Down in Deptford Market

Deptford Market is in a part of London I’ve never explored very well. While I sort out a job (help?) and a flat, I’m staying with my aunt and cousin in Plumstead which is nearby. My aunt took me out on a little adventure the other day that started with a walk through the L-shaped market of Deptford.

My favorite market goodie that we came across was this gigantic Jack Daniels lighter and equally massive cigarette:

Like all London markets, it was colorful and quirky. Deptford Market is full of bric-a-brac, shoes galore, locally-grown fruits and veg, cheap clothes, fresh fish, funky buttons and eccentric people. Just as a market should be.

When I was away from London for the last nearly 10 months, one aspect of London life I missed the most was the markets. They are where all life seems to unfold.

The market has an old-fashioned vibe to it with the cockney sellers shouting their wares. Super friendly vendors and no tourist knick knacks.

Stroll down the high street and you’ll find restaurants serving Indian, Vietnamese, West African, Chinese, Pakistani, Sri-Lankan, Cambodian and Turkish food.

And down miss the awesome pink building with the His & Hers chimneys!

Check it out on a Wednesday or Saturday then add your pics to the Flickr pool for a chance to be featured here.

Have you been to Deptford Market? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found there? Would you recommend a visit? 

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Hello London.

It feels good to be in the city again, feel the life flowing around me. I made a spontaneous decision to come back to London early. I arrived on Monday. Hello!

While sorting out a job, a place to stay and catching up with friends, I haven’t found tons of time to head out and take photos yet, but they will come. That’s a promise.

In the meantime, here’s a few random London-y things that have happened since I arrived:

– Someone handed me a full travel pass for all day Monday when I arrived at Heathrow.

– Today we saw a sign for a “Missing parrot”.

– I got to eat some Gambian food. Yum yum!

– I got lost in Peckham and some nice guy helped me out by not only finding my destination on his handy iPhone map but also volunteered to walk me to a point where it was super straightforward. Nothing creepy about him.

– I took a photo of a unique house with faces above the doors in Lewisham where a madman yells from the corner.

 

What was the most interesting moment of your day today? 

PS – Don’t forget to enter the very first giveaway on LLO! 

My Dominion: Deptford High Street

Added to the Flickr pool by Polstar*, this was found scribbled on Deptford High Street.

Deptford High Street

Five years ago, this was considered the most diverse high street and “best shopping street” in London, beating out Oxford Street and Kensington High Street. This South East bit of London near New Cross was also been called “the next Shoreditch” due to the vibrant arts culture and student population in the area.

London Art Spot: Alicia Clarke

Photo of Alicia Clarke by Annick Wolfers

It comes as no surprise that Alicia’s dance photography bursts with energy, momentum, movement. Only one who has felt her own body reach its limits this way would be able to portray in a single still shot the flexibility, endurance and perfection of form that are within the body’s capabilities.

Born in Birmingham in 1975, Alicia moved to London nearly a decade ago to pursue her career. She started as an assistant, moved through the ranks as in-house photographer for Northern & Shell publishing followed by a stint as Managing Editor on Happy magazine which eventually led her to become the freelancer she is today.  

For this week’s London Art Spot, Alicia gave up a bit of her time to talk to us about intertwining her passions for dance and photography, how assisting on Page 3 shoots for The Sun has influenced her current photographic study of femininity and tell us when to next catch her performing burlesque as her alter ego Cici Darling.

Audrey Doklan, Dancer

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
AC: 
That depends on whether the sun is shining or not! At its best, London is a hotpot of everything inspiring and influential. I truly believe that whatever you want to do, whoever you want to be, it can happen in London. It’s been my home for nearly 10 years and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I recently moved to Deptford and it’s got such a fantastic arts scene, loads of small galleries, artists’ studios, vintage stores and little cafes, but co-existing with the grungy old crazy Deptford and all its kooky characters! It’s never boring! Sometimes London is just too much though. So much going on, too fast, hard to keep up, I need to take a breather and disappear off to the sea to empty my head. I always want to come home though!

LLO: Favourite place to take your camera in London?
AC: 
I’m not much of a street photographer, always feel I’m intruding on people, so I guess my favourite place to take my camera at the moment is when I go and photograph burlesque nights for my friends. I get in free, get to see lots of acts and get inspiration for my own performance. And I meet interesting people who I might arrange to photograph later for my personal projects.

Beardyman, Beatboxer

LLO: Do you remember the moment you fell in love with photography? How has your style evolved since then?
AC: 
I do remember the exact moment – funny isn’t it? I was 7-years-old at the most and for some reason my Great Uncle handed me a cheap plastic camera and I fell totally in love with it, pottering around my back garden photographing the flowers. I would hope my style has evolved since then! When you put a frame around the world you’re effectively editing out the bits you don’t want, but nowadays I quite like being in the studio and controlling exactly what is put in instead. We’ve all become so image savvy these days that I want to be really careful about what I put into my images, whilst accepting that we all bring our own histories to a reading of an image so I have to relinquish control at some point!

LLO: Favourite London-based artists?
AC: 
I completely love Cecily Brown’s paintings – is she still based in London? Kind of abstract erotic, really thick sensual paint that you really want to jump into and immerse yourself in and then you realise its a picture of an orgy! Different people for different reasons really. I like Anderson & Lowe’s beautiful bodies and their melancholic circus pictures. My friend Rachel Warne does beautiful flower photography – she makes me interested in a genre that normally doesn’t stir me. I’m always jealous of my brother’s travel photography and for over a decade have been wishing I’d taken the pictures that dance photographer Hugo Glendinning takes. Another friend Lottie Davies (who photographed me for the winning image ‘Quints’ at the Taylor Wessing Prize 2008) inspires me in her bravery and certainty in her image-making.

Charlotte Wheeler, Dancer

LLO: In your work for See You Next Tuesday, you’re “using men to enact ‘visualities’…to explore the idea of woman as mask”. Can you explain what this means and how you’re using photography to reach this goal?
AC: 
This is based on a Lacanian psychoanalytic theory that postulates that there is no such thing as ‘woman’ other than what is put on the outside of the body – that there is no essential femininity, it is merely a masquerade. I wanted to explore this hypothesis using men, attempting to locate ‘woman’ through the props we’ve come to associate daily with femininity. You can see from the pictures that they fail, that woman cannot be found through such stereotypical details, however I still can’t find where ‘woman’ might be and how she might be represented. Tricky huh?! I can trace back the origin of this work to being in a tranny bar in San Francisco and realising that all the guys had their labels sticking out of the backs of their dresses, they’d slipped up in the details their masquerade… I also used to work as a photographer’s assistant on shoots for The Sun’s ‘Page 3’ and when the girls went home after the shoot there would be all this left over bits of pretend woman lying around – broken false nails, pulled-out blonde hair extensions, smeared fake tan, false eyelashes and skimpy knickers – it fascinated me. I recently started performing as a burlesque dancer so this reignited the interest in representations of women and their bodies…

Gabriel Prokofiev, composer

LLO: You studied dance for many years. How does this experience influence the way you approach your photography? Do you look at movement of the human body differently as a dance photographer than as a dancer?
AC:
When I’m dancing, I’m feeling movement, its ebb and flow and I can feel the strength and the fragility of my body moving through space.  The job of the dance photographer is to somehow capture and communicate that in a single frozen image, to convey how it might feel to be the dancer.  I love using the possibilities inherent in the camera (long shutter speeds, etc) to show motion in time, but I also like to reveal that moment when the body reaches the perfect point in the movement and freeze it there.  I get so excited when I’m shooting dancers, I want to be them, I want to be able to do what they are doing, I want that relationship with my body.

Mari Frogner at Laban Centre, Dancer

LLO: What kind of camera, lens, kit, etc. do you use?
AC:
 I recently sold my old Hasselblad and it was a very sad moment, but I’m a digital convert. I shoot on a Canon 5d Mark 2, with L series lenses. I use Bowens lighting usually, but for high speed flash for freezing movement, I hire in Profoto lights which have a shorter flash duration. I always shoot RAW to give me the freedom to develop the images creatively later on – like shooting negative film. I found a load of old transparencies I shot of live performance recently. I must have been mad! It was a good learning curve but I want to be thinking about the image itself, not the technicalities when I’m shooting… 

LLO: How did you work your way through the industry to eventually become a freelance photographer?
AC: 
By working very long hours for several years for hardly any money!  I moved to London to work as a full-time photographer’s assistant, and whilst my high earning flatmates lived the high life, I slept on their floor, exhausted by the long hours, getting further into debt. I loved it though – I felt that I was the lucky one! Melvyn Vincent, the guy who employed me, was so supportive, inspiring and nurturing, I had a bit of a shock when I went freelance and realised the industry was so full of divas! I eventually ended up as the in-house photographer for Northern & Shell Publishing, shooting celebrities for them, but it wasn’t really for me. I’m more interested in real life and scratching below the surface. And I’m totally obsessed with dance photography too! 

Marianne, Dancer

LLO: As your alter ego Cici Darling, you have been a burlesque dancer for the past few years. Where are the best places to check out the burlesque scene in London?
AC: 
I started out performing at the Tournament of Tease at Bethnal Green Working Mens Club which is a launch night for new acts – I’d recommend it, they do male and female burlesque.  Volupte, a supperclub in Holborn is well-established and a fun night out, and Proud Cabaret in the city has recently opened to really good reviews. The London Burlesque Week is coming up too in April, organised by Chaz Royal. I’m performing at the VIP awards & closing party at Cafe de Paris – come and see me!

LLO: Which photo are you most proud of and why?
AC:
I don’t know why I like this picture so much, but I do. Isn’t that a great thing about photography? It’s communicating to you beyond words… He’s showing off and performing to the camera, dressed halfway between being Russell and his alter ego Russella, but there’s this sensitivity and vulnerability there. He’s feeling empowered by his make-up and the part transformation, but he’s still the contemplative boy from his real life…

Thanks Alicia!

For more of Alicia’s work, check out her website: www.aliciaclarke.com/

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Listen to a Londoner: Donna Hardie

Listen to a Londoner. This is a weekly post where people who live (or have lived for a while) in London answer a few questions about the Big Smoke. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk. Always looking for new volunteers!

Donna Hardie

Remember that recent post on Completely London magazine? I managed to get in touch with Donna – the editor of this new property publication that is cooler than your average property publication. She agreed to answer a few of my nosy questions. It’s a bit of a twist on the usual Listen to a Londoner posts, but she’s definitely a Londoner in the know! Here she talks about London’s secret river, tells us why Brockley is a cool place to live and lets us in on what to expect in the next issue of Completely London, out mid-February.

LLO: Completely London’s first issue is full of little London secrets. Which is your favourite? 
DH:
 For me it has to be the River Fleet that flows under the streets of London, including right underneath the Zetter hotel in Clerkenwell where I’ve often had breakfast, completely unaware of what was flowing right beneath my feet. It’s a piece of London that can be traced right back to Anglo-Saxon times – a tangible link to the city’s past. 

LLO: If you could move to any area of London, where would you choose and why?
DH:
Mmm, a tough one. If money were no object and I didn’t have to worry about how easy it is to get to work in east London, then I’d say somewhere pretty and village-like. Maybe Hampstead – a place that’s so chocolate-box perfect, you could actually be in a country village. But to be honest, I’m a confirmed south east Londoner, so I’m not sure how at home I’d feel north of the Thames (see our next issue where we challenge two readers to a north/south swap for 24 hours). I also think it would be fantastic to live in Shoreditch where I work so I wouldn’t have the morning commute. Maybe in an open-plan converted loft apartment with vaulted ceilings and a private roof terrace where my dog Bob could go out and play around. Shoreditch is buzzy, exciting and vibrant without the crowded chaos of the West End. I love the shady old Victorian streets in Spitalfields where Jack the Ripper lurked – there’s a very real sense of history all around you.

LLO: There are plenty of areas in London that are artsy and eclectic, but compromise safety. Others feel secure, but the vibe isn’t as fresh or exciting. Where can you find the best of both worlds? 
DH:
I’m obviously biased but where I live now in Brockley pretty much hits the mark. It hasn’t quite got there on the social scene yet – when I bought my house 10 years ago there, estate agents were already calling it ‘up and coming’. A decade down the line and it still hasn’t quite made it but there’s been a spattering of trendy coffee shops, delis and bars opening over the last few years which might mean Brockley’s turning a corner. It has enough going on locally though to make it feel lively – you can dip into the foodie scene of East Dulwich which is next door, or soak up the arty atmosphere of Deptford and New Cross just around the corner. Brockley itself is one place in London where houses are still reasonably priced, so it attracts a lot of young families to the area –  and for that reason there’s a safe sense of community. The East London line opens at Brockley station in June, and I’m sure when that happens, the area will be transformed, hopefully for the better, but it would be a shame if we had to compromise our sense of safety and community for the sake of a booming social scene. 

LLO: Any advice for incoming expats looking to let their first flat in London?
DH:
 Research your area thoroughly before you commit to renting. Websites such as upmystreet.com give you information on the schools are in the area, the kind of people who live there, the crime figures, the choice of entertainment on offer and more. And as word of mouth is invaluable, you should ask like-minded people who have already gone through the renting process for their advice. Search online for expat forums where you can get first-hand advice.

LLO: What can we look forward to in the Spring issue of Completely London?
DH:
 The theme of our next issue is ‘Change’. And we’ve got lots to pique your interest – ways to breathe new life into your social life, interviews with people who have undergone life-changing situations, a peek into homes that had a previous life, a look at London gems that steadfastly resist change and much more that will redefine your views on our great Capital.

Thanks Donna!

[Stop in any London branch of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward to pick up a free copy of Completely London….]

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.