Sunday, October 30, 2011

Forward Swindon

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and Swindon is currently working on somewhere that gives one of those first impressions.

The forecourt of Swindon railway station is, over the next 8 months, undergoing a facelift, and fellow photographer Ed Howell and myself will be following the work closely. Working in partnership with Forward Swindon, Britannia Construction, First Great Western and Network Rail, we will be creating a photographic record of the site, the work, the customers and the contractors.

Facelifts aren't pretty, but try carrying one out in full public view, with everyone watching!

Regular updates will be posted, so check back soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

From The Archives... Recovering After July 7th

The July 7th bombings of 2005 rattled London, how could you reassure passengers that stepping back aboard buses and tubes would be okay?

A simple, stark poster for the London Bombings Relief Fund, that was displayed all over London in the month afterwards achieved what no photograph could ever do. It included a quote from the speech Mayor Ken Livingstone made after the bombings beneath a bold typeface simply saying, 'London Stands United'.

I was heading home from the London 2012 Olympic Games celebration concert that had been taking place in Trafalgar Square across the street. Seeing the poster, I took three pictures of just the poster, but how about getting the poster in context with a train rushing past? 

But I was without a tripod, improvising in the dim light, I placed the camera on the platform and held the shutter open as a Bakerloo train headed Westbound, without a clue as to the zoom, exact composition or much else! The train gathered speed and sped past, the shutter sluggishly closed. And the picture I got is the one you see, one picture and done. Even getting in the watchful eye of the CCTV camera in the right above the platform.

The poster reminded me of all the wartime produced pieces to keep the nation (and the capital) going as things got bad. In 'The Proud City' series, St Paul's is shown defiantly surrounded by rubble and a blue sky, an icon of London still there, not to be shaken.

In the same way, having the transport system running on the day after the attacks showed everyone that the transport icons of London, it's red buses and tubes, were as dependable as always.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

The photograph in this post can be seen, along with several others, on display in the ticket office of Swindon Railway Station.

From The Archives... It's Not What You Think

It's not what you think.

Taken in July 2005, at a celebration concert in Trafalgar Square to mark the winning of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, at the Nelson's Column side of the square a small platform had been set up for the media and this journalist is trying to type a story on a laptop, shielding his screen from the glare with his jacket.

But still, it's such a fun picture!

From The Archives... London in 2005

Every photo has a story and this first one I've picked from the archive is no different. Taken from the window of an Air Canada Boeing 767-300 plane on approach to London Heathrow, if it hadn't been for snow, it wouldn't have happened.

I was returning from a holiday to Toronto, in the second week of the new year and due to heavy snow and ice my flight was delayed, and delayed and delayed and eventually around midnight we left, London-bound.

After a 4 or 5 hour delay, plus the 7 hour flight, we prepared to land and were treated to a spectacularly beautiful winter's morning over London, I had my Pentax Optio S4 in my pocket and started madly snapping away as we quickly sped over the centre of the capital.

With Waterloo Station, the Southbank, London Eye, Westminister Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, after the overcast, snow-filled skies of Canada, the view through the small window was an announcement of sorts for passengers aboard, "you're nearly home."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ways Of Seeing - Mock Thamesdown Campaign

Think of public transport and what do you think?

High fares, dirty seats, surly staff maybe? This can be a popularly-held view, however, for millions of people who choose and depend on buses, trains, subways, trams and metros, a reliable, responsive service has become integral to their daily lives.

The aim of the campaign was to, firstly, appeal emotively to the public about the service and secondly to link everyday events to use of the service - appealing to change people's idea of what the service is if they've never used it.

London Underground has a World-renowned brand and logo. (the bar and circle, or roundel), which has fostered incredible brand-loyalty since it's creation and use from 1908. There's no reason the strict and disciplined use of a logo and branding can't be applied to a local transport company for a town or city in the UK.

Some examples :

For more images from this project, click the link on the right to be taken to Flickr, or click here.


Transport for London brand standards :