Most of us barely register the tube trains or stations we pass through every day, but for London photographer (and former graffiti artist) Harry F Conway, these are spaces of social significance and beauty. As a life-long north-west Londoner, the Bakerloo line has a special place in his heart as a portal to the city – almost a second home.
But as Harry’s Kensal Green neighbourhood started gentrifying, he felt the line was changing too – from the seat upholstery to the passengers. So he started taking photos. We asked Harry to pick four images from his new book ‘Bakerloo’ and explain how he came to capture these subterranean moments of London life.
Raymond Moore is not a household name but arguably Britain’s greatest landscape photographer. He created a unique personal response to the coastal landscape of NW England and SE Scotland. Pictures that seem at first so drear and commonplace, contain quiet beauty and humour, revealed by Moore’s intense looking and complex compositions. Deeply influenced by poetry, Moore was a poet of the camera, whereby he composed visual poems from the objects and textures of ordinary places.
I have a limited edition photogravure print of Ayr 1979, which has become a favourite of mine. What strikes first is a dagger of light shooting across the picture from the left, within an angry sky bearing down on the horizon. In the foreground is a stained concrete floor. The shaft of light is the sea, catching sunlight burning through the cloud, the land around in shadow. Then gradually we see that the distant landscape merges imperceptibly with a roughcast wall; we are actually looking inside a room, maybe a deckchair store or shelter. We are looking through a window and the landscape is a reflection: the sunlit sea is behind us. We peer deeper into the room, cold and empty, aching with melancholy. The composition is immaculate, with drainpipe, air vents, roof truss etched onto the evening sky. But the final surprise is Moore himself, in glasses, in profile just visible on the right of the frame. This is an emotional landscape; Moore says he always had to feel something in his photographs. But this is first and foremost about looking, by a photographer who saw disparate elements falling into place.
It is appropriate for Andy Sewell‘s Something Like a Nest to be pictureNow’s first review as it was photographed in the rural East of England. Having lived, worked and farmed in this area for decades I can testify to the integrity of the images. Although Andy currently hails from London he does not show a townie pastiche or a rural idyl, but rather the quotidian blend of modern and traditional that I recognise immediately and yet he still manages to provide me with fresh views into my home patch.
The book has a shiny transparent plastic dust jacket but thankfully that is where the glossiness ends. The pictures take us though a mythical year-in-the-life of the rural East Anglia with the seasonality of life mixed with those aspects that continue throughout the year. Although each image is well-photographed and carries its own message, it is as a book that they come together, with their chronological narrative, insight and occasional wry humour. I highly recommend this photobook.