Deptford and Greenwich, May 2012, a set on Flickr.
The latest set of photos I have posted to my new Flickr account is something of a departure for me, after my three US photosets and a UK protest set: the first instalment of a regular, ongoing series in which my intention is to visit — by bike — as much of London as possible, and to photograph whatever takes my interest: trees, rivers, skies, architecture and street art, derelict places, industrial sites, decay, hubris, forgotten corners and unusual juxtapositions.
I have been a cyclist from an early age, and first began taking photos around the age of 17, a passion that I let slip for many years, after my last analogue camera gave up the ghost, and that I did not renew — apart from regularly hijacking my wife’s camera on holidays — until she bought me a digital camera at Christmas: the small and attractive Canon Ixus 115 HS.
On May 11, when the sun started shining after the wettest spring in living memory, I found myself unable to stay indoors, and began to cycle — at first, as this set shows, down the hill from my home in Brockley, in south east London, to Greenwich and Deptford, and, as future sets will reveal, also around Brockley, Lewisham, Hither Green, Lee, Catford, to Forest Hill and on to Dulwich, and along the Thames north and south of the river.
My intention is eventually to branch out and to cycle the whole of London, although that is dependent on there being a wealth of sunny weather, and on having enough time to balance my writing with what I have discovered is a need for exercise and also for exploring my creativity through visual means. It is a journey of discovery — or discoveries — for me, and I hope you enjoy the ride.
There’s hopefully something for everyone — from the restored Cutty Sark in Greenwich, where the Navy’s biggest warship was briefly moored as part of the militaristic run-up to the Olympics, to Deptford Creek, where pockets of industry still survive the encroachment of huge riverside housing developments, offering “lifestyle choices” at colossal expense, and where sly street artists post ironic and satirical commentary on the cruelty and hypocrisy of the times that most of us are being obliged to endure. I have a particular fondness for the image of David Cameron, which was just a few inches high, but was completely captivating — and, I believe, expresses a truth about what it really means to decide to crush the welfare state, and to return to the Victorian notions of the “deserving poor” and the “undeserving poor” that led to eugenics, and, eventually, to the social “solutions” of Adolf Hitler.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Thanks, George. I will check it out. I’m being reminded also of psychogeography, and of the work of Iain Sinclair, which is taking me back full circle, as my first ever public event as a speaker was in the autumn of 2002, at an event in London called Megalithomania, organized by Neil Mortimer of 3rd Stone magazine and Mark Pilkington of Strange Attractor, where I spoke about the history of the Stonehenge Free Festival, and Iain Sinclair spoke about his book “London Orbital.”
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
That’s great. Mytho and Sinclair have a lot in common. Maybe one group by now.
Thanks again, George. I’m particularly enjoying this new project of mine – cycling and photographing London on a kind of intuitive level. It very obviously reflects my politics in one way, but it also works in terms of emotional responses to the various locations and neighbourhoods of London, as well as mixing up the known and familiar (after 27 years living here, and with memories in sometimes unlikely places) with the completely unknown and surprising.
Ann Alexander wrote:
Great idea, Andy. I have been enjoying the BBC’s programmes on the streets of London. No doubt you’ve been watching them too. The final one is on this evening on BBC2. BBC have recently broadcast documentaries on Billingsgate Market etc and these have been very enlightening too. Next time I come to London I will hire a tandem and you can take me with you.
Ann Alexander wrote:
Tried to comment on your photos but seems I have to have a Yahoo account to do so. Loved the painting of David Cameron as a Nazi. One to cut and paste I think.
Please do cut and paste it and distribute it far and wide, Ann! As for Yahoo, you should be able to sign up using your Facebook account without having to complete a brand-new registration. And the tandem idea is great. Let’s do it!
I’ve also been interested in the programmes on London, even though it’s depressing to realize how – with the exception of people like Joseph Rowntree, whose research helped to establish the welfare state – much of this mapping of the rich and poor only fuelled class-based prejudice and much of the dreadful town planning of the post-war period.
George Kenneth Berger wrote:
I enjoy being in a new city, having to meet a friend somewhere, pointing myself in the (hopefully) right direction, and then walking there. If I wander off, so much the better.
Rupert Williams wrote:
Thanks, Rupert. Good to hear from you. And yes, George, wandering and very possibly getting lost has an important function that is obviously under threat in the smartphone era, when the temptation is to have an app for everything.
Carol Anne Grayson wrote:
Take photos of Israeli drones during Olympics lol…
“Drones, Israeli surveillance tech to be used during London Olympic games”
I’ll look out for them, Carol, although fortunately I won’t be here for the first five days of the Games. For the rest, however, I do intend to get out and about on my bike, if only to see what a British police state would look like.
Carol Anne Grayson wrote:
Good lol… re police state… I will send you a list of words that you must not say near an Olympic venue lol… and don’t joke about b***** whatever you do…unless you want a long court case..
“Airport tweet case back in court”
Thanks again, Carol. Yes, it’s going to be interesting. Hopefully there will be lots of people trying to be mildly irritating.
My friend Ruth Gilburt posted “Nazi David Cameron” and wrote:
I hope you don’t mind me sharing this…………….x
Lucy Jones wrote:
I nicked it too!!!!
Olie Martin wrote:
I don’t know if its the excess of caffeine I’ve had but looking at any image of David Cameron is making me feel nauseas! x
Sarah Hyde wrote:
we all have an ideal body image, god help us if he sees this, it’ll give him ideas…….
Olie Martin wrote:
I think that’s just what he looks like if you take the airbrush away
Go ahead and share, Ruth and Lucy and whoever wants to. That’s how the internet works, isn’t it? And especially when it comes to anything that might help illuminate the true nature of the Tories …
Marcus Knight wrote:
its not a Nazi state though is it? its a slightly disaffected democracy this is a very poorly thought through and researched piece of litter misinformation directed at the less than informed nationals who have become the victims of poor teaching in a country that uses fear as a form of peer pressure, shall we all enjoy using our vote freely on the way to the shops in a couple of years, or insult the millions who died in Europe 70 years ago and the hundreds of millions who have died under true dictatorship? Grow up and Read On!
Oh, and that true nature of the Tories, Marcus – which is why I don’t publicise this photo lightly – is one that is dedicated to maligning the poor, the young, the ill and the disabled as work-shy scroungers. People are encouraged to be spiteful and mean by the tabloids, and disabled people have started being picked on by those seeking a scapegoat. How do you think the Nazis began? This government openly talks of the “deserving poor” and “undeserving poor,” Iain Duncan Smith believes the poor are responsible for their own poverty, and this is exactly the type of thinking that fuelled Social Darwinism and eugenics and that led to the gas chambers. You either have a modern democracy with safety nets, or you have something much darker and more dangerous – a government that is starting to shed its responsibilities to the population as a whole. That’s what we have in office now, and it’s not simply a matter of a mild quibble about how they might be doing things slightly differently. These people actually want to eliminate the state provision of all the services that have been built up since the Victorians, and to privatise everything – schools, health, housing, the police, you name it …
[…] Photos on Flickr: Deptford and Greenwich, May 2012 | Andy WorthingtonSource:http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2012/06/27/my-photos-on-flickr-deptford-and-greenwich-may-2012/ Publicado por Becky en […]
On Digg, cosmicsurfer wrote:
Good work, Andy – impressed with the art. As usual, you are finding the issue that isn’t put out for general consumption.
Not to mention the beauty in the decay itself
Thanks for the supportive words, cosmicsurfer.
Jennah Solace wrote:
NICE! I really must visit Greenwich one of these days! I really like these photos a lot. Good job!
Well, thank you, Jennah. I hope to see you in Greenwich one of these days …
Writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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