Brick Lane is Cool

Brick Lane is Cool. Fact. I ventured there on Saturday, in freezing temperatures, ready to battle the elusive and excitedly exaggerated blizzard which, shockingly, failed to materialise. It’s only the second time I’ve been to Brick Lane. Sacrilege, some would say, for one claiming to be interested in photography. Perhaps. However, it’s notoriety means that frustratingly, little is left to the imagination. After excitedly spotting a graffiti artist putting down the bones of his new work on a rare area of plain wall, I stopped to take some shots. Within seconds I lifted my head and realised I was surrounded by at least 6 others doing the same. At that point I become a tourist, not a photographer.

If you live or work in London, who wants to take photos of Big Ben or the Lions at Trafalgar Square? The exploration of areas that others don’t notice or don’t know about is what interests me; creating intriguing visuals from things people wouldn’t generally even register – a splash of water on a pavement, patterns of light created by ordinary mesh fences. As I’ve said before, I’m fascinated by details. The way a close-up shot of something seemingly banal can, with the right lighting or contrast, become filled with depth and meaning.

Don’t think I’m demeaning the area’s attractions. Far from it. Like I said earlier, it’s Cool (with a capital C). Each footstep reveals yet more astounding street art, you can’t move for the vintage markets and the famous Indian restaurant touts don’t disappoint with their charmingly smarmy inducements. But it’s already there. You never feel like you’re taking an original image. How many photographs are there of the giant stork for instance? Even to photograph the defaced image of the queen meant I had to wait while someone else completed their shot. Kind of takes the magical discovery out of it, right?

Saying all this, I still managed to capture some images I was happy with, despite my frozen fingers, and the results are below – hope you enjoy!

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