Snowy London

The grimy city streets of London transform under the yearly dusting of snow that has been known to pull the city to a halt. Things went pretty well this time around, unless you were at the airport, but we won’t talk about that tired topic. It’s warming up a tad here in London this week (at least temporarily), but I wanted to share a few photos with you that I took over our snowy weekend and a few that were contributed to the Flickr pool as well.

Friday night (not last Friday but the one before), Jorge and I wandered down to Sloane Square to see the gigantic Boris Bear that’s nearly twice as tall as me:

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The light was beautiful against the snow coating the sleek black benches.

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Fountains in the center of Sloane Square dripped with growing icicles, water spraying over the top of them.

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We wandered through the back streets to get there, noticing the way people interact with the snow, having a bit of fun. Here’s a car someone turned into a cat, for example:

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And of course a classic snow on a red English post box shot:

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I moved house during the weekend of snow so unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to go out and enjoy it. I spent most of the weekend dragging suitcases through it! I did however, pay a little visit to The Chelsea Gardener the next day to snap a few shots of snow on plants.

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The snow was still falling that day, so you can see the little flakes in the background. It was soft, pure and untouched.

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I love it when the seasons mix, when the leaves get covered in snow in the first breaths of Winter, or the snow settles on early blooming flowers.

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It reminds me of when the winter starts to thaw in New York, when the snow melts away and the sprigs of new hyacinths poke their leaves up from the ground. No hyacinths this day, but some pretty plants nonetheless.

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There was some rosemary…

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Some pussywillows…

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Some pretty orange hamamelis…

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And a garden pot with a perfect ring of white.

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After that, I made my way to King’s Road to pick up a few important storage organizers for my move and went back to work unpacking, but I spotted a fun snow-covered bicycle:

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And a fun little street scene involving a bus stop and a corner shop:

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Luckily there’s been plenty of additions to the Flickr pool to make up for my lack of exploring the city in the snow, so I’ll share a few of those with you below like these shots of the Tube, surprisingly working on most lines.

Train
Photo: Central Line by markdbaynham

Departing tube train
Photo: Departing Central Line by markdbaynham

Steve Reed found a snow covered palm.

Palm Snow
Photo: Palm Snow by Steve Reed

And a cafe with a crooked roof “where friends meet”.

La Bodega Cafe
Photo: La Bodega by Steve Reed

Alastair Humphreys walks over Westminster Bridge:

A wintry Big Ben in the snow
Photo: Wintry Big Ben in the Snow by Alastair Humphreys

Lastly, Andy Worthington is going to take us on a little tour! I love all of these ordinary London streets that show off the “real” London. Here we go, driving through Lewisham…

Lewisham Way in the snowPhoto: Lewisham Way in the Snow by Andy Worthington

Algiers Road is a quiet side road off Vicar’s Hill, the steep hill in the borough of Lewisham that runs down to Ladywell from Brockley:

Algiers Road, Ladywell
Photo: Algiers Road, Ladywell by Andy Worthington

Then he takes us down to Millmark Grove, a suburban road of 1930s houses off Shardeloes Road, in New Cross near Brockley.

Millmark Grove in deep snow
Photo: Millmark Grove by Andy Worthington

Then we swing by the junction of Malpas Road and Geoffrey Road in Brockley…

Snowy junction
Photo: Snowy junction by Andy Worthington

Then we head around Coulgate Street nearby:

Coulgate Street in the snow
Photo: Coulgate Street by Andy Worthington

And, by explanation from Andy, “This is the junction of Coulgate Street and Foxberry Road in Brockley near the station. The famous murals of Brockley are visible, on the walls of the MOT Centre that is scheduled for demolition, to be replaced by yet another faceless mixed-use development of overpriced housing and retail units that excites the developers (who stand to trouser a small fortune in the process) and the snobbish and out-of-touch enthusiasts for gentrification, but that appals everyone else.

Crossroads in the snow
Photo: Crossroads in the Snow by Andy Worthington

On Brockley’s St. Margaret’s Road, a traditional red phone box still stands:

London phone box
Photo: London Phone Box by Andy Worthington

Still in Brockley, Andy takes us up to the top of Hilly Fields:

The top of Hilly Fields in the snow
Photo: Hilly Fields by Andy Worthington

Don’t the trees look pretty lined in white?

Snow-clad trees
Photo: Snow-clad trees by Andy Worthington

Andy’s lived in this area of London for 13 years so he knows it well. He took his son to have a bit of fun on the hill.

Hilly Fields in the snow
Photo: Hilly Fields in the Snow by Andy Worthington

Anyone for a game of basketball?

The basketball pitch
Photo: The Basketball Pitch by Andy Worthington

This next one was shot from the footbridge over Elverson Road DLR:

Elverson Road in the snow
Photo: Elverson Road in the Snow by Andy Worthington

And finally, a snowscape, beside the railway in Ladywell as viewed from the road bridge on Ladywell Road, by Ladywell station:

Abstract snowscape
Photo: Abstract Snowscape by Andy Worthington

So, what do you think of the snow in London? Love it or hate it?

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London’s Snow Day

If you haven’t been stranded due to cancelled flights or stuck in the slow-moving traffic, you were probably enjoying the pretty snow falling over London on Saturday like me! Here’s a few photos from a little walk from Earl’s Court to Sloane Square…

I Want to Ride my Bicycle

Frozen Branches 2

Snow-Covered Branches

Christmas Market Eggs

Christmas Market Jam

Walking in the Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

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The lights are already sparkling in trees around London and strung across Regents Street and Oxford Street and many others. Shop window displays are spewing fake snow onto mannequins and Santa’s already in town to hear the children’s wishes. Jamiefraser1 added this snowglobe shot to Flickr pool over the weekend.

Hyde Park just opened up its Winter Wonderland so if you’re looking for something fun to do, they’ve got a huge ice rink, Christmas shows, rides and a giant observation wheel.

What are your favourite Winter in London activities? Anyone have any good recommendations to share?

London Art Spot: Tomasz Kulbowski

Tom’s photography is a comment on everyday life in this loud and bustling London city. “The decisive moment” is what he is most intent on capturing and that is exactly what he excels at doing. He’s an observer, a documentary photographer who focuses on the raw presentation of reality through his work – of Londoners on their daily commute, of moments of solitude and anonymity, of reflection and people lost in thought.

Originally from Lublin, Poland, Tom completed an MA in Culture and Psychology Studies at UMCS in his hometown before coming to London. He works as a corporate and event photographer with the Polish Embassy in London and Polish Professionals Association as well as being an official Getty Images contributor. His photography has been published in several online and print magazines and he has won a few awards including the Flora London Marathon Photography Award and the Panasonic Lumix Award.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Tom tells us about how London life – particularly his South Bank/Bankside neighbourhood – influences his photography, talks about his approach to his subjects and the challenge he constantly has to overcome and shares some of his favourite London shots.

LLO: How long have you lived in London and what brought you to this lively city?
TK:
I came to London first time 6 years ago and… didn’t like it really – was far too busy for me! But a year after that I received an interesting job offer so I decided to give London a second chance and it actually worked well. It’s my 5th year here and I’m still excited and surprised by this city. It’s a great place for a photographer – an endless source of inspiration with all the galleries, vibrant streets, amazing cityscape and interesting people from around the world. A great source of inspiration!

LLO: What influence has moving to London had on your approach to photography?
TK:
I’ve actually discovered “serious” photography in London – before moving here, I wasn’t thinking or reading too much about photography. Now it’s almost permanent: there’s no single day without at least a small activity related to the photography. Uploading photos to my Flickr account (http://flickr.com/klbw), reading about photography, thinking about new projects… I love it and it’s like a meditation to me, it keeps me sane and let’s me constantly progress in the photography field.

LLO: Favourite place in London to take your camera and why?
TK:
A lot of them, but the one I’m most familiar with is my neighbourhood: Bankside and South Bank area. I’ve spent there so much time with the camera, took thousands of photographs and I know that place so well, yet it still seems fresh and inspiring! It’s different at various seasons or time of day, there’s a lot of nice hidden places if you go away from the main touristy river bank route. Two of my ongoing projects are strongly related and sort of dedicated to that area.

LLO: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to get a great shot?
TK:
My photography style is not technically complicated or demanding in terms of equipment, I use a simple set of camera and standard lenses. Also I’m interested in documenting the reality in a possibly faithful and objective way (if possible at all with photography, but that’s a theme for another discussion). Therefore the challenges I encounter are usually related to my approach and general style of work. I work quickly and in “stealth” mode – I try not to disrupt people I photograph and do not influence the reality I want to capture. It’s important to be invisible to my objects, so I can get exactly the picture I see, and not the picture of their reaction to me. This is to me the essence of the photography: telling the stories that would exist if unframed by your eye and the camera. So basically my main challenge is finding the decisive moment without interacting with the reality I encounter.

LLO: You say you have a special focus on solitude in the crowd and anonymity in big city. How do you approach these topics with your camera? Are there specific elements you look for when you compose an image?
TK:
Issues of solitude and individuality in the crowd fascinate me and they are especially visible in the metropolis like London. My approach is not to portray pathology or a problem – it’s more about keeping individuality and appreciating yourself, finding your own space and time for yourself in this usually busy, fast and noisy city. My objects usually seem to be happy and in a right place, just where they want to be, spending time with themselves. I try to compose my objects isolated against the city background, usually I use a very shallow depth of field to achieve that. The city landscape is always there and it stays significant, but the person is my main focus – a leading character of the story.

LLO: Are there any London-based photographers you really admire?
TK:
Of course! I love to see London through the eyes of other photographers, it’s a great experience and exercise in seeing too. David Solomons, Nick Turpin, Matt Stuart, Stephen McLaren are some of my favourites. I like their approach to street photography: deep, smart and elegant but at the same time light and funny. Their imagination, observation skills and sense of decisive moment are impressive.

LLO: Share your favourite image of London that you’ve captured so far and tell us what makes it special to you.
TK:
It changes every now and then, but recently I really appreciated this picture: St Paul’s (http://www.flickr.com/photos/klbw/4588387091/). It was taken in the one and only snowy day last year at Bankside, next to the Millennium Bridge, overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral. I love the dreamy mood of the background and the dynamics of the foreground as well as the tiny detail like the bits of snow floating behind the bird. It’s simply composed and well timed. It’s not my typical photograph and probably not most typical capture of London either, but that’s the one that says a lot about my own vision of that city, not necessarily realistic.

LLO: What are you working on now?
TK:
I’m finishing two projects – one is the solitude/individuality in the metropolis that I’ve mentioned earlier – between 15 and 20 large colour prints. Another one is a collection of my street photographs taken within last few years in London. Both will be presented in a form of exhibition later this year, maybe a self-published book too. Meanwhile some of the photos are available to view on my website: www.kulbowski.com.

Thanks Tom!

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.