Architecture — seeing London with new eyes

After seeing Bernd and Hilla Becher’s photographs of blast furnaces at the Tate Modern, I found myself seeing the area around Bankside and the South Bank with new eyes. Whereas I usually see people, I also started to see the photographic possibilities in the architecture.

The mixture of architectural styles, sitting side by side, is a visual history of the economic changes in the area. It can be a higgledy piggledy mishmash of styles, or a very stark juxtaposition of the old and the new, as with the Victorian almshouses next to modern, luxury flats.

Victorian almshouses on Bankside with modern buildings behind

Then there are the modern building necessities of air conditioning and ducting, not to mention the ubiquitous CCTV cameras stuck on the side of a Victorian railway bridge.

Air conditioning fans on a railway bridge with a train going over the top, commuters can be seen standing in the door windows

Or modern additions seemingly plonked on the top of a railway bridge.

Now I’m seeing the patterns and lines everywhere.

Railway bridges behind Waterloo East station

And even though some of the buildings and additions look temporary, some really are. This upside-down house was on Blackfriars Bridge Road in 2014. It must have been a temporary facade. You can see that it was for sale. Now it’s a building site — fallen victim of the endless development around this area. 

Upside-down house, Blackfriars Bridge Road, London

Of course there will always be people in my architecture photography: people’s needs are the reasons for the adaptations to buildings, and their construction in the first place and London is a busy city full of people; living, working, relaxing, commuting. I can’t change the photographer I am, I just see different things next to the people.

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