Through the lens here – Photographs in East London

I was taught photography basics with an SLR in my twenties when I worked with a lady whose husband was a professional. I was working in a bank at the time (which I did for 6 months) and by some quirk of things, we realised that her husband’s photography studio/shop was a couple of doors down from where I was living, in middle-England’s Leamington Spa.

She was quite a sharp-edged lady, who would occasionally look at the accounts of the Bank’s richest customers, casually reading me totals in millions that were in the their accounts, what they did etc. I had little intererst, I was doing one of the best jobs of my nascent post university ‘career’. I would sit at the Display Reader Encoder machine and type numbers in all day, at speed.

Lea Hall Rd (f2.8, 1/80, ISO1250)

And that’s basically all I would do, I barely had to speak to a colleague let alone customers. As a job, it had a zen-like quality that was rarely if ever replicated again.

However, during one of my interactions with this lady, she offered me a deal, her husband would give me camera lessons if I would impersonate a prospective groom to get the wedding deal prices of his big local rival. Unethical perhaps, but I played my part and gave Jaz (the photographer) his leg up that time and he showed me the rudiments which I enjoyed and appreciated. Over the proceeding three or four years I probably took upto 10 rolls of shots.

My interest at the time was so focused on music that photography had no pressure on it from myself, it was simply something that could be approached with a lightness. I was using a Ricoh SLR I had indirectly purloined from my brother which lasted four years before breaking.

Leabridge Rd (f22, 2.5″, ISO320)

At one point some of my photos were seen by a photo-journalist who told I should continue, but this was shortly before the camera broke and I had no money at the time to replace it – my focus remained on music.

Having no camera wasn’t a problem and in the next ten years, suddenly phones were cameras and most of the metrics and technical materials of photography had been subsumed into the convenience of pushing a ‘go’ button on your phone. It seems sometimes to occur that all of human development and ‘progress’ has been so that humans don’t have to personally do anything or know anything except how to push a button (the most minimal possible operation) to make for desired outcomes.


The edge of Epping Forest in the fog frost (f14, 1/40, ISO125)

Off and on over the years I’ve written or been involved with written film scripts, none of which had made it to production – but I had also had an interest in making short films guerrila style, probably since my early twenties when we’d shot some rough footage with friends. Although it was almost twenty years down the line, there arrived a point where I felt I might be able to buy a camera of sufficient quality to make something (anything at this point really).

Of course, by now I had forgotten most of anything I had learned and when I did in fact come to purchase a camera, a friend helped me by recommending a particular camera that I felt I could stretch to afford, the Sony A7iii, which came out in 2018. Although I bought the camera just before Covid and spent a lot of time researching once more in order to be able to shoot a short film. I have recently returned to learning more consistently about photography, through the school of Youtube.

Goldsmith Rd (f2.8, 1/200, ISO5000)

While I still consider myself, very much a beginner, I have enjoyed taking photos again with some intent over the last month when in London and at its outskirts, we had frost and snow and some beautiful opportunities to shoot came about.


Morpheo (f10, 1/40, ISO125)

All of these shots are from 11th and 12th of December this year (2022) on the Sony A7iii with a Tamron 28-75mm lens. I have done a bit of colour and tone balancing in photoshop.

Epping Forest frost mist (f10, 1/13, ISO125)