London Urban Portraits
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From the book's Chapter 2
Approaching London's photographic signature.
How do you, photographically, get hold of a city? How do you absorb the city’s character and distinctive mark?
It really is relatively easy – and yet extremely difficult.
On the one hand you are moving about, curious, noticing and recording what happens around you. You are strolling the streets, using public transport in all its manifestations, and trying out the nature of the various means of payment. You are visiting different locations: parcs, markets, streets, museums, metro stations, cafés ... You are observing how and how often the police and the emergency services appear. You are placing yourself in the middle of the urban life, in open spaces, in the parcs, and letting the overall impressions affect you. You absorb feelings and sensations, open-minded and without preconceived opinions.
And on the other hand: This open-mindedness is exactly the challenging aspect.
No matter which city or which place you are visiting and trying to understand, you will often be prejudiced and biased.
Through media coverage, television, newspapers, and the internet we have pre-formed our impressions of the city, just as our understanding of the identity and the image of the city will show many traces of the way in which the city has been shown in feature films and the like.
Nevertheless, ”London Urban Portraits” meets that challenge, trying to picture a photographic signature of the city, mainly deduced from the people of London.
And obviously, we are talking about ”urban sketches”, a very first attempt at reaching an objective, which is after all unattainable ...