Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Street Art Tour

Yesterday, as I mentioned, I helped lead a group of eighth-grade students on a street photography expedition in East London. I first did this last year, at the invitation of some of the eighth-grade teachers who know of my enthusiasm for photography, when we were fortunate to have a bright sunny day. This year, we weren't so lucky in the weather department -- but we did have the added benefit of a more organized itinerary. We took a street art tour with a professional guide, who talked about the artists and their work.

Before we even left school I talked to the kids about how to compose photographs, and I emphasized that although light is the essential ingredient for photography, it's perfectly possible to take good photos in the rain!

We saw lots of street art, some of it very big...

...and some of it much smaller. (That's not a personal message to any of you, by the way.)

I think the kids got a kick out of the artists' sense of humor, and our guide, Daphne, was interesting and very knowledgeable.

The students were also on the lookout for good street photography opportunities, and occasionally we saw some interesting characters...

...although it seemed to me that most of the kids were photographing each other. Which is to be expected.

The rain held off all morning, but just before lunch it began to really pour. We turned the kids loose for an hour to get their own food and I and my two fellow chaperones ducked into a bizarre little restaurant that only served three styles of grilled cheese sandwiches. I had a mac n' cheese sandwich, which is exactly what it sounds like. It may be the first time I've eaten pasta on bread. (No different from eating spaghetti with garlic bread, I suppose.)

Then we reconvened and headed back to school. The students found it hilarious when one of their teachers was serenaded on the tube by a very drunk, but apparently harmless, old man singing "Tonight's the Night." Urban adventures!

We got back just in time for the school day to end. I completed my regular shift in the library, but by the time I left at 5 p.m. I was exhausted! I came home, cleaned up the house a bit, watched the final episode of "Brideshead Revisited" and went to bed.


  1. A wonderful day, and I'm sure the kids loved it...will you put some of their photos on display?

  2. I am flabbergasted that the children were allowed off the leash at lunchtime! What if one of them had had an accident, got beaten up or worse? Who would have been judged responsible in the eyes of the parents, the school management and possibly the police?

  3. Oh goodness, Yorkshire! They were in their own town, not war-torn Nicaragua!
    I think that sounds like an incredible outing. But yes- extremely exhausting. Mac and cheese sandwich? Well. Hmmmm. Okay. Was it good?

  4. E: I don't think so. They own their copyrights!

    YP: I responded on your blog, but I'll post my response here for the benefit of my readers: "Part of our trip has traditionally involved giving the kids an hour on their own to eat and do photography. They're given a short leash in terms of geographical area, and they all have a way to contact us -- we could be with them in minutes should any problems arise. I'm not an architect of the trip's design but I think the feeling is that we should encourage a degree of exploration and independence. No one goes alone; they're all in small groups."

    Ms Moon: It was okay. Too much bacon for my taste. (Yes, there was bacon. Could it GET any less healthy?)

  5. Ms Moon - I know what you are saying but there are many rules and regulations about school trips these days. For example, supervisory staff have to submit risk analyses ahead of any school trip. Many teachers no longer organise school trips because of legal implications and all the hassle that precedes a trip including gathering written permission slips from parents, insurance etc.. London is hardly a town, it is a massive bustling city where there are dangers for unsupervised children. I speak as someone who organised more than a hundred school trips during my teaching career - to libraries, sports events, theatres, museums, woodland walks, university lectures, exhibitions and industrial premises.

  6. I don't believe we did anything beyond what was approved and described. It all worked out fine. These kids live here, so they know how to conduct themselves. And they'e almost in high school.

  7. Those are wonderful pieces of street art. The "don't shoot" one is impressive just by the repetition of the figures; they look identical - but wouldn't they be freehand?

    I've always wondered why garlic bread is such a staple of pasta meals. Never could figure it out. And now ... mac & cheese grilled sandwich ... very carb-y :) I must say I'm curious enough to have tried it, though.

  8. Of course, 99 times out of a hundred nothing untoward will happen on a school trip - even when there are periods without supervision - but if something were to go wrong then there'd be hell to pay. The fact they are Londoners seems quite irrelevant to me but now I shall say no more on the matter.

  9. You found some interesting street art to photograph. I love the last shot with the guy walking by. It's hard to get shots like that in Phoenix where there are so few pedestrians. Mac & cheese sandwich, you certainly got your carbs.

  10. love the kimono girl. and mac and cheese sandwich? ick. i suspect they won't be around long. gimmicks can only take you so far.

  11. I think kids learn much more than we think when we take them on field trips. sometimes field trips are a pain to organize but they're worth it. We put too much emphasis on classroom instruction.

  12. Fabulous!!

    Is that the dog walker who announces cat walking on April 1?

    And the last photo is my idea of a signature Steve Reed photograph.

    Not entering into the hot topic debate of kids on school excursions lol.

    Ms Arianna Soup.

  13. Superb!
    Here in Stavanger we have quite a few walls artistically decorated, by artists.
    Stavanger is not far from London:)