Monday, November 16, 2015

Lost in Chelsea

I went to the Science Museum in Kensington yesterday to see an exhibit by Alec Soth, an American photographer who I didn't know before but whose work I now admire. Soth has documented the lives of people in the Mississippi valley, hermits living "off the grid," lovers and erstwhile lovers in Niagara Falls, and Americans of all stripes, in large-scale, carefully composed photos of technical beauty. It was a fascinating show.

Before I went in, I wandered around South Kensington myself to take some of my own pictures. I was surprised to see Christmas decorations are already up, though I suppose I should expect that by now.

Jesus was handing out blessings at the Mormon church center on Exhibition Road...

...and the ceiling of the nearby Science Museum included a massive light fixture made of bicycles, which I thought my brother would appreciate.

After seeing Soth's work, I kept walking. I intended to make my way through Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Mayfair to meet Dave and our former neighbors, Chris and Linda, for dinner near Piccadilly Circus.

I passed Harrod's, which had this retro-girl-group themed window. But then somehow I got turned around and wound up walking south, deeper into Chelsea. (I almost never get lost, but the fact that it was dark and I was carrying only a mini A-Z, which has type too tiny for my tired eyes, left me in peril. I guess I'm getting to the age when I need to carry reading glasses!)

I wound up accidentally circling back to South Kensington, where I caught the tube to Hyde Park Corner. I then walked through Mayfair and into Soho.

The Christmas lights are up in Bond Street and Carnaby Street. (Yes, I know, I've used that focus-on-the-iPhone photo technique before). By chance I landed in the middle of a huge crowd gathered for the lighting of Regent Street. A jazzy band on stage played "Charade" and I stayed long enough to absorb the festive atmosphere and start to feel a little claustrophobic. I didn't wait for the lights to come on. I kept walking.

I finally met our dinner party at Zedel, a French Art Deco restaurant, and we had a fun evening. Chris declared the Regent Street lights looked like rubbish, so maybe it's a good thing I didn't stick around. But then, he proudly tends toward the cynical.

I was overdue for a photo walk, and now that the days are getting shorter, it was an opportunity to do some night photography!


  1. I love these night time shots! The energy about them is striking.
    And I'd never heard of Alex Soth. Why not? His work is amazing.
    Thanks for this post.

  2. I wondered what the Harrod's windows looked like. When I was there two years ago they had a bit of a luxury train trip theme going on. I love all your night shots. Ed's has certainly got some interesting lighting. I have never heard of Alex Soth either. I think I'll Google him and see what turns up.

  3. some great photos. Mormon Jesus probably wasn't blessing you though. the day after Halloween it was no holds barred christmas here with not even a nod to Thanksgiving. Probably because there is no money to be made for Thanksgiving, except for the grocers. I'm surprised they waited so long.

  4. Alex Soth has some powerful images. No wonder you enjoyed the exhibit.

  5. That last photo was amazing.
    The mention of Chelsea brought back memories. In the '60s, my father did a year at the Imperial Defense College. We lived just down from the Chelsea tube station and I would walk up to Knightsbridge to catch my bus to the American high school in Ruislip.

  6. Such a wide variety of shots -- Mormon Jesus was my favorite!

  7. jesus was a mormon, wow, who knew! Is London scaring you a little bit these days? Seems, in spite of cameras every where , that it is vulnerable. My friend who lives south of London said that the police there were packing heat. Really!

  8. I want to paint Ed's... It screams Hooper

  9. I want to paint Ed's... It screams Hooper