Posts Tagged ‘shop windows’

More Around Mayfair 1987

Saturday, September 5th, 2020
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.


TQ30 Covent Garden

Friday, June 5th, 2020
Legs, Great Queen St, Covent Garden, Camden, 1987TQ3081-017

Continuing the one kilometre wide strip of London TQ30 north from Westminster leads to Covent Garden, which by the time I took these pictures around 1989 had already become a tourist Mecca. The market had closed and moved to Nine Elms a dozen years earlier in 1974 and many trendy businesses had moved into the area.

Cactus, Entrance, Russell St, Covent Garden, 1991 TQ3081-042

Among them were many clubs and eateries joining those that there already in an area of theatres and of course the Opera House. Opposite that was Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, still in business (it closed in 2006), one of London’s best-known legal landmarks, where many famous and infamous had come to trial.

Young Dancer, Enzo Plazzotta, Broad Court, Covent Garden, 1991 TQ3081-041

Just to its north is a wide alley, Broad Court, with a fine row of red telephone boxes and a statue of a young dancer, though I’m not sure why facing the Opera House was thought to be an appropriate position for her.

Elvis, Great Queen St Holborn, 1991 TQ3081-043

Elvis was not far away, in Great Queen St. It was had to tell from many of the shop windows exactly what business they were in, but one of the strangest was in Betterton St – The Albanian Shop, where you could buy the thoughts and probably a bust of ‘The Iron Fist of Albania’ and which doubled as ‘The Gramophone Exchange’. It is alas no longer with us.

Albanian Shop, Betterton Street, Covent Garden, 1991 TQ3081-052

Doubtless there is still much of interest in Covent Garden, if in normal times you can see any of it for the hordes of tourists. It’s an area of London I now tend to avoid, but back then was always an interesting and often surreal experience.

Gloves, shop window, Judd St, St Pancras,1986 TQ3082-015

More pictures mainly on the second page of TQ30 London Cross-section.


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.


1986 Complete – Page 2

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
Varden St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5d-11_2400

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the second of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Fashion St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4r-16_2400

Several things come out strongly to me as I look through these pictures, mostly taken around Brick Lane and other areas of Whitechapel. One of the major themes that has run through much of my photography is the writing on the wall, whether graffiti or signs and posters. Language is such an important aspect of our social interactions and its inclusion in these images makes them into a record of how people lived and thought.

Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-5a-01_2400

In 1984 London was rapidly becoming the multicultural city we now know, though of course it had been so on a lesser scale for many years if not centuries. Spitalfields where some of these pictures were made had long been a home for new communities moving to London and there was still abundant evidence of its Jewish population as well as the Bangladeshis who had by then largely replaced them.

Commercial Rd, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets 86-5c-64_2400

Housing, then as now, was an important issue in London in particular, and some of these pictures reflect this and other issues such as racism. Although I think some of these pictures are well-composed and even attractive compositionally, I’ve always considered the formal aspects – line, shape, tone, texture, form etc to be the means to communicate a message rather than an end in themselves. I aimed to make photography that had something to say and said it well rather than to produce well composed, attractive or even striking or popular images.

Limehouse, Tower Hamlets 86-5h-66_2400

There are another 95 pictures on the second page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


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.


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1986 Complete – Page 1

Saturday, April 11th, 2020

Images in this post are embedded from Flickr where you can view them at a large size by clicking on the image. You will need to use your browser back button to return to this post. Or you can right-click and select ‘Open link in new tab’.

Commercial St, Tower Hamlets 86-2d-51_2400

My album 1986 London Photographs is now complete on Flickr, and this is the first of a short series of posts pointing out a few of my favourite images from the year.

Of course the 1370 pictures in the album are not all I took that year, but perhaps about a quarter or a fifth. Quite a lot more than I would have selected or shown back in 1986, but the content has aged well, even if sometimes the actual physical negatives have deteriorated. Images that might have seemed a little mundane when I first saw them on the contact sheets have often gained considerably in interest as historical records.

There is a little redundancy in those 1370, and I’ve sometimes included several pictures of the same subject, where I’ve tried different ways to approach it. But the great majority of subjects were treated to only a single frame.

Crosby Row, Southwark 86-4f-11_2400

Many of those not included still have interest and value as historical records, but preparing them to go on line is tedious and time-consuming, particular as some need quite extensive digital retouching after the ‘scanning’ stage – mostly done by photographing the negatives with a Nikon D810 and Nikon 60mm macro lens. Some of my negatives were damaged by minute insects in search of gelatine, leaving their track as they chewed their way across them and depositing their frass and occasional body parts and complete restoration isn’t always possible.

Reuter, Royal Exchange, City 86-4l-66_2400

I’ve also been having problems in getting even lighting at the negative edges. This isn’t a problem with mounted slides, where the image is cropped, but I want the whole image, and possibly the problem is with light diffusing from the clear film edges. But it does mean every frame needs correction in Photoshop – rather like the little bit of edge-burning we used to do under the enlarger.

Courtenay Square, Kennington, Lambeth 86-4q-45_2400

I was working on a number of themes at the time and as well as recording buildings that interested me was particularly interest in sculptures, shopfronts, shop window displays and trees in the city. The first page of pictures on Flickr (100 images) includes work mainly from Southwark, the City of London and Spitalfields.

Brick Lane area, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets 86-4p-55_2400

I took very few pictures of people at this time, partly because I was rather shy, but more that I had been affected by some feelings being strongly expressed by some at the time about privacy and arguments that it was wrong to photograph people without first seeking their permission. I was never convinced by these, but they were off-putting, and I was sometimes shouted at when taking pictures. Perhaps more importantly I wanted to direct attention to the things being photographed, and was aware that people almost always steal the frame.

There are another 95 pictures on the first page of the album, all with a location, taken from the usually rather incomplete information I recorded on the contact sheets. I’ve tried to check these before posting, but corrections and other comments are always welcome. I’m happy for these pictures – with suitable attribution – to be shared on social media, but they remain copyright and any commercial or editorial use requires a licence from me.


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.