Recently, I was asked if I would ever return to the style of #photography that made up the bulk of my earlier work prior to joining the Underground. I look at these pictures I took at #BakerStreet back in 2006, and I find it hard to say that I could or would.
I took this at #LambethNorth back on New Year's Day'07 - it still haunts me. People ask me who/what my inspiration was back then. I'd say Bob Mazzer (LU photos from the '70s) or Travis Ruse (a guy that photographed his daily commute on the NY Subway).
I switched over to film for a little while in the mid-2000s, because I thought I was edgy... and because I thought it would make the Underground seem that bit more "gritty" (which I liked).
Over time (and when I joined London Underground), I actually began to prefer focusing on the trains, stations, and other bits and pieces (which stood me in good stead for photographing on-site in later life).
At one point, my colleagues got so used to me fiddling with a camera on my breaks that I ended up documenting my whole time on stations. I have a whole archive dedicated to April 2007 - June 2011 (mostly of my rostered time at North Greenwich).
At some point, I put my low-light-shooting-without-a-tripod/track certification to some remotely good use in the field. Shot a few projects in my time. Reminding me of why I still enjoy the industry/where I work, purely because it's so varied.
It's worth noting that I've never been an official photographer for the company. They're too busy paying people that don't know the people or the industry where we work. Or people that don't know how to shoot in some truly awful lighting conditions/confined spaces.
Anyway. I'd love to put a book together. Or launch a solo exhibition. Or something. But I have no idea where to start. Not with over 15 years of probably questionable content. Much like LU, #photography has evolved in a way that's different to when I started.
Well I'm a big fan of your of work. You're tube photography is inspirational. I always look forward to seeing your photos. I'm only just a commuter enthusiast, so love the extra subtleties that we see from someone who works for tfl as well. Thanks for sharing your work. ☺
We’re all constantly evolving as artists. Sometimes that means our tastes change too. Not a bad thing!
Your work was one of my earliest inspirations when I started getting “serious” about photography. However you choose to shoot to it’s gonna rock regardless. 💪🏻
katy, small and soft @ 🔜 London MCM
That’s very humbling, thank you. But you’ve brought a new edge to the scene that makes it all seem ultra-cool again; that we can all go underground to take advantage of its ability to be a canvas for our tools. And I like that. I’m happy you’re getting recognition. 📷💛🚇
For what it’s worth: I’m not much of a writer, but I did feature in a book about London, where I wrote a piece titled, “London’s Tube”.
I had really long hair back then. And on the day of the photo shoot at Northfields, I also had a bout of food poisoning 😭
And you are both creating an extremely valuable historical & artistic record of the current Underground. It offers so many interesting & changing opportunities for dynamic imagery the possibilities are endless (& so often missed by the professionals) Keep going ! @TfL take note
I’ll leave you all with some of the experimental shots... I once shit a few rolls of film on a “Blackbird Fly” plastic TLR camera. It let you expose over the sprocket holes on 35mm film.
Its limitations/fully-manual process made it a challenge; I learnt a lot in that short time, and exposing directly onto sprocket holes was weird, but I had a lot of fun shooting with that camera. And that’s the most important thing about #photography, people. Enjoy the process. x