Posts Tagged ‘Canary Wharf’

Photography Workshop 9th May 2004

Sunday, May 9th, 2021

I hope those who came with me on the workshop I led around a part of London’s Dockland 17 years ago found it stimulating. For me it was a familiar walk, but I think most of the others were seeing the area for the first time. One of the instructions for the workshop some will have found difficult was not to bring a tripod, as these were and are red rags to the security staff who closely patrol the Canary Wharf estate. We had no problems with security on this workshop, though I have had confrontations on other occasions – including being once escorted off the estate.

I think I had been asked to run the workshop for London Independent Photography, though I’m not sure. On My London Diary I put a short text about the event and some pictures that I made during it. I’ve corrected the spelling and capitalisation of the original, otherwise it is exactly as written, probably deliberately in part ungrammatically.

May 9 found me taking a group of photographers for a walk around some parts of London’s docklands. we started at the centre of this ‘crime of the century’. I still don’t quite understand why a Conservative government felt so at odds with the City of London that it decided to set up offshore competition in the Enterprise Zone.

The feeding frenzy that ensued, trousering public property and tax breaks into the private pocket at an unprecedented rate.

The long-term consequence has been a distorted development with few real buildings of distinction but some expensively finished tat, and a lack of overall planning. I’m not sure that London would benefit from gaining the Olympics for which it is currently bidding, but if it fails, probably part of the reason will be the docklands debacle.

We started below the obscene gesture towards the old city, at least clear about its symbolism, then took the DLR down to Crossharbour with its silly bridge, walking back to the wharf and taking the Jubilee to Canning Town. then back alongside the Lea (still waiting for that riverside walkway) to East India Dock Basin and along by the Thames, where a galleon appeared in front of the dome.

My London Diary – May 2004

Docklands has continued to change since 2004, but it remains a largely lost opportunity to develop what had become the redundant area for the benefit of the people as a whole rather than to enrich a few.

Back in 2004 I was still working with my first DSLR, the Nikon D100 for which had recently bought the Sigma 12-24mm lens and on this DX format camera this gave effective focal lengths of 18-36mm. The smaller format also avoids the weaker corners of this extreme wide-angle zoom (I think the first of its type) and within the smaller field it was remarkably distortion-free. There are a few more pictures on My London Diary – including that galleon – some rendered rather dully by the RAW software of the time – I’ve improved the rendering of those included in this post.

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.

More from May Days: 2007

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

A fairly random selection of pictures I like from my coverage of May Day events in London in 2007.

Unusually my photographic day began in Whitehall where a small group of what I described as “the more eccentric elements of middle england” had gathered with a horse-drawn hearse and a dragon to take a coffin draped in a St George’s flag to Downing St, celebrating 300 years of union with Scotland by asking for English devolution. On My London Diary I wrote (and all in lower case):

i never did find out what the barnett formula they were against was, but i’m sure that these were people in favour of warm beer, cricket and morris dancing as well as good manners. st george didn’t look like the type to scare dragons (and the dragon wasn’t either scary or easy to photograph.)

but i’ve never really thought of myself as being very english. like most of the english, most of my family came from somewhere else at some time or other. i only knew one of my four grandparents and i’m not convinced she spoke english, but then she didn’t say much either.

apart from my lack of sporting skills i could have qualified for at least two of our national sides (so perhaps after all i could have played cricket for wales.) if i ever think of myself know as having any kind of cultural identity now (and it’s a very un-english thought) it would be as a londoner. maybe

From there I made my way to Clerkenwell for the annual London May Day march, dominated as usual by large groups from London’s ethnic communities.

Also on the march were trade unionists with their banners and campaigning groups such as ‘Stop The War’. Among other groups you can see in my pictures are Chagos Islanders and Gate Gourmet strikers who were protesting at being betrayed by their union, the T&G W U.

The marchers went on as usual to Trafalgar Square where a man stood with a whistle and a sign to welcome them.

I went on to Canary Wharf, where the Space Hijackers, outnumbered around ten to one by police, were holding their ‘Booted and Suited’ party in Reuters Square

And the day ended with a little police sadism:

A police officer applies a dangerous ‘pain compliance’ hold cutting blood supply to the brain of a man who wasn’t resisting arrest, while another officer forces his hand up behind his back. The man was then put in a police van and driven away. He had apparently ignored a police order to move on.

The whole of the Canary Wharf area is one of those increasing parts of the city which are private fiefdoms, with the public only allowed access to serve the needs of capital as workers or consumers. It has its own security service, but on this occasion only their boss, wearing a suit, was in evidence, coming to talk with protesters and police. It dresses its security officers in uniforms which closely resemble those of police officers, in a way that seems to be an offence under the Police Act 1996. Having invited several hundred police officers to the event I imagine they had decided having the security officers there would be too confusing.

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.

Canary Wharf

Friday, October 4th, 2019

I was going to the opening of an exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands that evening and since it was a nice afternoon decided to leave early and take a walk around Canary Wharf on my way there. And again when I left I took a few pictures on my way to the station.

It’s quite a while since I’ve seriously gone there to take photographs, though occasionally I’ve walked through parts of it on my way elsewhere, taking the Jubilee Line from Waterloo and walking to nearby places or changing to the DLR.

I hadn’t seriously intended to take photographs, but I did have a camera with me, though only the Olympus OMD E5II with a tiny 17mm f2.8 pancake lens – a 34mm equivalent. I’d recently got this secondhand (it seemed so cheap I couldn’t pass it by) and was interested to see how well it performed. It makes the camera almost pocketable.

I read a review which promised high levels of chromatic aberration and barrel distortion, and thought that these would probably not be important for most of my photography. But trying them out at Canary Wharf they might be a problem.

Of course they were not, as you can see from some of these pictures (and the others on My London Diary in the post Canary Wharf. Both are lens faults which software can handle well, and it is hard to find much evidence of either in the results. If I open the RAW files in Photoshop, clicking the ‘Lens Correction’ icon in the Camera Raw dialogue tells me “This raw file contains a built-in lens profile for correcting distortion and chromatic aberration. The profile has already been applied automatically to this image”.

But then I looked at the RAW files, and they seemed fine too, with no hint of barrel distortion and the same small amount of colour fringing, not normally noticeable. I think my viewer software will actually be looking not a the raw data but at a jpeg incorporated into the RAW file, which I think means that any correction needed has been done in the camera. A few clicks on the web and I find that Micro-4/3 images are auto-corrected according to the stored lens profile (lens firmware) and a review on Optical Limits which shows the effect. As they say, barrel distortion “is only rarely noticeable in field conditions.”

The reviews also say the lens isn’t that sharp, at least when viewing large prints, but even examining these pictures at 1:1 on screen the sharpness in both centre and corners seems acceptable. There may be some uses for which it isn’t sharp enough, but I think it’s good enough for most of us. If anything it is the actual file size of the camera (4608×3456 pixels with the EM5II) that will be a problem for really large prints, not the lens.

Canary Wharf

Wapping & the Thames

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

I arrived early for a private celebration of May Day with friends in a Wapping pub and took a short walk along the High St and riverside path, where I sat and ate my lunch sandwiches.

I’d made photographs here in the 1980s, and there were one or two that I’d hoped I would be able to fix the locations more precisely. It wasn’t easy as vitually everything between Wapping High Street and the river has been rebuilt with expensive riverside flats. New Crane Wharf (above) was still recognisable as here the old buildings had been converted.

The Thames sweeps around to the south to go around the Isle of Dogs, and from Wapping you can see Canary Wharf to the North of the River and the gasholder in Rotherhithe to the south – and both appear in photographs to be across the river.

You also see rather too much very pedestrian riverside architecture like the flats above. So little new building on the river bank has any architectural merit, all about maximising profit within the planning restrictions. It’s such a shame that the LDDC didn’t have higher aspirations for its control of the redevelopment of docklands.

Relatively little of the old riverside survives here, and Tunnel Mills and the other buildings at Rotherhithe are one very welcome exception. There are parts of the north bank too where some of the better warehouses have been saved, converted into expensive flats.

It was good also to be able to walk out onto Tunnel Pier, where I met two old friends also taking advantage of the opportunity.

And though the Captain Kidd pub to the left of Phoenix Wharf is relatively modern, dating from the 1880s, like many Sam Smith’s pubs it is a sensitive conversion of an old building, Sun Wharf, which along with Swan Wharf (now renamed Phoenix Wharf) and St John’s F & G Wharf at left were owned or leased by W H J Alexander and Company, who as well as wharfingers dealing in a wide range of goods including coffee, dried fruit, gum and bales of Australian wool, also used these premises to repair their tugs. Swan Wharf I think is the oldest of these buildings, dating from the 1840s and possibly designed by Sidney Smirke.

More pictures at Wapping and the Thames .

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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