East End Boys & West End Girls

It's all the rage in cold, cold January to mix things up and try something new. To 'renew' and to 'reset'.

But sometimes, in order to go forward, you need to go back a bit. A couple of steps at least.

I'd been on a bit of a photo break for December. I'm not sure why really - wasn't feeling it, not right situation or crap light or maybe it was all the mince pies, but to kick start 2019 and blow out the cobwebs, I thought a visit into town on a bright, sunny Tuesday might be just the ticket to get the photographic bones creaking back into action.

My stomping ground and subject was, as noted, nothing hugely new - the people and sights of the West End.

Neil Tennant once sang of 'too many shadows, whispering voices, faces on posters too many choices' and it still sums up the area today. Lots of people, lots of noise and plenty of opportunities.

You can't really go wrong from a street photography angle as all life is there - from the shoppers of Oxford Street with their Walter White hats, to the sneaker pimps of Carnaby Street to the cafe dwellers of Soho, there's a Londoner in a scene for all occasions.

Even though the 'seedy' nature of Soho over the years seems to have been outshone by new tech companies, avocado outlets and general gentrification, it's all still there - although at 11 am on a Tuesday it's mostly boarded up and smelling a bit dodgy from the night before. That's not to say there's no-one around though, as you'll see London waking up for its lunch with delivery vans, bakers and the odd man with a rolled-up carpet making their way along avoiding the Ubers.

It wasn't all strictly Soho though. As I had somewhere else to be, I meandered down past Parliment (avoiding the yellow jackets and decidedly useless politicians) to Embankment and across to the Southbank - always an excellent playground for the street shot - then in a roundabout way back up to Kensington and across Hyde Park - and it's glorious parakeets - in the fading light.

So, do I feel 'rebooted'? Well, unlike the Pet Shop Boys, my trip to the West End certainly didn't make me think I'd be better off dead or indeed kicking in chairs or knocking down tables, but it was relieving to get the 2019 photography hunt off to a good - renewed - start.

Tech Corner:

Sony A7R ii
Zeiss Batis 85mm