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Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Large Subjects

Hmmm… ‘Large Subjects’ is the topic for this week’s Cee’s Black and White Challenge… well, living here in London choosing large buildings would seem a bit too obvious, so instead I’ve chosen a few images all taken in larger-than-life Camden Market in North London…

cyberdog-camdenGiant cybermen guard the entrance to Cyberdog Boutique…

giant-horse-head-camdenA giant horses head sits on the cobbled steps…

shaka-zulu-camdenAnd a giant Zulu warrier towers over the doorway to Shaka Zulu restaurant/ bar/ club ๐Ÿ™‚

Ten Years On…

Today is the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, and here in the UK the news is naturally full of national remembrance and personal memories of that awful day. Even for those of us working in the capital who were thankfully far enough away from the danger zone of Central London, it was still a terrifying time.

As I casually stepped off my usual busy train to work at 8.50am that morning – the actual time the three main bombs were detonated on three separate tube trains – confused rumours of disparate fires/ accidents/ unexplained delays across the tube network spread like wildfire, and soon escalated into real concern that these separate incidents may somehow be linked, with the final, fourth bomb on the double-decker bus at Tavistock Square almost an hour later making it clear that something was indeed seriously wrong, shocking the city into shut-down.

We monitored the breaking news unfolding throughout the day from our office in East London, watching, waiting, disbelieving. Public transport stopped, and London came to a virtual standstill. As the afternoon progressed, exposing the full horrors of an apparent terrorist attack, those with cars offered to take others home – while many other commuters, silently pensive, walked for miles, unfamiliar city streets eerily empty.

Fifty-two innocent people lost their lives that day, and 700 more were injured. It was nothing on the scale of 9/11, but nevertheless it touched us all, and it stays with us, especially during those uneasy moments when we find ourselves crammed like sardines on yet another packed commuter train stuck in a tunnel somewhere, wonderingโ€ฆ

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St Pancras Station – The Lovers

Just under the clocks on the terrace of St Pancras station stands a striking 9m high statue by Paul Day. The artwork is named ‘The Meeting Place’ but is perhaps better known as ‘The Lovers’. It truly is a beautiful monument to all the inevitable meetings and partings that have always taken place at all railway stations over the generations since the railway first began…

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Everyday London Life: Hidden Churches

There are lots of little churches tucked away all over London, once their spires stood tall above the rooftops but now find themselves dwarfed by modern city buildings. All Saints Anglican church in Margaret Street in Central London sits almost un-noticed only a few minutes walk from London’s Oxford Street. The little courtyard provides a welcome oasis of calm to local office workers who enjoy sitting having lunch in relative peace and quiet, and the church inside proves to be a riot of colour – an example of Victorian Gothic at it’s very best…

All-Saints-courtyardAll-Saints-altarAll-Saints-ceilingAll-Saints-wall-painting

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Everyday London Life: What’s the Story?

I often wonder about the stories behind the people I see who appear to be living on the outer edges of the mainstream – perhaps because I too often also feel that way, perpetually on the outside of normal life, looking in…

I’m not sure what happened with this elderly man, who appeared to be standing with his belongings – including a trumpet – on the wet sand next to a weighted tarpaulin at the base of the stone steps leading down to the river Thames along the South Bank.

When I’d passed this way earlier at high tide, the steps had been covered mid-way to the top, so clearly he must have been waiting for the water to subside enough to access the foreshore.

But what wasn’t clear to me as I took this shot was if he was retreiving his saturated things from underneath having mis-judged the timing of the tide, or creating a dry space on which to leave everything safely until the next high tide?

One thing’s for sure, I’ll never know why he was there on that chilly April evening as night was falling, or what happened to him after I captured that singular moment in his life…

man-with-trumpet-south-bank