From Mile End to Bow and Stratford on a Summer’s Day, a set on Flickr.
This photo set, the 80th in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I began last May, is the second of three that precedes and follows on from a set I published last July, entitled, “The Olympics Minus One Day: Photos from the Frontline in Stratford” (and see here too), in which I cycled east from Whitechapel along the A11 — Mile End Road, which becomes Bow Road and crosses the A12 on the way to the Olympic Park along Stratford High Street. In the Olympics set I published in July, I then cycled up to Leyton, along the A12 at the north of the Olympic Park, and then back south via Hackney Wick, Old Ford, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, stopping in on Greenwich before returning home to Brockley.
Following the previous set, “Adventures in History: The Mile End Road,” in which I passed various historical landmarks on the way to Queen Mary, University of London and the Regent’s Canal, this set begins at the “green bridge” that crossed Mile End Road, and then traces my journey along Bow Road, past the derelict St. Clement’s Hospital, and other landmarks, to Bow Church, marooned on a traffic island, and the Bow Flyover, which vaults over the A12, where bikes were exempt from the Olympic traffic ban, and I had great views, from a highway that is never normally empty in the daytime, of the Olympic Park, the Lea Navigation (the River Lea), the A12 and the northern reaches of Bow and Stratford. Read the rest of this entry »
Consumer Overkill: Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, a set on Flickr.
On September 10, 2012, the BBC World Service gave me an excuse to photograph the West End of London, in all its garish consumer glory, after I had taken part in a news programme, discussing the potential handover of the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan to Afghan control — a topic I know something about as a result of the research and writing I have undertaken for the last seven years as a world expert on the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Afterwards, as I recorded in a previous photo set, Shops, Flags and the BBC: Regent Street in September, I cycled from the BBC’s newly redeveloped headquarters in Broadcasting House, down Regent Street, which, at the time, was still flying the flags of the world for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking in the shops, the shoppers, the building sites and the mad interchange with Oxford Street at Oxford Circus, and ending up, as this set shows, in Piccadilly Circus, from where I followed the tourist hordes down Coventry Street, across the top of Haymarket, and into Leicester Square, where the big cinema chains hold their premieres, where the fast food and the tourist paraphernalia are plentiful, and where the small park at the heart of Leicester Square received an extensive redesign in time for the Olympic Games. Read the rest of this entry »
Shops, Flags and the BBC: Regent Street in September, a set on Flickr.
Back in December, I promised to publish five photo sets from the 1,700 photos from September that I hadn’t had the time to make available at that time (out of the 7,300 photos of London that I have taken since last July, which are still unpublished — compared to the 1,500 I have already made available). I published three sets, Blue Skies and Golden Light: The River Thames in September, Top of the World: Nunhead Allotments, and the View from the Hill-Top Reservoir and Memories of Summer: Photos of the Thames Festival on London’s South Bank, and then it was Christmas and New Year, and I wanted to post some seasonal photos, and then, in swift succession, I travelled to the US to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo on the 11th anniversary of its opening, and returned home to a rare snowy interlude, followed by a massive protest to save Lewisham Hospital from being butchered by the government and the management of the NHS, and a visit to Brighton for another Guantánamo event. I have also just begun to post photos from New York, taken as part of my US trip.
Consequently, the publication of the fourth of those five sets from September has been delayed — until now. Dating from September 10, this set records a journey I made down Regent Street from Broadcasting House, the BBC’s headquarters in Portland Place, after I was asked to be a guest of the BBC World Service, on the “Newshour” programme with Robin Lustig, to discuss the plans for the handover of Bagram prison in Afghanistan from US to Afghan control. Read the rest of this entry »
Shops, Ships and Union Jacks: A Surreal Tour Around Canary Wharf, a set on Flickr.
This photo set — the 60th in my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike — is the last in a series of five sets recording a journey I made one sunny day in July, from my home in south London, through New Cross and Bermondsey by bike, across Tower Bridge, and up through Shadwell to Commercial Road, which I followed — with many fruitful deviations — along its whole length, to the junction where West India Road bears off towards Canary Wharf, and Commercial Road becomes East India Road.
As my camera battery had run out, but I couldn’t bear not having a working camera, I decided to find one in Canary Wharf, which was more difficult than I expected, as the shop I needed was some distance from where I parked my bike, through a series of shopping malls whose scale surprised me, as they now constitute another city entirely. Read the rest of this entry »
Pumpkins and Skeletons: Halloween in London, a set on Flickr.
As part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, I recently reached a small milestone, as the last set I uploaded, “The Open-Air Street Artists of Ashby Mews, Brockley,” was the 50th set I have uploaded since I began this project in May.
Those 50 sets contain my first 1,001 photos, and although it will take tens of thousands of photos to try and capture in any meaningful sense London’s streets and buildings, its houses, shops and offices, its parks and rivers, its skies and its forgotten places, and the movements of the people who bring these places to life or are crushed or belittled by them, in all 32 boroughs and the City of London, I have another 213 sets that I have photographed over the last three and a half months, but haven’t yet had the time to upload, containing over 4,500 more photos from the trips I have been making on an almost daily basis, so I do feel that I am making some meaningful progress. Read the rest of this entry »
The Road North: Tottenham Court Road to Camden, a set on Flickr.
On September 3, 2012, as part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, inspired by a journey from Triton Square through Fitzrovia to Oxford Street and Soho Square that I had taken just three days earlier, I returned to central London, to the giant Crossrail project that has currently devoured the junction where Oxford Street and New Oxford Street meet Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road (known as St. Giles Circus), and cycled north, up Tottenham Court Road, across Euston Road and up Hampstead Road to Camden Town.
Photos of Camden, and of the journey I took along the Regent’s Canal from Camden to King’s Cross, will follow soon, but this set focuses on the great artery north, technically the A400, that takes its name from a manor house just to the north west of the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, which, during the time of Henry III (1216–1272), belonged to William de Tottenhall. By the time of Elizabeth I, it was known as Tottenham Court, and now, as Tottenham Court Road, it is a busy shopping street, with electronics shops at the southern end and big furniture stores further north, although, as with most things to do with the retail environment, these certainties are generally in flux, and shops come and go with the whims of fashion, the ludicrous ease of internet shopping (consigning young people to work in warehouses in the middle of nowhere), and the state of the economy. Read the rest of this entry »
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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