Sunday, August 31, 2014

Inevitably, More Sore Feet

Wow! Yesterday was a marathon of street photography for Bleeding London.

First, I took Olga for an early-morning walk and polished off a handful of forgotten streets near our flat -- another step on my endless quest to photograph every street in our postcode, NW6.

Then, at 10 a.m., I took an overground train and the tube out to far east London, to Woodford, which had not been photographed at all. There I met up with Susi, the woman I know from Flickr who introduced me to the project, and her husband Greg. We had coffee at a Costa coffee shop where we got to know each other a bit. Then we set out, Susi and Greg going in one direction and I the other. (We were in the IG8 postcode, for those of you keeping track of such things.)

It was a somewhat suburban area, with detached and semi-detached housing. Lots of cars and garages. Many of the streets I photographed were no more than cul-de-sacs, barely big enough to turn around in, which inevitably led to photos like this (above). Not terrible, but not exactly inspiring.

Occasionally I got luckier and found a quirky street feature or an interesting person, like the running girl in the top photo.

This (above) was the lamest picture of the morning. I really try to not just photograph a street sign. I hoped the hollyhock would redeem it a bit, but I'm not sure.

I walked for two hours in and around Woodford before reuniting with Susi and Greg for lunch. Then they headed back to central London, but I pressed on to the equally ignored E4 postcode, slightly to the west. I took a bus toward Chingford and got off at the wonderfully named Friday Hill, and walked southward to the Highams Park train station.

More suburbia. Lots of cats.

If there's one frustration I have with this project -- aside from the fact that not nearly enough photographers are participating -- it's that the content of the photos tends to be repetitive, at least in my case. After all, on an average residential street, you're pretty much confined to photographing the outside of houses. And what do people leave outside? Cars, garbage bins, cats, flower gardens, lawn or patio ornaments -- kind of the same stuff over and over. I try to shake things up a bit but it's a challenge.

There's always the occasional odd piece of street art.

By the end of the day, when I took a bus, the tube and two overground trains to get home, I'd photographed 43 streets in Woodford and 27 in lower Chingford. That's definitely a record for me!

By the way, I don't know if I've mentioned this, but you can browse all the photos here. Mousing over the images shows the location and photographer's name. You can't search for specific streets or photographers, but you can sort by postcode using the drop-down menu at the top. You can see the photos from me, Greg and Susi by sorting for the IG postcode.

Or you may be happy with what I've put on the blog, which is fine too!


  1. Fantastic! The running girl is great. And the cul-de-sac, like a fanfare.

    The cat amongst the bricks! Great pictures.

    You may think they're repetitive, but for people who know these areas, each one would be special, even pics of street signs.

    I wonder why the rush? Why do you have to finish this project by November? The fact that you're not finding these pics interesting makes me wonder if you're burning out. That never works for artists. Many have tried. It never works out well.

  2. I love the cul-de-sac. Like Reya said, it's a fanfare.
    But I can see how after a while, you could get burned out. It's not exactly like your usual photography in that you get to pick and choose your subject matter, being dictated by a design, a color, a bystander.
    This is more prosaic but, important too. And adding an artist's eye to the project makes it so much better.

  3. setting a task, however much you want it to stay artistic eventually just becomes a task. but I'm enjoying the pics you post.

  4. I clicked on that link and loved looking at all those photos. I especially liked one you took (IG8 Kingsway) with the two grand lion statues almost completely obscured in the weeds.
    Looking at them made me think of the street shots I took last November when I was there, especially the ones I took way out in Amersham when I rode that tube line to the end.

  5. Love, love, love the old stone and the cat. Great shot.

  6. you can't overphotograph cats...

  7. you can't overphotograph cats...

  8. Delicious photos! The brinks and cat has to be my fave, and the girl running. We are one street down from another Hawthorn road, without the "E".

  9. Hi Steve,
    I am visiting you via Linda Sue and just wanted to say hi! I have been inspired by you to join in the Bleeding London project. I had not heard of it-or the novel-not looking at the right things obviously! But having looked into it I love the idea and also noticed that Charlton is pretty unrepresented so far. I have been out today in Charlton and Woolwich, and even spoke to some people! So thanks for making me aware of the whole thing-if inadvertently!