Camden (Un)Locked...

 

It is the first bright Friday of the year as we set off again into uncharted territory from Camden Road station.

Near the station on Randolph Street, we find a guy painting what look like garden screens. It turns out these are high-end props for events, and this is the workshop arch for By Appointment Only Design – a flower shop in Chiltern Street W1 who provide a flower service for wedding and event planning.

A few streets away in Prowse Place the arches are 21st-century plate glass. Here is the smart furniture showroom of Warren Evans. I recognise the logo from their ads in the Sunday colour supplements.

As we turn north across Hawley Street we start to smell cooking. It turns out to be the aroma of chocolate. In a series of arches belonging to Yotam Ottolenghi (one of our favourite chefs) are Javed, Agnieszka, Maite and Colleen busy preparing Chocolate Crunch for Yotam’s restaurants. I take many shots here, including some of Yotam tasting one of his creations.

Scrumdiddlyumptious! Chocolate Crunch at Ottolenghi's...

Scrumdiddlyumptious! Chocolate Crunch at Ottolenghi's...

Just above Kentish Town West station we detect another aroma, but this time it is the smell of hops. These are the many arches of the Camden Town Brewery, and I’m able to record Kayleigh and Paul working, preparing a trial beer.

The daylight hours are still quite short in February, but in Wilkin Street Mews, Lunar Cycles have a workshop arch. Using the Pentax 67, I capture Derlon servicing a bike – the perfect ‘model’ for my last shot of a long day.

Delon at Lunar Cycles. Second star to the right and straight on till morning...

Delon at Lunar Cycles. Second star to the right and straight on till morning...

 

Some Late Summer Sequels

 

My list of ‘return visits’ has been getting longer and longer, so time to tick a few off.

We start in south London at Herne Hill with Dallas and Angel at the DnA Factory. They are on good form preparing for their own exhibition of their sculptures in November. Using both my medium format Pentax67 and 35mm Nikon FE, I shoot about a dozen frames of them ‘at home’ in their comfy arch surrounded by their art.

North to Haggerston and Headway East – an art studio supporting people affected by brain injuries. Permissions were required not just to shoot here, but also from their clients to be photographed. I take several long-shots past the ‘artists' arm with the artwork-covered arch in the background.

On our way to our next appointment we walk past The WhitePepper in Acton Mews – a women's fashion store/showroom. Amazingly, in seven months of shooting Under Tracks, this is the first fashion outlet I've encountered. Ines is fine about shooting here – some nice images captured.

Then on to Charterhouse Aquatics in Stean Street. I happened upon this place whilst doing a pre-walk internet search. The boss, Paul (who himself is a photographer) was great about me shooting here. Their showroom features large aquariums and young Richard was only too willing to ‘service’ the tanks during the shoot. My biggest problems here were the reflections on the glass from the street outside the arch, but some judicious angled photography worked well. Every shot taken was from my tripod here – very, very low light levels...

Dallas, in the doorway of the DnA Factory, Herne Hill

Dallas, in the doorway of the DnA Factory, Herne Hill

 

A Shot in the Dark...

 

It can get pretty dark, Under Tracks...

Ah, you say, if only I shot digitally…????   No! NO!

As in my Under Glass Paris project, I've now started taking two Nikon FEs on my trips. One with 400 ASA film, the other with 3200 ASA for those shadowy corners.  I won't ever use flash, so I await the outcome...

Film for the Dark Side... Ilford Delta 3200

Film for the Dark Side... Ilford Delta 3200

 

Not Just a Photographic Project...

 

In March, our next foray was again south of the Thames, walking from Elephant and Castle north towards Southwark. This was another good day in an area likely to be regenerated. Everyone was really positive.

Then it dawned on me, this wasn’t just a photographic project – I was in fact recording social history. What were the arches used for 50 (or 100 years) ago? What will be in them in the year 2050?

We received a great reception from the trainer Mateo and the super-fit Leon at Crossfit Blackfriars.

However, I began to realise another problem to be faced… shooting hand-held on film in dark places. The list of places to revisit was getting longer – The Last Supper in Newington Causeway, The Union Theatre in Union Street and The Ring Boxing Club in Ewer Street.

 
Leon – Super Strong! Crossfit Blackfriars, SE1

Leon – Super Strong! Crossfit Blackfriars, SE1