Brick Lane, Sunday – Cultural Contrasts

london, Thoughts on Life

I had a plan to take some street portraits last weekend.

Plan vs. reality…    Friday late night – no camera, saw lot’s of cool people. Saturday – camera, got soaked in the rain. Sunday – camera, saw no cool people…

But I do have a couple of interesting images to share from Sunday.

The first is a hackney carriage mobile coffee shop. Isn’t it a perfectly cute package of a traditional London icon and modern city culture?

Sometimes I regret the dilution of traditional culture. I remember visiting London when I was really young. The vibe that Camden used to have. The greasy spoon cafe’s. The old vans and cars. The time when London really had it’s own style. Nowadays, huge swathes of London are ‘generic international city’ zones with international chains like Pret etc.

On my last trip to Tokyo I was so annoyed to see a Fernandez & Wells store open in Omotesando. A coffee / light food etc. chain from London. I desperately don’t want to see my favourite parts of my favourite cities diluted to the same look, feel, behaviour, culture.

Development and change is good, but we desperately need to support individual style, culture, small businesses etc. and stop proliferation of generic, bland chains everywhere. There is a place for these in demand businesses, but surely they don’t need to take over every corner of our cities.

Rant over…  :)

As usual around East London I also saw some of the ever changing street art. I saw a load of people taking selfie’s in front of some art below one of the rail bridges near Shoreditch High Street.

I was thinking it’s another interesting contrast. Street art must be at least in part about making an individual statement, customising an otherwise regular wall into something unique.

Are selfie’s not the opposite?

Self portraits that by the nature of the phone camera / angle tend to look similar and are usually taken from a shallow perspective of showing off.

Are selfie’s so unartistic that maybe they become a valid candidate for contemporary art!

OCD photography tip – it’s so important for me to get the bridge line starting from the corner :)

 

 

Chelsea, London

london

Time for another Sunday photowalk. This week I went to Chelsea in West London. Chelsea has the reputation of being a wealthy area. I was expecting rich ladies in 4×4 cars (known as Chelsea tractors), plastic surgery, Lamborghini’s with Qatar plates etc.

But, it was more like churches, cute houses, old buildings and classic cars.

We did see one guy in a large new Rolls Royce / Bentley and he actually asked us if we wanted a photo.. haha.. I was like, “eh, no”

alexroanphotography - home -1827


alexroanphotography - home -1839


alexroanphotography - home -1852


alexroanphotography - home -1858


alexroanphotography - home -1874


alexroanphotography - home -1903


alexroanphotography - home -1918


alexroanphotography - home -1920


alexroanphotography - home -1922

Chiltern Street

london

Today I went for a walk around Chiltern Street in Marylebone. I think it’s quite a famous spot with it’s beautiful red brick town houses.

I also spotted a couple of nice cars.

I normally take candid street photos, but I’ve been wanting to work on my confidence to ask people if I can take their photo. I saw some friendly looking people outside of ‘Trunk’ store, it was a lovely scene, so I asked if I could photograph them. They kindly agreed.













Zurich – A Hidden Gem

switzerland

This last Wednesday I had an overnight trip out to Zurich for a business workshop. It was a 4.30 am start, but totally worth it.

The reason I love travel so much is the joy of having a change every day. Even a business trip is an opportunity to meet new people, try local food and if lucky have enough time for a stroll at the end of the day.

The Zurich trip was busy, but I managed to fit in an hour long photo walk around the old town area between eight and nine pm.

I hope you enjoy the pictures:

Stairs – A Short Study, Dongdaemun, Seoul

south korea

I’m really getting on board with the enticing blog post titles; “Stairs – A Short Study” – hardly groundbreaking clickbait.

There is relatively modern design plaza in the centre of Seoul. I decided to take a few photographs as the architecture is quite unusual.

This post is about one set of stairs.

I was drawn by the wonderful geometry. I love how they widen as they descend. I like the grey concrete of the stairs, floor and wall and how while they are similar they have different angles and textures. I think it’s a wonderful piece of subtle design.

But the stairs aren’t the full story, the interest was completed by watching different people walk up and down.

A single guy strolling down slowly.

A middle aged couple marching up in bright winter coats.

A young couple romantically staggering up.

One of the things I love about photography is the frozen motion especially mid step, jog, leap..  I think that’s why some sports / action photographs can be so striking.

Looking back on images of people frozen in time as they ascend or descend is more interesting than the real moment; sometimes life goes too quickly to catch the details.

Note: these photos are unadjusted from RAW in the camera, I like the natural unedited low contrast. I think it’s the first time I haven’t wanted to process a photo at all (I’m not talking about photoshop, just the normal in camera automatic processing).

stairs-0070

stairs-0071

stairs-0072


stairs-0077

stairs-0078


stairs-0081


stairs

Am I crazy, or do these stairs hold any interest for anyone else?

OCT Loft (Shenzhen Contemporary Art)

china

I went to OCT Loft in Shenzhen yesterday. It’s a contemporary art centre in a former industrial complex. The look and feel of OCT Loft reminded me of Moganshan 50 (M50) in Shanghai, I posted some pictures about my trip there last year.

I only had a little time so I didn’t go inside many places; but I am definitely going to go back, in the meantime I can share some pictures of the complex and exhibition hall A:

shenzhen-9535

Hello Taipei

taiwan

I’ve had three days in Taipei. I’m feeling good about this city; it has positive vibe. Today I went for a walk along Dihau Street. It’s a fairly traditional area with a lot of shops selling things like tea and herbal medicine.

There are some vibrant, busy scenes. But even in amongst those you can catch people taking a rest from the hot afternoon sun. Check out the guy in the truck cab.

taipei-8863