Switching Gear

I’ve been doing a lot of courses in photography with the City Lit recently and after several professional disapointments this year I decided that I want to switch gear completely and pursue photography.

I think the universe has been in agreement (if you believe that sort of thing) because since deciding that it’s time to stop pursuing something that will never be, many more things have worked in my favour. I placed an advert on a performers Facebook group asking for headshot volunteers, so far I’ve met two absolutely lovely people and have several more shoots lined up over the coming weeks.

Not only that, but I think I’ve discovered what sort of photographer I want to be.

After my second headshot shoot, I had quite a bit of time to kill so spontaneously decided to stop by the Photographer’s Gallery near Oxford Street. They had dedicated all the exhibition space to a photographer called Gregory Crewdson, displaying photographers from his series ‘Cathedral of the Pines‘.

Not being someone who knows much about photographers, I had no expectations and went in completely blind.

All I can say is wow.

Gregory Crewdson is famous for going to elaborate lengths to set up filmscene-esque photo shoots employing many techniques and people from the film industry. His photos are detailed, atmospheric and just beautiful. Looking at the photographs and the stories they conjured up made me realise that this is the sort of photography I want to do.

This is one of my favourites from his collection ‘Beneath the Roses’

Obviously I don’t want to do exactly what Crewdson does, but I want to create images which tell stories. I have no idea how I would even go about putting a project like that in motion but I have been considering applying to study an MA in Photography and I now feel I have a much stronger idea of what it is the future might hold.

Photographing the City of London

The increasing privatisation of land and private security, especially in the City of London, is making it harder and harder to take photographs.  The Gherkin and area around it is owned by the Kuwait government, no photographs (and incidentally, no protesting outside the Mayor of London’s office), Canary Wharf is all privately owned so don’t even think about taking photos and depressingly the fantastic looking new building known as The Scalpel is not only private but all on private land and they tend to pounce on you if you even look at your camera.

Many photographers innocently taking photographs of buildings, particularly in the City, are often detained under Section 44 of the anti-terrorism act just because they took a photo with a nice looking camera (I’ve not heard of anyone being stopped while taking photos with a point-and-shoot or with their phones). So far, I security have been reasonably polite when stopping me taking photos (although favourite question “what are you doing?”…I’m holding a camera, what do you think I’m doing?!) but I’m a 4ft 11 white woman. It’s perfectly legal to take photographs of private buildings from public land but they rarely tell you the divide between public and private is.

One of my current favourite views is the view of St Stephen Walbrook church (designed by Christopher Wren) between New Court on St Swithin’s Lane in the City of London.

Observing the View by Steph Dawson on 500px.com

https://500px.com/embed.js

New Court is the home of the Rothchild Bank HQ so I do understand why they’re a little iffy with you taking photographs but check out that view! New Court was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2012 and it’s a seriously stunning building.