My images for the mobile phone photography task.
Swept under the oncoming deluge of a rainstorm rolling towards me, I stepped beneath a covered path at Mudchute Park and Farm to fumble around in my bag, looking for my woolly hat.
I was struck by this particular shot further along the pathway, as the trees opened up into fields for the sheep to graze in. I’m a village kid, in a way – my primary school back in the suburbs of Bristol was surrounded by farms, with no buildings or structures any taller than a farmer’s cottage. Here, the innocent sheep go about their day-to-day lives while the vast privilege of Canary Wharf looms over them from behind. At the right time of year, the skyscrapers would cast a shadow and shorten the sheep’s day by an hour.
Something about that contradiction struck me on a personal level, I think.
On its own, this image is unassuming. It’s a bus driver talking on the phone.
I had just witnessed a disorderly man – coat over his head, covering his face, babbling obscenities – being ordered to leave the bus. It was the middle of Canary Wharf, so a few men with guns were always standing around nearby. It was the bus I needed to take home, so I waited patiently and watched the scene unfold.
The armed men stood and watched as the bus driver calmly went upstairs, ordered the man to leave, and showed him off. He called onlookers a collection of flowery names as he took off down the street, and suddenly the security men were buzzing with radio chatter.
The driver patiently sat in the driver’s seat and called his boss, explaining why there was a five-minute delay. By the time I was on my way home, I had a great deal of respect for bus drivers.
I love the London skyline. I think most people do.
And yet, it’s bittersweet – this image doesn’t just invoke awe. It also inspires guilt in some viewers, including myself. The industrial landscape sprawls for miles, thousands of lights left on, rooms left empty. Those clouds which paint the sunset may not even be natural: urban residue, smog. Airborne filth which burns through the ozone. Thousands of cigarettes being smoked.
Visually spectacular, yes. Though a little disturbing as well.
Some would call this statue creepy. Others might find it oddly comforting.
The hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf isn’t something I will get used to. Thousands of people shift through the plaza outside the Jubilee Line, heading to and from cafés and restaurants and home and work. You never see the same person twice in Canary Wharf – an endlessly changing torrent of individual personalities.
And yet, amidst the constant change, this statue stands, unchanged and unchanging. When I worked at the All Bar One (behind him), I found some comfort in seeing him every time I left at midnight. A bit of familiarity does make a place feel more welcoming.
The southern face of One Canada Square, the second tallest building in the United Kingdom, stretches infinitely upwards like a glass pavement. I pass it everyday on the way to University. Sometimes I stop and marvel at the craftsmanship of its windows, the perfection of its geometric edges.
The aggressive expansion around Canary Wharf is quite surprising.
Here is one of many buildings south of the financial district which are undergoing construction. The sign reads ‘WARDIAN’, a high-end residential development, designed specifically for clientele in this area. One face of the building has an attractive speedboat moored in the Thames.
We return to this familiar sensation of guilt – yet another skyscraper, yet more power use, yet more problems for the environment. Not a single solar panel in sight. It makes you wonder if we are building high-density properties faster than we can sustain them.
For the most part, I am satisfied with my images. Emotion and Abstraction are my favourites.
However, I believe I would have benefited from expanding my horizons beyond Canary Wharf and the surrounding area – my project has suffered somewhat due to lack of scope. Canary Wharf is comfortable and convenient for me, and this collection of images may have been all the more meaningful if I had ventured a little further out of my comfort zone.
I noticed a few technical issues after the images were taken. For instance, the character in Change should be positioned more to the right in order to work with the Rule of Thirds. A few of these images could be cropped for clarity’s sake: there is a lot of empty space in Public Interest and Opposites, which would be resolved with proper framing.