Tag Archives: english

I have been Schmapped

Schmap.com is a sort of web based map and travel guide. Schmap.com has used two of my photographs on their website.

Click on the photographs used to see them on Schmap.com.

The hairy crowds at Buckingham Palace.

The Wallace Collection - a hidden gem.

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London’s Docklands

The average tourist might not realize it, but, having its roots in the Roman and medieval times, London’s Docklands is historically known as a port region. As the shipping industry fell out of significance in the middle 20th century, so did the region of the Docklands and the communities it fostered. The region direly needed regeneration. In the last 20 to 50 years many issues were solved by revitalization planning, however some social issues remain and are continuously being addressed as infrastructural changes are still being developed.

The Museum of London Docklands.

 

The Docklands is a region of East and South London consisting of the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Newham, and Greenwich. The area served as the Port of London, which was once one of the world’s largest shipping ports. The land has always been immersed in water and swamp marshes thus unsuitable for agriculture and posing particularities for architecture. The area was an isolated part of London, as few roads existed linking the area to central London. The Docklands was a divided community between the poor ship workers and the wealthy ship insurers.

Some small boats in the water ways.

 

By the mid 20th century, shipping and shipbuilding fell out as new technology and containerization, or cargo transport, was implemented. Ship builders lost work and competition significantly increased, as the docks were not able to accommodate many new carriers. When the docks began closing in the mid 1960s, workers were continuously laid off throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. The land was left empty, social classes divided, and communities suffering from unemployment and severe poverty. Warehouses and large-scale facilities became obsolete and deteriorated.

Just one of the many Docklands' canals.

 

Redevelopment plans began shortly after the dock’s closure. In 1968 the Port of London Authority sold the St. Katherine Dock to the Greater London Council, launching a competition to find a developer to regenerate the region. The idea was to develop the urban area and secure the physical, economic, and social aspects of citizen’s lives. However, it was applying the actual plan that took nearly a decade. Things were not being built as quickly as initially projected and people were still losing their jobs. Between 1978 and 1981, 10,000 jobs were lost and 9,000 people left the area.

Soon many landowners were involved, such as the Greater London Council, the Port of London Authority, British Gas, Central Electric Generating Board, and British Rail. By 1981, the London Docklands Development Corporation was created out of the Government Planning and Land Act of 1980 and by Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltime. The LDDC now had to upgrade and use the current buildings, encourage industry and commerce development, ensue housing and social facilities, and create an attractive and peaceful environment. Improvements that took place between 1983 and 1984 were improved roads, buildings, and travel ways. But remaining issues pertained to chemical pollution, and other health and safety hazards. Sewage, drainage, and sanitation systems were soon updated. Tax incentives made way for the development boom.

Controversy came as the developments taking place were about creating luxury housing, aesthetically pleasing office spaces, and industrial buildings over affordable housing. Communities were suddenly being gentrified, as people were still facing unemployment, poverty, social issues, and struggling with the negative construction environment.

London's shipping history goes back several centuries.

 

While private investors and local governments worked to revitalize the area, it was the small communities that organized for change. The Association of Isle Communities, the Joint Docklands Action Group, the Docklands Forum, and more community organizations were set up in the 1970s to create change. These community action groups tried to bring tenants, workers, and businesses together to work with local planning councils to transform the policies based on what local citizens actually wanted. 

What further came from community organization was a niche activist culture consisting of people voicing their concerns through news articles, self-published magazines, pamphlets, and music, such as the song “Give Us Back Our Land” by Tough Cookies. They also organized public screenings of films, demonstrations, and concerts, as well as memorabilia such as coffee mugs and posters to spread the message about the Docklands not developing to their needs.

Teens and young adults hanging out in Greenwich.

 

While it was the LDDC that was largely instrumental in planning and beginning construction, it was the community organizers that made the push for appropriate physical infrastructure in the Docklands. Substantial development began taking place in the mid 1990s. Poor transport into the rest of London was relieved with the construction of the Docklands Light Railway and the London City Airport underwent needed upgrades. Finally, the LDDC began a campaign to bring office spaces and jobs to the area, however, faced criticism because it was still outsiders who were taking the open jobs and commuting in. But, similar to how buildings were transformed into office space, some buildings were transformed into large art spaces and places for artists to live, thus attracting a culture the current community was open to. Affordable housing became abundant, attracting more people to the Docklands.

Aesthetically artistic bridges.

 

The Docklands faced several ups and downs in the following ten years because of recessions and various monetary shortfalls. But development continued bringing the much needed resurrection to the Docklands. On March 31, 1998 the LDDC’s role came to an end. The Docklands was transformed with a new culture, new jobs, and a new way to travel. From the mid 1990s into the early 21st century, the working population nearly tripled bringing a thriving atmosphere to the region.

Still under construction.

 

Tourists and Londoners alike can learn more about the Docklands at the Museum of London Docklands, located near the West India Quay DLR stop. To learn more about the history of shipping in London a trip to the Docklands’ museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory located in Greenwich will do the trick. And to get a holistic education of London since the dawn of human civilization, check of the Museum of London.

The National Maritime Museum - you will be surprised how cool it actually is.

 

At the Royal Observatory in the Greenwich region of London.

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Photos of the Day – Last Days In London : (

April 23, 2010

A grainy moonlit Hyde Park.

 

April 24, 2010

A performance of Macbeth at the Globe. Photography not permitted during performances.

 

April 25, 2010

Parliament at dusk.

 

April 26, 2010

Welcome to Harrod's 'Egypt.'

 

April 27, 2010

This is what London's telephone booths look like.

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Photo of the Day – iheartstreetphotography

 

April 8, 2010

We went to check this iheartstreetphotography exhibit out. A little disappointing.

My flat mates and I set out to check this iheartstreetphoto exhibit  out. It was a little disappointing as you can see by the photograph. Not many people, just calming standing around stairing at the 4 foot by 4 foot square projection.

But the message is key!

I Heart Street Photo’s Twitter describes itself as, “An exhibition of new street photography in light of the impending government restrictions on photography in public places.”

I agree with Heart Street Photo.

According to their Web site, they are about the celebration of street photography.

I agree even more.

What is unique about I Heart Street Photo is the fact that photographers are being cracked down upon from taking photos – in public.

A Sunday Times article describes the situation many photographers – even tourists –  are facing in London and the world today. The article highlights how the loss of public or street photography can take away the necessary documentation of today’s current culture.

Where does the line between public and ‘privacy’ end?

Advocate.

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Hey Buddy Music Video Shoot

This is my Photo of the Day.

I was a Runner on a music video shoot for Hey Buddy TV. I also got to be an extra, which is always fun. The shoot was for a song called “Something Special” by a singer named Al Brown. Hey Buddy has previously made music videos such as Jay Sean‘s “Down.”

March 28, 2010

A Sony EX3 of course!

 

This is our star, Al.

 

This is the bar, where I was an extra with my buddies on the right.

 

The crew and stars at work. Emily, center, plays the girl Al the singer is following.

 

Colored lights always add a nice touch.

 

This is the bar tender, who, obviously isn't an actual bar tender.

 

The 'DJ' hanging out.

 

This entry was last updated March 29, 2010.

 

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Photo of the Day – Dinner At Murray’s

March 25, 2010

Okay, so this is from yesterday actually. Last night, I had dinner with some cool people at Murray‘s flat. (This is like free press for you, man.)

I forgot to take a picture while we were eating, so here is the left overs and dessert. That's right, I made the cookies.

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Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road Market is definitely one London site hyped up by travel books and site seers, and I’d say it does live up to its reputation. People who want to see the whole market and road should start from the north at the Ladbroke Grove tube stop and make their way south east towards the Nottinghill Gate tube stop.

Starting at the top are clothes, clothes and more clothes, vintage and trendy. But here’s the thing – these clothes are cheaper than those down by Nottinghill Gate.

Used clothes and yard sale items.

You will also find more artisans at this part of the road than at the bottom where most of the items tend to be specialized and shop oriented, as well as more expensive.

Bangles and bracelets.

 

Leather bound books.

Further down, things get a little more trendy and mass-produced. A lot of these items can be found elsewhere than Portobello Road Market, so keep than in mind when spending money becuase it’s easy to do here.

Trendy bags.

Soon, one will start to see lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables stands, candy stands, paella stands, bread and cheese stands – all kinds of mouth-watering-food-stands, as well as side-street shops and restaurants at a somewhat affordable price. You just have to scout out where you want to score your bargain. One will also encounter some interesting characters and out of the ordinary street performers who will probably put a smile on your face.

One swinging group.

 

What characters one does find.

Lady singing.

If you’re lucky you’ll spot a cute unique tea set for under 10 Pounds, a vintage film camera, or a zebra skin.

8 Pounds

And then you will notice how posh things are getting. Not only will you be paying attention to pickpocketers, but you’ll be gripping your cash.

Posh car.

 

Posh and colourful.

And, if you pay enough attention and make it to the end of Portebello Road, you may be pleasantly surprized to find the house where George Orwell once resided.

Orwell, writer and literary journalist, lived here.

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