Posts Tagged ‘b/w’

More 1987 – Mainly Soho

Saturday, July 25th, 2020
Camden Town Cemetery, St Martin's Gardens, Camden St, Camden, 1987 87-1k-46_2400
Camden Town Cemetery, St Martin’s Gardens, Camden St, Camden, 1987

The slow process of putting up my old black and white pictures is continuing, thanks to the lockdown leaving the time on my hands. Although I’m going out of the house for exercise, that only occupies around 50 minutes of the day – and perhaps another half hour to recover.

This picture of the piled up gravestones in Camden Town Cemetery was taken in January and is one of the last from that month I’ve put on line. Although I’ve always liked to wander in cemeteries, often the only real places of peace and quiet in cities, and often good places to rest and eat my sandwiches, I’ve generally tried hard to avoid taking too many pictures in them unless there is a very strong reason to do so.

Partly because as a teacher of photography I saw far too many pictures by students of gravestones and monuments. They were easy to photograph, didn’t move much or complain about being photographed and supposedly said something profound about the human condition. At the in-house moderation of student photography coursework from across the country it was never long before I or another assistant examiner would be exclaiming “Not another sodding angel!”.

Wardour St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2f-55-positive_2400
Wardour St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

In February I turned my attention to Soho, where photography was not always welcomed, though I didn’t intend to emphasise its more sordid aspects. It was one of London’s most varied and interesting areas, and remains so despite the ravages of property developers and Westminster Council.

But I didn’t avoid photographing the frontages offering ‘Intimate Bed Show – No Extras‘ though I didn’t go inside and photographed them in the early mornings when there were few touts or barkers around and any workers who might have occupied them were at home in their own beds. Nor did I meet the ‘Very Sexy Busty Brunette Model‘ whose notice was by a door in D’Arblay St, not even to make my excuses and leave.

Shop WIndow, Berwick St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2f-46-positive_2400

But Soho was remarkable for the variety of shops, a place were almost everything was on sale – and sometimes it was difficult to know exactly what was on offer.

Butterfly, Upper James St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2g-14-positive_2400
Butterfly, Upper James St, Soho, Westminster, 1987

There is still a clothes shop on the corner of Upper James St and Beak St, but it is now larger and more corporate, with a bland plate glass frontage, and Butterfly proved to be as ephemeral as its name suggests. Many other Soho businesses were longer lasting, and Randall & Aubin, late Morin and Cavereau remains in place on Brewer St, though many of the older continental businesses have now gone.

Randall & Aubin, Charcuterie, Brewer St, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2e-62-positive_2400

If you look through my pictures of Soho from 1987 you will find some showing the increasing Chinese presence in the area, including one of a crowd watching the New Year celebrations, but far less than in my later pictures of the area.

Charles II, Cibber, Soho Square, Soho, Westminster, 1987 87-2e-24-positive_2400
Charles II, Soho Square, Soho, Westminster, 1987

Soho Square still looked much the same when I was last there a few months before the lockdown, though I do wonder if Cibber’s statue of Charles II looks rather more worn now. Though we may now regret the restoration of the monarchy and feel that the puritanical excesses of the Commonwealth would better have been ended without bringing back a king the so-called ‘Merry Monarch’ does sound in some respects an improvement on our present royal house. And a king with no legitimate children who acknowledged at least a dozen by various mistresses is perhaps a suitable character to be remembered in Soho.

Haverstock Hill, Chalk Farm, Camden, 1987 87-1a-12_2400
More at 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.


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.


London 1980 (14)

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

The 14th and last of the series of posts of selected black and white pictures I made in 1980 with the comments I posted more recently daily on Facebook. Larger versions of the pictures are now available on Flickr.

Apologies for some earlier posts in this series that were titled as London 1990 – and I hope I have now corrected all these. It will be a little while before I have caught up with my work from 1990! This is the final post of pictures that I made in London in 1980.


Playground, Battersea. 1980
26r-24: spaceship, playground power station, bridge,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26r-24.htm

Behind the spaceship in a childrens’ playground are the four in-line chimneys of Fulham Power Station, decommissioned in 1978 and one of the first power stations that the CEGB was made redundant and sold for redevelopment. The demolition in the early 1980s became controversial over the safety of the removal of around 1,000 tons of asbestos by the new owners. Because of this the government announced that the CEGB would strip asbestos before selling power stations in future.

The Regent on the River apartments that replaced the power station in the 1980s supposedly were designed to reflect the architecture of the power station.

I carefully framed the word ‘FLOATING’ underneath the spaceship, thinking of it floating in space. I think this was a floating dry dock. At left you can see a small part of the Battersea Rail Bridge, now used by London Overground services between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction, then I think solely a goods line. I’m fairly sure the playground where I took this is now underneath a large block of riverside flats, Groveside Court on Lombard Rd, though some open space remains a little further north in Vicarage Gardens.


Roundabout, Wandsworth. 1980
26r-41:roundabout,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26r-41.htm

Another picture of the inside of the roundabout which was completed around 1972 and has appeared on record covers as well as being used as a film location – famously where Alex and his droogs beat up a singing drunk in Kubrick’s adaption of A Clockwork Orange. I have no idea why someone has painted Van Gogh on the railings -the Serbian rock group of that name was only founded six years later, but perhaps there may have been an earlier more local manifestation. And the National Front have been here too. There is a sinister look to this structure and doorway, and though I have no idea what is inside this concrete structure, it could well be a torture chamber.

The roundabout now has a rather odd metal structure on it, the ‘Atom’ monument, with two circular metal rings holding up a box with advertising screens for JCDecaux. If – as the firm who erected it claim – the adverts on it attract a great deal of driver attention, then they clearly decrease road safety at this critical junction. I can find no evidence for a local rumour that famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer had any part in its design. Wandsworth Council includes the structure on its list of works of art in the borough.


Roundabout, Wandsworth. 1980
26r-42: roundabout, storage tanks

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26r-42.htm

This view from a higher level path inside Wandsworth roundabout shows some of its surroundings more clearly, including the storage tanks which I think were for Charrington’s Fuel Oils next to the river on the south bank immediately downstream of the bridge; incorporated in 1895, the company was dissolved in 1995. Charrington’s began in 1731 and was acquired in 1997 as a part of CPL Distribution Ltd, a company bought out by management from the British Coal Corporation in 1995. Charrington’s were one of the largest UK fuel oil distributors and also had a wharf downstream on Blackwall Way in E14, developed by Ballymore in 2002.

Also visible, on the other side of the river is Fulham Power Station, with its row of four chimneys.


Roundabout, Wandsworth. 1980
26r-43: roundabout, subway

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26r-43.htm

The final picture from the roundabout in 1980 shows a single figure walking in a concrete waste, walking away from one of the four underpasses which led to the central area. It emphasizes the modernist geometry of the construction and the sense of alienation the environment creates, something which has rather softened over the years as more vegetation has grown since it was built in 1969.

More recently it has been considerably tidied up with re-turfing and minor alterations which might prevent the flooding of the underpasses and with the intention of better maintenance, including a contract for the grass to be cut six times a year, though it remains to be seen how long this will last.


St Agnes Place, Kennington. 1980
26s-31: house, rastafarian

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26s-31.htm

Houses in St Agnes Place were occupied by squatters from 1969 and survived Lambeth Council’s eviction attempt in 1977, which made the national news and eventually led to the fall of the then Conservative council.

Many of the occupants were Rastafari, as in this house, with its painted symbols and the message ‘ISRAEL: LIVE’ above the window. Many of the squatted properties were kept in good order, and the residents paid utility bills etc and for some years were a part of a housing co-op.

Some other properties were derelict and in a poor state, and the house on the left is boarded up.


St Agnes Place, Kennington. 1980
26s-32: house, rastafarian, fire damage, derelict,

Although No 22 looks in good condition and occupied, the house at right has been gutted by fire.

We walked through here fairly often when visiting friends who lived in Key House, just across the main road from here on the other side of the park, but I didn’t often stop to take photographs. We came to Kennington Park next to St Agnes Place for our children to play and sometimes took a little walk around.


St Agnes Place, Kennington. 1980
26s-42: house, graffiti, fence,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26s42.htm

Graffiti on the end of a house I think once read ‘LOVE IS GOD’ but the G has been painted over to convert it to an O. But I don’t think OOD makes any sense. To its left is ‘angelo Rule’.

There are more graffiti on a wall across the road, including ‘LEGALISE FREEDOM?’ and a rather faded ‘DON’T PANIC’.

The fence has clearly seen better days.


St Agnes Place, Kennington. 1980
26s-43: house, graffiti

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26s-43.htm

St Agnes Place in 1980 began here, and the previous image was was taken in what was then Bolton Crescent looking towards St Agnes Place, but is now St Agnes Place. I had walked closer to photograph the wall with its graffiti ‘LEGALISE FREEDOM?’ and ‘DON’T PANIC!’.

There had previously been just one more house at the left of the picture which has been demolished, along with another building at an angle on the turn of the street. The doors leaning against the wall on both sides of the blocked up door probably came from this. Next to ‘Legalise Freedom?’ and rather smaller is the message ‘Ban The SPG’. The Special Patrol Group, a Met Police unit for dealing with public disorder and who the previous year had murdered Blair Peach at an Anti-Nazi League protest in Southall. They were found to have been using a number of unauthorised weapons, including a sledge-hammer and a crowbar. They were replaced in 1987 by the Territorial Support Group (TSG), though many think little was changed except the name.


St Agnes Place, Kennington. 1980
26s-44: house, graffiti

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26s-44.htm

Going a little closer still I photographed ‘DON’T PANIC!’ on its own, head on.

I think that some earlier graffiti had been painted out on this wall, and that this and the ‘LEGALISE FREEDOM?’ out of picture at the left had been painted on top of this, with the painter having a little problem squeezing the IC in at the end of the word before adding the oversize exclamation mark with some relief.


St Agnes Place, Kennington. 1980
26s-54: house, graffiti, park, flats

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26s-54.htm

The flats seen across the playing field are on the Brandon Estate in Hillingdon Rd and Meadcroft Rd, and include Prescott House, Cruden House, Bateman House, Walters House and Cornish House, built in 1958 by the London County Council. Many of the early residents were delighted; they had been moved in more or less a whole street at a time and kept their community spirit in flats built to much higher standards than the slums that were demolished, a community-based approach that has been abandoned to allow private developers to profit from estate demolition.

20 Years later the estate had gone down-hill, partly because of bad management and the removal of caretakers, but mainly because council housing became a service for problem families rather than a more general approach to providing rented properties at a fair price.

This part of the street was still Bolton Crescent when I took the picture, but St Agnes Place now extends further south.


This is the final post in the series of selected images that I made in London in 1980. You can now see all the pictures (and a few more) at a larger size and with the descriptions here on Flickr.


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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


London 1980 (13)

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

The 13th of the series of posts of selected black and white pictures I made in 1980 with the comments I posted more recently daily on Facebook. Larger versions of the pictures are now available on Flickr.


LIFE, Waterloo Station. 1980
26a-12: stairs, graffiti

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26a-12.htm

I used often to walk past this scrawled message on my way into Waterloo Station, though I can’t remember exactly where it was, but these stairs are long since demolished or hidden away from the public. The area was dimly lit and I think I photographed it on several occasions before getting a satisfactory result.

There was a certain desperation about the lettering which looked as if it had been made quickly by someone who dipped a hand into white paint to make these marks. And I pondered on what message was intended, as I stopped to photograph it in the rather dim light.


Albert Memorial, Kensington. 1980
26i-62: monument, girls

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26i-62.htm

Back in 1980 on my way to the Serpentine Galley I stopped to look at the Albert Memorial, then open to the public in much the same way at Nelson’s column still is, with tourists and their children climbing on the lower levels to have their photographs taken with the sculptures at its four corners and surrounding it.

As I was photographing a group of four girls came and climbed up on the low ledge to put their hands on the figures of the great artists – including Masaccio, Raphael, Michael Angelo and others – along the base of the memorial. This was the second of two frames I took of them.


Chelsea Bridge, Chelsea. 1980
2l-55: power station, bridge, runners, people

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26l-55.htm

In December 1980 it was my turn to organise the month’s photographic outing for the small group of photographers I was involved in. Somehow my plan for a walk from Victoria to Battersea and Wandworth lacked appeal and I was the only person who turned up for it.

Taken with the Leitz 35mm f1.4 Summilux, the large circular flare patch is something of an enigma. I think it likely that the lens was well-stopped down, since I was working on ISO400 film (Ilford XP1) and the negative is quite underexposed. The low December sun has resulted in long shadows and a dramatic image, with Battersea Power Station and the people in near silhouette.

The sun was just out of picture at top right, and this negative was virtually unprintable in the darkroom


Chelsea Bridge, Chelsea. 1980
26l-56: power station, bridge,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26l-56.htm

Another picture from almost the same place, but without people and with different flare. As well as a couple of large ellipses there are also some rather vague ‘rays’ and a small black spot… The specks in the sky are birds.

One of Battersea Power Stations four chimneys was hidden behind a part of the bridge in the previous picture, but here we can see it clearly with smoke emerging. The western half of the power station was closed in 1975, but the eastern half, where smoke is emerging from the rear chimney remained in operation until 1983.

Earlier in 1980 the whole power station had been listed Grade II as there were grave concerns for the future of the building. Unfortunately listing failed to save more than the shell of the building and its roof was removed in the late 1980s. Various development schemes fell through and the building was left to rot. The listing was revised to Grade II* in 2007, and the redevelopment of the whole area began in 2012.

The four chimneys were removed by the Malaysian-owned developers in 2014 because they were heavily corroded, but have now been replaced by near identical replicas. The power station development is due for completion in 2019, providing 254 homes along with offices and retail space, with the whole 42 acre redevelopment being completed by 2025. It is part of the huge 561 acres Nine Elms development – almost 0.9 square miles.


Swan Matches, Victoria. 1980
26l-63: advert, building, street,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26l-63.htm

The Lost Property office was on Eccleston Bridge, on the corner of Bridge Place; the building is still there but the Swan Vestas advert has long been painted over and the building passed to other uses.

The foreground wall and the office building in the background are still there though the offices have been slightly updated.


Roundabout, Wandsworth. 1980
26p-32: roundabout, storage tanks,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26p-32.htm

I pass this roundabout every time I take the train into Waterloo. It was the location where Alex and his Droogs attack a tramp in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The roundabout links Trinity Road with Wandsworth Bridge.

Back in 1980 all of the riverside around here was industrial. NF graffiti were common over London. I think the tilt in this picture was deliberate, perhaps to increase a sense of unease in the scene.


Fence with NF graffiti, Wandsworth. 1980
26r-21 fence graffiti, worker

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/26r-21.htm

Some effort has been made to make the corrugated iron fencing more attractive by painting it in two colours. I can’t read the flyposted notices, which do appear to have a radioactive hazard symbol on them but the National Front graffiti is clear and was unfortunately common across London at this time.

I’m not sure exactly where this was taken, although the wall behind the fence is fairly distinctive, as are the steeple and flats at right. It was probably on or close to Vicarage Crescent or Lombard Rd.


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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.