Always follow ur dreams! More work

Posted on September 21, 2013

7


I spent a day in London yesterday. My aim was to reconnoitre some locations for images I have in mind and possibly to capture one or maybe two ‘keepers’….

My first port of call was the Limehouse Basin and Regents canal. I wanted to consider whether a view of this former dock might produce a better image than my current selection – see below:

Regents Canal ©Keith Greenough 2-13

Regents Canal ©Keith Greenough 2013

I visited the location twice during the day once in the daylight and once around sunset and into the twilight period. Here are the daylight images:

Regents Canal ©Keith Greenough 2013

Regents Canal ©Keith Greenough 2013

Limehouse Basin ©Keith Greenough 2013

Limehouse Basin ©Keith Greenough 2013

I think that these are too sunny and bright for the accompanying text, so I won’t be using them.

I returned later in the day and made two images in the twilight/night-time. My idea was to shoot the Limehouse Basin so that the water looked very dark, referencing the coal barges which used to fill the place… Here are the images:

Limehouse Basin ©Keith Greenough 2013

Limehouse Basin ©Keith Greenough 2013

Limehouse Basin ©Keith Greenough 2013

Limehouse Basin ©Keith Greenough 2013

These are definitely an improvement but I think I still prefer the original image with its colour references to the Irish. I will sit on this for a while and see if my view changes. The upper of the two is my preferred image.

My next location was Pennyfields, a street in Limehouse often associated with Chinese immigrants. The story of the Chinese in London’s East End is the stuff of myth and fantasy. The Chinese were portrayed in detective novels as evil villains and opium dens and such like are much in evidence. The reality is somewhat different. The Chinese in the East End never numbered more than a few hundred and typically ran laundries and shops…. I wanted an image which emphasised this vernacular reality….Here are the two photographs I made:

Pennyfields, Tower Hamlets ©Keith Greenough 2013

Pennyfields, Tower Hamlets ©Keith Greenough 2013

Ming Street, Tower Hamlets ©Keith Greenough 2013

Ming Street, Tower Hamlets ©Keith Greenough 2013

I much prefer the first of these as it shows the street itself and is typical of the urban landscape of the area today with its rather unattractive social housing. I have put this together into a diptych shown below:

Pennyfields Diptych ©Keith Greenough 2013

Pennyfields Diptych ©Keith Greenough 2013

My next port of call was Whitechapel where I visited Fieldgate Street. Here the huge East London Mosque stands next to the diminutive Fieldgate Street Synagogue (now ‘temporarily’ closed). My idea was to try and show how the balance of the population in the area has moved from Jewish to Bengali. This could be a bit obvious, but if I can capture an interesting image could be worth pursuing. The front entrance to the synagogue and the rear entrance to the mosque are next to one another on Fieldgate Street. It is very difficult to compose an image as the street is very narrow and when I was there it was very busy. This is the best shot I made…I will go back early in the morning to explore other possibilities. My plan would be to show the synagogue/mosque image next to text which would be a transcription of the closure notice for the synagogue.

Mosque and Synagogue,  Fieldgate Street Whitechapel ©Keith Greenough 2013

Mosque and Synagogue, Fieldgate Street Whitechapel ©Keith Greenough 2013

My next location was Adler Street, just around the corner from Fieldgate Street. This was the location of a racially motivated murder of a Bengali youth Altab Ali in 1974. The murder prompted a major protest march to Downing Street by the Bangla Deshi community and its supporters. My idea is to capture a calm, pastoral image in the park to juxtapose with quotation from a newspaper describing the horrific murder. The conditions were far too bright yesterday to get the image I wanted but the image I made shows the kind of approach I am taking.

Altab Ali Park, Adler Street Whitechapel ©Keith Greenough 2013

Altab Ali Park, Adler Street Whitechapel ©Keith Greenough 2013

My final location was back to Limehouse to capture a view of Narrow Street. This is an old street which would have been one of the first parts of  London seen by sailors getting off the ships. My aim is to pair a photograph of this location with a text which points to the way in which Asian sailors were in effect stranded in London by the provisions of the Navigation Acts. Here is the photograph I made as the sun was setting. I am please with this one.

Narrow Street, Limehouse ©Keith Greenough 2013

Narrow Street, Limehouse ©Keith Greenough 2013

I have also put together this image with a text as a diptych:

Narrow Street, Limehouse ©Keith Greenough 2013

Narrow Street, Limehouse ©Keith Greenough 2013

A very productive day all round and I felt encouraged that my ideas could yield the results I am after. I have much work to do but the project seems to be shaping up. I think I will need to revisit some locations many times to get the image I want. I really want to capture the scenes without people – this is very difficult. London is a busy place. Also I want the light to convey particular moods, so shooting at the right time of day, and in the right weather and lighting conditions will be crucial. My first step however is to identify the locations with the associated texts.

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