Night Tube

 

Below are outtakes from a recent reportage & portrait series taking during the opening of the Night Tube along with fellow documentary photographer Joseph Fox. It is a big deal for Londoner's who have longed bemoaned New York's subways operating right through the night. Joseph photographed solely on the Central line, myself on the Victoria line, the only lines open until autumn. The quiet scenes as the morning rolled on were punctuated by marauding drinkers and couples passionately embracing. The carnival like atmosphere created an an environment that made people more up for being photographed. The complete story complete with interview was published by American Radio station PRI - www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-22/what-london-tube-looks-past-midnight

 

Brixton Black Lives Matter Protest

 

I accidentally stumbled across a Black Lives protest in the heart of Brixton last month. Considering the devastation it caused to the London traffic by shutting down a major junction, there was a good atmosphere in the air. Perhaps these South Londoners welcomed a break from the routine commuting ebb and flow, the police watched on from a far and for the brief moments I was there it seemed relatively calm.

 

Mamiya 7 II Test Roll

 

Last week I bought a Mamiya 7 II and took it for a rest run. I don't get that excited by cameras, they are just tools after all, but it’s hard not deny the rush of excitement when you have a new one in your hands and the creative possibilities appear endless.

To test it out I took the camera to the South East London emporium Khan's Bargains. Housed in a fading but fine art deco building, Khan’s offers a mind boggling range of things for your money. It's run by Akbar Khan and his disparate band of Afghani cousins. Having shot the range of products (from sewing kits to a special type fennel powder only produced in Afghanistan) for the Peckham Peculiar newspaper I’ve been meaning to go back to take some portraits ever since.

Here’s my idiosyncratic unscientific take on Mamiya 7 - The downsides are that it’s built like a tank, comically big. It is slow to use. It shoots medium format 6x7 negatives and so is expensive to use. The upsides are that it is slow to use. Ironically because it’s unusual looking its appears to intimidate less than your typical pro camera. I like that that it only covers one side of your face when your taking a portrait because it's a rangefinder. I like the colours from the Kodka Portra and the aspect ratio and perspective from 6x7 is just plain nice.

 

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Avenue of Stars

 

Last week I was shooting in Hong Kong and found time to slip away in the evening to the Avenue of Stars - a promenade in Kowloon modelled on the Hollywood Hall of Fame. I've been interested in the rise of the selfie and culture to project ourselves as celebrities for a while. This walkway was the perfect place to capture people photographing themselves with the intensity of the paparazzi - metres from the plaques honoring the greats of Chinese and Hong Kong cinema.

 

Camera Test / Soho Halloween

 

This series forms an unscientific camera test for the Nikon D800. When driving through London at night I made a little detour via Soho and took the camera around on a walk during Halloween, although it could be mistaken for any old Friday night on Old Compton Street. The camera was coupled with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI-S manual lens. I'm not sure what to say other than the camera is quite big, has a satisfying clunk sound when a picture is taken, and the files have more resolution and greater latitude between highlights and shadows than my Canon 5D Mark III.

 

Jaywick Revisited

 

I went back last month for the 10th year anniversary of the Jaywick Martello Tower which holds exhibitions throughout the year, including At The Water's Edge back in spring 2012. Unfortunately I could only find one of the people I photographed for the series, many seemed to have moved on. On returning back in London I went through the project and realised there were a few shots I didn't use that I liked. Hopefully give an indication of the real mix of personalities that live in this part of England, tucked away in the south eastern corner of Essex.

 

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Marginal Streets

 

Over the last couple of months I've been working on an election project called Marginal Streets with fellow photographer Joseph Fox. I had absolutely no idea how much enjoyable and effective it is working as a duo with another photographer.

The project was based on the discovery that England’s most marginal constituency from the 2010 general election was across the river in Hampstead and Kilburn. It would provide the perfect boundary for documenting a confused electorate, in what felt like Britain’s most uncertain election in our lifetime. We split the constiunecy in two with Joe focusing on the grittier western side, and myself on the plusher Hampstead streets. Originally conceived as a traditional documentary photography project to be published after the votes were cast, we thought it would be interesting to present the portraits daily in a blog format and distribute the images using social media throughout the ‘short election campaign’ - mimicking the constant stream of media coverage in the mainstream press but shifting the focus solely onto the voters, exposing their concerns and beliefs.

The project culminated with a street exhibition in the middle of the constituency. The pictures were taken on street, so it felt right to display them back on the street, rather than a traditional art gallery. The prints (which would not have been possible without our sponsor Papercolour) are still up and will last as long as they last.

 

Drenched Man

 

Below is a water based gif, that's a sentence I never thought I'd say. It is in fact the first gif I've made. I was messing around with these behind the scenes pictures from a Drench water commercial taken a few years back, and realised they'd make a good image sequence cutting from a series of wide shots to closeups. The advertising world never ceases to amaze me but you've got to hand it the actor, he handled it very well, like water off a duck's back.

 

Dorset Dawn

 

I've been meaning to scan these medium format negatives taken on a rusty Yashica 124g from last year. They were shot in the early morning, in an overgrown woodland in a dark Dorset valley that my uncle Edward Stone frequently paints in. I used the inbuilt light meter, which I'm blaming for underexposing the other shots I haven't uploaded. It was nice to compose the frame using a tripod for once in a while, which forces you fight your inner impulsiveness and impatience.