Made in Chelsea

 

Halfway down the King’s Road in Chelsea is the Michael Hoppen Gallery at Jubilee Place. A “must visit” here as there is a Jacques-Henri Lartigue exhibition on. JHL (1894–1986) started taking photographs as an eight-year-old. In 2004 the Haywood Gallery in London had a huge Lartigue show that showed both his “albums” and his masterful prints. This photographic journey through his life recorded his transformation from a “snapper” to a fine-art photographer. I’ve been hooked on Lartigue ever since…

A short hop down to the other end of the King’s Road to the TfL arches around Putney Bridge. On the corner of the New King’s Road and Hurlingham Road, the Harrington Porter arch catches my eye. The interior is stylishly designed and sympathetic lighting emphasises their intersecting arches. Marie-Sophie arranges some flowers as I capture the scene using the Nikon FE hand-held. Literally underneath Putney Bridge Station we meet David rubbing down a wooden table outside his Fabweld arch. A complete contrast from my previous shot but the railway arches in Putney are nothing but diverse!

Crossing the Thames on the footbridge we arrive at the King’s Arches near Putney Bridge Road. The arch is full of wood dust but the visually pleasing joinery workshop of Todi and Boys looks good. Csaba is making a bespoke window frame. Next door, a business that my research for this trip had flagged up. Zinc White “frame pictures, prints and objects” and their lovely arch is easily the lightest one that I’ve had the pleasure to shoot in. I can shoot at 1/250th here. Bliss! Natural light abounds with sunshine streaming in both front and back. I had pre-visualised my photograph here… so I asked Ian if he would oblige. They found the largest dark coloured frame in the place and held it aloft, with their heads within the picture frame. The framers framed! Thanks Sofie, Ian and Michael.

The names in the frame... Ian, Sofie and Michael at Zinc White

The names in the frame... Ian, Sofie and Michael at Zinc White

 

Way Out West...

 

Most of the 4,400 arches in London are owned by Network Rail, but the ones below the Underground tracks (where the tracks are above ground!) are the property of Transport for London (TfL).

The arches on the District/Piccadilly Lines that stretch between Turnham Green and Hammersmith are TfL, so we start our day in the leafy, genteel surroundings of Stamford Brook.

Firstly, two revisits... The Arch Studios Rehearsal Rooms and next door Arch 197, a dance studio. On to the W6 Gym with a lovely south-facing glass frontage. Next, to one of my “must-have” arches – The Laura Sevenus Swimming Tuition Pool in Wilson Walk. Veronika, the receptionist, shows us around, but I will need permission to shoot here from the owner*. The actual pool is amazing. It is situated on the mezzanine floor!

Further towards Ravenscourt Park, I see another auto repair arch that catches my eye. The Citroën Dyane alongside a BMW on a ramp will look good in my shot. Xavier (Xavier Autoclinic) is very happy for me to shoot here… “Go for it, Ted!”

Almost at Hammersmith in Cambridge Grove, we find another Crossfit arch, Crossfit Hammersmith. This one is full of “youngsters” pumping iron on a weights circuit. A nice scene to shoot – I know I’ll get blur with all that movement, this is a gym after all.

A few arches along we find Nicholas, a sculptor/ceramicist, working. A magnificent “arty” arch – his latest ceramics are lined up on benches. If I’m lucky I might even catch an Underground train going past in a small window at the top of the arch on the back wall of his studio?

A long walk next along the disappointing Shepherds Bush Market arches, past the old BBC TV Centre, towards Latimer Road. Nothing unusual here in the market, and all the arches have interior ceilings. But the walk is well worth it, as near Latimer Road Station I find a backdrop in an arch to compliment a shot I’ve taken earlier in the project.

It is another auto repair arch – actually only the third one I’ve shot in – but this one, Jack's Garage, features a front (and only the front) of a VW Camper bus high on the walls. This scene will work superbly with my earlier shot at Scooterworks in Bermondsey, which has the fronts of two scooters on the exterior of the arch. Vaidas explains that he is busy, so I return to the garage at 8 a.m. the following morning, when his workshop is clear of vehicles. I shoot many frames on my Nikon FE and Pentax 67, as Vaidas works on an engine.

*I do get permission to shoot at the Sevenus Pool, so I return a few weeks later with my three “models” to photograph them in the water at this truly unique and amazing railway arch.


 

Happy fit at Crossfit Hammersmith.

Happy fit at Crossfit Hammersmith.

 

Another Pic of Peckham or Two...

 

It's early December and we're making a return visit to the Blenheim Court in Peckham Rye, the Arches Studios triangle we first visited in July.

Just out of the station, along Blenheim Grove, we find a seasonal pop-up arch selling Christmas trees and seasonal decorations. Well worth a few shots...

Today is perfect time to revisit Blenheim Court, whose many artists and artisans have transformed their arches from working studios into showrooms for their open house weekend. It was great to see the area busy with people appreciating the work on display. Carolyn Tripp and Jane Muir (Ginger) had both opened up their arches, and I caught some nice scenes here in both locations. At the Blenheim Forge, James had displayed rows of his hand-made knives laid out in rows. Low lighting but high-quality images captured here.

Venturing onto the other side of the tracks, we find the Little Bird Gin bar, which has only been open for a few weeks. A lovely step-back-in-time arch featuring a wonderful eclectic mix of furniture. Grazeg and Josh work away whilst I capture the scene. Low, low lighting here, so I’m shooting at 1/15th on a tripod.

Just be-gin-ing... The Little Bird gin bar at Blenheim Court.

Just be-gin-ing... The Little Bird gin bar at Blenheim Court.

 

Dog Day Afternoon...

 

I'm visiting north-west South Bermondsey! It’s the run-up to Christmas and so I’m expecting to have to make a few revisits when the arch occupants are less busy. The Olive Oil Company and The Urban Flower Firm in Raymouth Road SE16 are such cases.

At the old Spa Road Station building, I meet Pauline at Dynamic Vines who shows me around their vast arches – the walls are stacked with wine bottles – a great backdrop for my photographs. I’ll return on a Saturday during their wine tasting sessions. Next Partizan Brewing and The London Honey Company – both future revisits.

Once the railway ticket office, now Dynamic Vines.

Once the railway ticket office, now Dynamic Vines.

I’m nearly back to previous shooting territory at Enid Street and Rope Walk in Bermondsey. At LASSCO I meet Jasper, who featured in my candid LASSCO flooring photograph. Nice chap!

On Druid Street I find the arch at Rima & McRae open. They produce bespoke finishes for smart interiors. This is a perfect scene for capturing my images.

Lastly, walking along Crucifix Lane, I remember that Dallas and Angel at the DnA Factory in Herne Hill have some of their sculptures showing in a gallery here. I pop into Underdog Art and meet Sammy and Lee, and Sammy's dog, Henk. All three of them are very willing for me to shoot in their superb cavernous gallery space. Using both my Nikon FE and Pentax67, I roll off many frames… a great ending to a long day.

Underdog Art – art with a real dog!

Underdog Art – art with a real dog!

 

You Visualise It. We Can Create It...

 

Probably my last shoot of the year as we head south-east from London Bridge to Deptford – my intention to walk back ‘up’ the line to Bermondsey.

At Resolution Way, next to Deptford Station, another first: this time an Art Suppliers, ArchDeptford. Paul, the owner, is very obliging and chats as I snap away.

Almost next door, a stainless-steel sculptor.  ‘Don’t touch a thing in here,’ Simon tells us quickly. ‘Everything is covered in metal dust!’ His studio is a scattering of both finished and unfinished works interspersed with odd bits of metal off-cuts. Some lovely reflections captured here on the Pentax 67.

Deptford – arch, after arch, after arch...

Deptford – arch, after arch, after arch...

The stretch of railway arches running north-west from Deptford recedes into the distance with the Shard ever-present in the distance. Arch after arch, row after row… After a few hundred yards we come across a life-size model horse propped up against the railings, and some ‘scenery’ dumped outside some arches. Something interesting here?

Horses park free outside Arteffects, Deptford

Horses park free outside Arteffects, Deptford

A revisit to Arteffects will be required, but next door, Michael Whiteley welcomes us into his four arches where he produces stage props for the TV and entertainment industry. ‘You visualise it, we can create it’ his business card states boldly. Perfect! Whilst I shoot away, Michael and his team work furiously on 180 multicoloured polystyrene stage blocks to be delivered to Channel 4 the next day.

Our next find is Pedibus, who make and hire out pedal-powered vehicles for tours around London – eight seaters with twice as many pedals. Amazing!

Lastly, Tom at London Bronze Casting is working outside his arch glueing layer upon layer of latex sheets onto a model face and bust, ultimately to have bronze cast over it.

The light is fading and it is only 3.30pm. Off to the tube, and home…

 

A Pick of Peckham

 

Dallas at the DnA Factory in Herne Hill informed us that Peckham Rye had some interesting arches, and he was certainly right.

First stop was the Brick Brewery on Blenheim Grove. Ian was busy working away getting ready for the weekend ahead. The large cylindrical stainless steel brewing tanks made a great backdrop for my shots here. Nearby, Bar Story will have to be a revisit…

Then on to the Arches Studios in Blenheim Court. This is a triangle of arches where about 20 artists and makers work in a wide variety of disciplines, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, metalwork, and cabinet making. There are also large number of ceramicists –  unfortunately not many of them are here today (yet another revisit!) but we do catch Debbie, a potter, and James, a blacksmith, working at Blenheim Forge. A great place which illustrates the diversity of the arches.
 

Bleinheim Court Entrance, Peckham Rye

Bleinheim Court Entrance, Peckham Rye