Farewell to an Arthouse Archway...

 

I’ve got permission from Amy at Le Pain Quotidien head office to shoot at their South Bank restaurant, so that’s our first stop.  Using my Pentax 67 on a tripod, I photograph the original arch at the rear of the premises featuring wonderfully lit brickwork.  I even get a latte on the house!

Next, on to Druid Cycles in Roper Lane near Druid Street, Southwark. I’m hoping they are open, but alas not so.

Then north to Haggerston. At Turning Earth Ceramics in Whiston Street, the large studio is busy with potters working at individual benches. The arch is well-lit and features a rear half-moon window with daylight pouring in. I’m keen to get some close-up shots here, and Olivia is willing to be my subject. Sometimes you know immediately that images will really work in monochrome, and this is one of those occasions.

Walking south, my next call is Pretorius Bikes in Drysdale Street, Shoreditch. I start shooting, but quickly realise this arch would be crowded with ‘bikies’ at their ‘after-work’ bar later in the day. Another for the re-visit list…

Across the road we find Shem clearing up at the Hoxton Gallery, empty since its last exhibition and being readied for closure and a move to a much bigger space in Old Street – goodbye Shoreditch, hello EC1. The arch is very dark, but hand-held at 1/30, I click away on my Nikon FE on 400 ASA film hoping for the best. The results are moody, gritty and atmospheric to say the least!

Farewell to the arch... The old Hoxton Gallery before its move to Old Street.

Farewell to the arch... The old Hoxton Gallery before its move to Old Street.

 

Return to Maltby Street

 

The return visit to Maltby Street and Ropewalk; this time for the weekend market where this short section of arches is transformed into a ‘foodie’ street that is thronging with people.

Ropewalk Food Market, SE1

Ropewalk Food Market, SE1

My photographic aim was to capture this transformation – blokes in aprons serving food, where, during the week, floorboards are being sold.

On the ‘other’ side of the tracks, Druid Street plays host to a vast variety of arch activities. Peter at the Southwark Brewing Company was particularly helpful and enthusiastic about my project. I will return when his arch is busier…

Druid Street, SE1

Druid Street, SE1

 

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