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.

 

Up the Downs and Down the Fields

 

I’m told there are over 4,000 railway arches in (Greater?) London and I’m sure a high proportion of them are used by the motor industry. In eight months, I must have peered into a few hundred such ‘motor arches’, but at C&D motors in Andre Street, Hackney Downs I found an ideal and visually interesting location for monochrome photography. Panel sprayers require good lighting, so the banks of horizontal fluorescent tubes here provided a very graphic backdrop for my shots.

Under the arches near the station, we find Champions Boxing Club where Mark was enthusiastic for me to capture their surroundings for Under Tracks.

On to Bohemia Place at Hackney Central, where we discover Dog Villas… a ‘pooch-sitting’ service for dog owners. Jessica handles the 10 or 12 dogs milling around the arch with ease, but as many a photographer knows, children and animals spell challenging!

Lunch at the Bohemia Café. Nice shots here!

Gentrification has hit (literally) the arches at Hackney Central in an area to be renamed Hackney Fashion Hub. I’m at least a year too late at these arches in Morning Lane, as long stretches have either been fitted with plate glass fascias (for the smart shops), or boarded up to house the contractors supplies and equipment. I shoot nonetheless. These are the railway arches as they today in 2015 – wheelbarrows and cement mixers. Maybe I’ll return towards the end of this project, by which time the new designer shops in the arches might be open?

Walking south, I retrace the steps of my first Under Tracks day out to Mentmore Terrace at London Fields. I had shot outside the e5 Bakehouse, but this time I was welcomed inside to photograph the interior.

The day ends in Paradise Row in Bethnal Green. The Row contains just five bars and restaurants in large, wide arches. Mother Kelly’s (‘On Mother Kelly’s doorstep, down Paradise Row...’ goes the lyric), Paradise Garage and Mission provide good photographic opportunities here for me.

Bohemia Café, Bohemia Place, Hackney Central

Bohemia Café, Bohemia Place, Hackney Central

 

The Hills are Alive...

 

Further south, in June, to Herne Hill. I had done some research for this trip and discovered the Bath Factory Estate lying behind the shops off Norwood Road: a long run of arches with two great locations at each extremity.

Firstly, and thirstily, to the Canopy Beer Company where Estelle, the ‘landlord’, welcomed us and happily posed behind her bar. Nice shots!

Then a long walk down to the other end of the arches, not knowing what we would find…. An arch with flowers flowing over the doorway and garden ornaments outside. It looked so interesting. We knocked on the door to reveal the DnA Factory – two guys Dallas and Angel who, to quote their website produce…

‘sculptural assemblage or tableaux, collage and photomontage which merge observational reality with myth and story telling to a most thought provoking effect’.

Wow!

I knew I needed to shoot this location and get it right… We will return with a tripod and my medium format Pentax 67.

Nearby Herne Hill Station we found Off the Cuff, a live music venue, which amazingly also sells the furniture you sit on to watch the bands. Another revisit needed here, this time in the evening for the band and the crowd.

Tony at Off the Cuff, Railton Road, SE24

Tony at Off the Cuff, Railton Road, SE24