Notting Hill Carnival Photos

Notting Hill Carnival is one of those things you must experience once in your lifetime. It’s brilliant to see all of the colourful, vibrant costumes and get caught up in the atmosphere.

Usually though, once is enough, unless you a) live within walking distance b) know someone who lives nearby who will let you use their loo and hang out on their balcony until the crowds disperse or c) are just feeling a bit crazy and don’t mind being packed into the tube and the claustrophobia of crowds similar to those Oxford Street Christmas shoppers but with more chaos and fewer bags.

Photo by derRuedi

I skipped it this year, but it is, of course, brilliant for photography and there’s some great photos coming in to the Flickr pool that I want
to share with you!

Notting Hill Carnival
Photo by robhonda1

Notting Hill Carnival
Photo by robhonda1

Notting Hill Carnival
Photo by robhonda1

Photo by maccymacx

Notting Hill Carnival 2012 - Children's Day (Sunday)
Photo by fabiolug

Crap Sign, Carnival
Photo by mrdamcgowan

Chocolate smile
Photo by albertlondon

Photo by mrdamcgowan

Notting Hill Carnival - 2012
Photo by Pixel_peeper

Pensive Barbie
Photo by MauScaMe

Check out the feathers
Photo by KISS FM UK

Photo by dexout

Photo by dexout

Photo by dexout

Photo by dexout

Notting Hill Carnival 2012
Photo by mnadi

Notting Hill Carnival 2012
Photo by mnadi

NHC 20
Photo by DancesWithLight

Notting Hill festival Photo by bayek

So did you go to Carnival this year? Did you participate? What did you think? How did it compare to other years? 

London Art Spot: Marcus Riccoboni


In the spirit of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marcus Riccoboni, 34, walks the streets of London with a not-quite-identifiable Lomo camera, capturing ordinary people in extraordinarily beautiful moments. He’s been at it since he was a child, making his first print at the age of 10 with an enlarger his father bought from a jumble sale.

His work these days is all about street photography, about capturing people in a precise moment, an instant that then becomes unforgettable, frozen in time.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Marcus reminds us why London is one of the most amazing cities in the world (in case you forgot), talks a bit about how being colourblind effects his photography and shares his admiration for some brilliant photographers who have influenced his work. 

LLO: Give us the basics first – Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what brought you to this lively city?
I’m originally from Cliftonville: a small, quiet place on the Kent coast – it’s a little run down these days and there’s not a lot going on. The nearest town is called Margate, which is known for amusement arcades, candy floss, and kiss-me-quick hats. I couldn’t wait to escape the area when I was young, so when I had the opportunity to go to university in London I jumped at the chance. That was in 1995 and I’ve been living here since.

LLO: How does living in London influence your approach to photography?
London’s fantastic – the most diverse capital city in the world.  There’s so much going; it’s an all you can eat buffet for photographers.  London gives me the opportunity to make random images of truly interesting people and events: one minute I can be strolling along Oxford Street, taking in the rush of shoppers and the next I’ll turn a corner and find myself in the middle of thousands of Sikhs marching in a demonstration down Park Lane. It’s easy to take London for granted; every now and then I like to stop and remind myself how fortunate I am to be living here.

LLO: Why do you prefer black and white images over colour?
I’m colourblind: I’m unable to differentiate between red, green and brown. Apparently the world looks muddy to me when compared to a normal sighted person. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying photography as I appreciate other visual qualities like shapes and shades. By removing the colour and shooting in black and white, it helps focus the viewer’s attention on what caught my eye in the first place. Either that or maybe I’m just pretentious!

LLO: When shooting street photographs, what elements do you look for while composing a shot?
Normally I just work on gut and wait until I see something that feels right. I do, however, look for a number of elements: an interesting scene (a quirky individual or an unusual combination of subjects), composing the frame so that they form a harmonious structure and finally the all-important ‘blink and you miss it moment’ when the subject’s expression or posture changes to make the shot.

LLO: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get a great photo?
Self-confidence: I’m naturally a shy person, so the thought of walking up to a random stranger in the street and taking their photograph was terrifying. Sometimes it still is, although I’ve learnt that if you act as if you should be taking the photograph, it improves the dynamic between you and the subject. Very rarely do people get upset and a brief nod and a smile go a long way to diffuse any difficult situations.

LLO: With images of Brian Haw and Notting Hill Carnival on your new blog, it looks like you’re into a documentary type of photography, images that tell a story or capture a bit of history. Can you elaborate on your love of photographing people and the type of images you’re aiming to capture? 
I like people but staged portraits rarely do it for me, so ‘street’ style of photography really suits. It all started when I saw an image by Henri Cartier-Bresson: it was of a young boy in Paris, walking along Rue Mouffetard, holding two bottles of wine – I loved the expression on his face. I soon found myself at the library viewing books of images made by Cartier-Bresson and others like Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and Willy Ronis. Running through them all was a common thread; the amazing ability to capture ordinary people, in ordinary situations at a moment in time that made the image far from ordinary. It’s all about that decisive moment: the split second when a raised eyebrow or sideways glance transforms an image into something special. I was hooked and have been trying to do the same since.

LLO: Which type of Lomo camera do you have? What are the advantages over a DSLR? And where in London would you most love to take it to experiment?
I believe it’s a Lomo LC-A, although I can’t be sure as it’s Russian and I can’t read the Cyrillic lettering on the camera. Anyway, it’s small, easy to carry and very inconspicuous – perfect.  People hardly notice when I’m using it; I simply load it with old film and shoot.  The Lomo has an almost magical ability to help me take photographs when the technical complexities of using a supposedly more accomplished camera would otherwise get in the way.  I’m planning to use if for my next project: photographing the meat traders at Smithfield market.

LLO: Elaborate on your upcoming Smithfield meat traders project. 
MR: Smithfield has been operating since 1868 and it’s the only remaining great London market that hasn’t been moved out of central town.  Although the place oozes history, it’s still a fully functioning market which means there should be plenty of contrast between old and new for the project. There have been numerous attempts to redevelop the area so I’m keen to document the place and the people who work there before it disappears. It will mean a few early mornings as the market opens at 4am, but I’m sure the pictures will more than make up for that.   I expect it to be great fun: full of quirky characters bustling around in an interesting setting. I’m even thinking of doing it in colour, which would be a first for me.  I can’t wait to get started.

LLO: What are your thoughts on post-processing in Photoshop or other editing software?
A lot of people get in a twist about this one – there are some real militants when it comes to the subject of image manipulation. People seem to forget that the photographer is manipulating the image from the moment they take the decision about which lens, filter or film to use.  Personally, I think it all depends: if the image is to be used for journalism, it should be left untouched as an accurate record of events. Otherwise, I’m more than happy to dodge, burn, crop and change the contrast or exposure of an image – any process that could be done in a darkroom. As soon as anything that wasn’t there is added or an artifact is removed, then it’s a different ball game – it becomes art – which is fine, just don’t call it photography.

LLO: Favourite London-based artists? 
Matt Stuart ( – perfect timing and an ability to just ‘see’.
Nick Turpin ( – I love the way he frames his work.
Sean McDonnell ( – breaks all the rules and still makes great pictures.

Thanks Marcus!

For more about Marcus and his work, see his website:

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Listen to a Londoner: Sue Hillman

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview post with people who live (or have lived for a while) in London. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at Always looking for new volunteers.

Sue Hillman, 52 

Sue runs her own travel company for visitors to London offering tailor made tours and has lived in London for over 30 years. Before that, she worked in HR at the BBC for 18 good years but felt the need to  try a different throw of the dice. She loves to travel and has notched up 50 countries so far but London is her favourite city in the world!

LLO: Having lived in London for 30 years, what dramatic or noticeable changes have you seen in that time?
So much has changed, but I guess one of the biggest turnarounds has been the South Bank which was a not somewhere I used to go at all. Now there are loads of bars and restaurants, the Globe, the Tate Modern, City Hall, the restored warehouse buildings, the Millennium Bridge and, of course, the London Eye.

LLO: Tell us a bit about your website, It’s Your London.
We design and organise tailor made tours of London for small groups. It’s a personal service and each visit is built around what my visitors want to do and see at the pace they want.  We take all the hard work out of visiting London and arrange the itinerary, the entry tickets and make sure we get to the right places at the right time, not wasting any time but not being rushed either. It’s great fun for all concerned.

LLO: What would you consider “your London”; where do you love spend a free day? 
I love being around the Thames on a fine day as the views are so beautiful – especially good is a walk from Westminster Bridge through to Tower Bridge. I’m also a museum buff so any excuse to go into the British Museum and travel the world ancient and more modern in a few hours is always a treat. Being a linguist, the Rosetta Stone is a big draw for me. A free day would have to include trying out a new bar or restaurant – or both! I love to find out the new in London. It’s such a vibrant city, there’s always something.

LLO: What’s the most unique itinerary you’ve been asked to create for a customer?
Some examples of what I’ve been asked for are: a tour of East End rag trade to see its history and Jewish roots, a photo opportunity in front of the Stock Exchange, to see a court in session at the Royal Courts of Justice, afternoon tea in Buckingham Palace (luckily not with the Queen!),  a tour just of up-and-coming fashion designers with the chance to meet and talk with them. There was also talk of a tour of iconic London gay men’s homes, but only those already dead! Often people don’t realise how big London is and want to pop Windsor into a full day tour of central London. They’ve not experienced our traffic….

LLO: If you were approached by a magazine photographer who wanted to find the most colourful and unusual parts of the city, what sort of itinerary would you create?
Best for visuals are views along the Thames, the streets of coloured houses in Notting Hill (I’m biased, but it is lovely!), views from the top of the Park Lane Hilton and from the London Eye. Unusual shots are easy to find by just turning off a main road in most places. I like the streets around Borough Market towards the river and the mews streets of London where you can just imagine the horses and carriages pulling in. There is one in South Kensington where the horses were kept up on the the second storey and you can see the walkways they went up – again an amazing image.

LLO: What’s your favourite London “discovery”?
Every time I find a new place/bar/restaurant I get excited. I’m very bad at picking favourites but most recent discovery were pigs in the middle of Holland Park in the swanky W11 postcode. Huge pigs living just next to where the open air opera is performed in the summer, who’d have thought that possible! 

LLO: What’s the best thing about living in your postcode?
Portobello Road and the fun of wandering up and down any day of the week to see how it changes. There are so many great little shops, bars and restaurants, it’s never dull. The whole area is beautiful with its terraces of white stucco houses and garden squares forming green oases. One more thing – as it’s so central, my friends can get here easily to visit so I see them far more often than when I lived further out. Then there’s always the fun of celebrity spotting. I saw Kate Moss yesterday!

LLO: You’ve recently returned from a month in Southern Africa. Where in London can we find a bit of African culture?
The British Museum has a huge number of African items and currently they have a major exhibition called Kingdom of Ife which has ‘exquisite examples of brass, copper, stone and terracotta sculpture from West Africa’, they tell us. Food is an important aspect of African culture and there is everything from the top end Moroccan restaurant Momo through to Lalibela, an Ethiopian restaurant where you can sit in traditional style to eat authentic cuisine, to the amazing Caribbean and African food stalls at the Notting Hill Carnival when the area enjoys a mad, mad weekend!  Then there are markets.  Try Brick Lane and Petticoat Lane and you never know what you’ll find. There’s Brixton market for African produce.

LLO: Favourite London pub or restaurant?
So many to choose from! I’m very fond of many of the places round my area and for the warmest welcome, I’d have to say Aphrodite on Hereford Road.  The Electric Brasserie on Portobello is pretty cool any time of day and El Pirata de Tapas is a favourite with my mates who come to stay with me.  At the upper end, I like Momo as it feels like an evening in Morocco, Maze has wonderful small plates of intense flavour, the Ledbury has Michelin-star French cooking and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is a real treat. Stop me now or I’ll go on for the rest of the page!!

Thanks Sue!  

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.