one in early March, but dealers were out of stock and I only received it a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, although not perfect, it is a great improvement in several ways. The ES-2 connects to the front of the 60mm macro lens with a short tube, and one advantage is that unlike the bellows it retains auto-focus. With the bellows I had to focus in live-view at the start of each session and then firmly lock it it place, remembering to exit live-view as this crops the image.

Generations, Geoffrey Harris, sculpture, Maitland Park Villas, Kentish Town, Camden 87-1b-62_2400
Generations, Geoffrey Harris, sculpture, Maitland Park Villas, Kentish Town, Camden 1987

But the main advantage is that the ES-2 is almost capable of giving even coverage across the whole 35mm frame and has a proper negative holder which takes a strip of up to 6 negatives, with click-stops to move from one to the next. It isn’t perfect and seems ridiculously overpriced but it is a great improvement, making the digitising of negatives easier and faster. For the moment I’m concentrating on black and white, but I think it should also make working with colour negatives much easier, and the workflow I’m using to batch process the files (more about that in a later post) should also work with them. Most images just need minor tweaks and fortunately most of my negatives from 1987 are quite clean.

Most of these pictures speak for themselves, though perhaps I should admit that the ‘cross’ is the shadow of a parking sign. You can see these and more in 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.