This has been a great week for reminding me why I love living in London. I was able to see Margaret Atwood speak at the launch of the Testaments, the sequel to the Handmaid’s Tale, and see a new musical about Rachmaninoff’s life that Jake helped to create. I had a great meal at the National Theatre and a great burrito and margarita at a food market near the Southwark Playhouse. At the weekend, we wrangled a group of us – most of whom also ended up in Whitstable last weekend – to Kew Botanical Gardens, where we wandered around the glass houses and appreciated Dale Chihuly’s imposing glass statues. The weather has been gorgeous and I had a scoop of clotted cream ice cream. Things are good.
It’s such a cliché that photography is better and easier when the weather’s good, but it’s true. The bridges, buildings and sculptures all pop against the blue sky, as do portraits of my long-suffering friends. We walked around London a lot today, traipsing around the southeast of the city before pounding our feet on Kew’s paths in the far west. I particularly enjoyed photographing the Kew pagoda, for the angles.
When I take photos, one of the things I consider most is what I call the ‘anchor’ of the picture. I usually choose part of the structure or scene and ‘anchor’ it in one corner, letting the rest of the photo spill out from that point. I think the pagoda pictures illustrate this idea well, with the dragon statues anchoring the image and the rest of the structure filling the frame. Perhaps you don’t look at my photos that way, but it’s definitely what I see as I look through the viewfinder.
I enjoyed photographing the bridge, the river and the winding streets behind the wharfs as much as I usually do, though I’ll admit that I’ve cooled it on the Tower Bridge pictures lately. I have so many photos of that bridge by now that it rarely feels urgent to take more. But then today I found a new angle, hiding one of the bridge’s towers behind another building, letting the blue and grey peek out, and I remembered why it’s always worth having a camera with me. London is busy and I do spent most of my time at work or at home, as everyone does in the place that they live. This week, I really appreciated living somewhere that feels so much like the centre of something. May it long continue.