My new happy place is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It’s an architectural dreamscape, where Austrian clichés meet Christmas kitsch. Amusements include mulled wine, blizzards of fake snow, roasted chestnuts, animatronic moose heads, the carousel bar, reindeer races, fairy floss, pretzels, talking trees, ice-skating, krugs of beer, fun fair tokens, and of course, a visit to Santa.
It’s absolute madness and I love it.
Last Saturday I was a tourist in my own city. Which is quite easy to do in London. While I am beginning to know the East End well, the West is a whole ‘nother story. So I decided to get myself lost! I caught the tube to Kensington, then spent a few hours at the Victoria & Albert Museum, gazing at all the art. After a few inspiring hours, I walked through Hyde Park, around the Serpentine, making friends with a few birds.
Yep, I has wonderful time wandering in London; just people watching, stretching my legs, and admiring nature. Best of all, it was FREE. I spent about a quid on my whole adventure. (I really like saying the word quid in private, but not actually to anyone.) Which to brings to mind a saying I like (source unknown) that rather inspired my move here: “If you’re going to be poor, you may as well be poor in one of the greatest cities on Earth”.
The changing leaves.
Finding the perfect snood.
Drinking wine with Hemi and Thom.
Carving my mini pumpkin.
Exploring my neighbourhood. (Discovering Vietnamese food!)
Cask ales and candlelight.
Bike rides on crisp mornings.
I have always wondered why some people are utterly in love with Autumn but it all makes sense in a colder climate.
As far back as 1014, and probably much earlier, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock. In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has existed there ever since.
The other day we went to Borough Market. Alongside cheese, breads, cakes and all those good things, it has the widest choice of fruit and vegetables that I have ever seen.
The atmosphere was incredible too; imagine crowds of happy people trading, supping on aromatic mulled wine, popping truffles in their mouths, pressing juices, ordering coffee, carrying armfuls of bread, commiserating on the weather… All the while trains rumbled across the viaducts overhead. I want to go back again and again.
London – September/October 2011. Roll number 3 with the Diana Mini captured the last of the summer light. I love shooting film, but I’m not sure how committed I am to the Diana Mini. It might be time to pull out the Canon AE-1, and get a sturdier satchel (I have my eye on a Cambridge batchel) to carry all my crapola round with me.
A majestic building in Bloomsbury.
An alternate view of Marble Arch. (I always get the sublime Jeff Buckley in my head when I hear those words.)
A flat white at Flat White, Soho. Good coffee is hard to come by in this city (country?). All the best places are run by Aussies & Kiwis, which is not that surprising.
A day trip to Oxford feat. The Queen.
I adore Hyde Park’s deck chairs in the summer… But goodbye to all of that for now!
London so far: Polish beer and lipstick / free information, stacked high on the street for commuters to pluck / museums, museums, museums / summer fruits / wise advice in Shoreditch / a pint or three at the Ten Bells (Jack the Ripper’s stalking ground) / riding a (double-decker) bus home from Sean’s Smashday party in Bethnal Green…
I made a trip to London’s Natural History Museum. I love looking at rocks and minerals.
Finally home. Which is what I’ll be calling London for the foreseeable future. Right now I am crashing at my brother’s house in Surrey Quays – until next week when I move East into a cute little house with a warm kitchen, a back garden, and a tube stop.
Above is the view from one of the said quays; the buildings are far beyond on the other side of the Thames. And if you walk a little further, you’ll get to a boat called the Wibbly Wobbly – it’s a floating pub!
Hello friends! I’m very excited to say that in August I’ll be moving 18331 kilometres (or 11390 miles) away to London, England with my fancy new visa.
The next little while will be busy – I have to finish up at work, have my tonsils removed, pack up my life (into a 30 kilogram baggage allowance no less), and have one last fling with Auckland. Oh, I’m stopping in Paris for a week first to to “recover” from jet lag with cheese and wine, before zipping to my final destination on the Eurostar.
Gosh oh gosh I will miss my loved ones, but I’m really looking forward to this new adventure.
Sally Mann is an American photographer best known for her Immediate Family series. Spanning 1984–94, Immediate Family captured her children as they grew up and explored the countryside surrounding their Virginia home. In later years she turned her focus towards the land itself, with a series that investigated the deep south and key locations in the American Civil War.
More recently What Remains (2000-04), has brought people and the land together in the frame, albeit in an unconventional way. Mann has photographed decomposing bodies at a Tennessee research facility. At first glance the works appear to be simple abstracted textures, but look closer and you’ll recognise traces of the human form. Death and decay, rendered palatable.
Mann’s beautiful images are given an extra ghostly quality from the dust and scratches that arise through the use of antique cameras and the wet-plate collodion process.
A photographic negative is made by coating a glass plate with collodion to form an emulsion. Then the plate is sensitised in a silver nitrate solution and exposed to light while still wet. This gives the photographer only about five minutes to make the exposure. All aspects of the preparation and developing process for the wet-plate collodion print are complicated, delicate and tactile.
Sally Mann often uses the back of her truck as a temporary darkroom when making work outside, which creates its own problems as dust and dirt is constantly attracted to the wet and sticky surfaces of the negative.
Mann’s first solo UK exhibition – The Family and the Land: Sally Mann – is now showing at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. It’s on till 19 September 2010. Highly reccomended if you’re in the neighbourhood.