The “Eyes” Have It

Here are some photos taken on Boxing Day of Julie Mathias and Wolfgang Kaeppner’s art installation in Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf. It consists of 100 sets of animal eyes set around and about the park. At night, they’re illuminated by lighting designed by Admir Jukanovic, so that they look like animals caught in headlights…

Oh, and there’s a gratuitous shot of two reindeers and a sleigh in the album, just to keep in with the Crimbo theme  All photos in this set courtesy of SH and his new FujiFinepix A920 (thanks for Christmas dinner btw, it was lovely)

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Shoreditch Street Art Tours Goes Off-Piste @ Hackney WickED

Last weekend saw the very welcome return of Hackney WickED, the annual weekend long arts festival that turns the normally quiet streets of the Wick and Fish Island into bustling thoroughfares, worthy of Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon!

Although the major draw to the area for most visitors was the opportunity to visit the artists’ studios, perhaps snapping up some bargain-priced artwork, or checking out the live music, craft fair and food in Queens Yard, I had a different purpose for visiting…

I was on my way to the auditorium of the Yard Theatre for an hour-long talk by Dave from Shoreditch Street Art Tours on how best to capture street art, followed by a two hour walk around the area to put what we’d learned into practice. Now I’m no novice when it comes to photography but you never stop discovering new techniques and ideas, and I was surprised at how little I really knew about snapping this particular form of public art in an effective and compelling way…

After the talk (more on some of the salient points that came up in a moment) it was time for us to undertake our circuitous route of Hackney Wick. Maneuvering around the growing crowds we saw the bright new coating that the abandoned Lord Napier pub has received in the last few days, and a few other brand new pieces of street art. Apparently just prior to the start of Hackney WickED several of the locally-based artists had been out painting, spraying and pasting up their work. I was quite awed by the fact that were were very probably the first group to subject these pieces to close examination, and to capture them for posterity…

Now in terms of photographic techniques, I won’t spoil the surprise (or indeed deprive Dave of revenue) by telling you everything that I discovered, but I will pass on two key points that you should bear in mind when photographing street art. Firstly, it’s important to put it into context i.e. to demonstrate how it interacts with its surroundings, or indeed to show how people react to it. Secondly, when you’re bored with capturing a piece of street art straight on (which is a bit like photographing a painting – a rather uninspiring thing to do IMHO) you could think about abstracting the image in some way. The most obvious, but by no means only, way to do this is to use reflective surfaces to distort the image – perhaps capturing the art in a puddle, across a canal or indeed in a car wing mirror, as we attempted to do on Sunday afternoon!

Below you’ll see some of the photographs that I took on Sunday – hopefully they show that I managed to retain some of the advice that I received earlier in the day. If you’re interested in spending a morning, an afternoon or indeed an evening on one the Shoreditch Street Art Tours yourself, you’ll find the dedicated page here – …

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Londoneer: HostelBookers Christmas Advent Calendar Competition

I do love finding out about fun competitions and this is a good one from HostelBookers, with the added bonus of having a seasonal Christmas theme 🙂

The company, who you may know offer a service for booking budget accommodation in London and elsewhere, are running a 24 day Christmas giveaway in the form of an advent calendar which runs all the way up to Christmas Eve. Prizes on offer include free stays in London youth hostels, an iPad, Sony digital cameras, shopping vouchers and more besides!

All you have to do to enter the competition is to look out for a daily question posted on the HostelBookers Facebook page and email your answer to [email protected] Each day over Advent there will be a different question that will test your knowledge of different Christmas traditions across the world. There’ll also be some photo competitions popping up on the site over the month, so keep your smartphone or camera close by so that you can get your entries in quickly. You can find out all of the details and enter the competitions on…

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