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Capturing London through my lens: 5 ways the city inspires me

It is an oft-remarked quotation, but mainly because it is so apt: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

That witty epigram of Samuel Johnson's is as true now as it was in his day.

I lived in London for many years, and still spend a lot of time there. I find myself irresistibly drawn to the diverse tapestry of this bustling, global metropolis. With its iconic landmarks, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene, London offers countless photographic opportunities.

In my photographic prints of London I try to capture new, slightly off-kilter ways of perceiving the city, to produce images as unique as the city itself.

Here are just a few of the reasons why a photographer never tires of London.

1. Diversity

Thomas More once wrote, "London is a world by itself. We daily discover in it more new countries, and surprising singularities, than in all the universe besides." This feels particularly apt when you consider just how different particular areas of the city are. And how this variety of place fuels image-taking. One of the aspects that makes photographing London so fascinating is the stark contrast between its neighbourhoods. Each area possesses its own distinctive character, history and atmosphere. The old-world charm of Covent Garden. The pastel-coloured houses and narrow streets of Notting Hill. The vibrancy of Brixton. The sleek, towering skyscrapers and reflective glass facades of Canary Wharf. Wherever you go in London, it can feel, as More said, like a different country. And that is inspiring for taking photos.

2. Landmarks

There is a lot of iconic London photography of its famous landmarks. And why not; there are some incredible buildings and monuments in the city. Tower Bridge. Hawksmoor's churches. Buckingham Palace. They still attract the eye. The key for a photographer in London today, I think, is to take images of such well-documented places that bring something new to them. A novel take. Considering how many images are taken of them each day by tourists, that's quite a challenge. But then, who doesn't like a photographic challenge?

3. Dynamic street life Street photography in London is eclectic, ever-changing and inspiring. The streets pulse with life, day and night. I love trying to document the hustle and bustle of daily life, capturing the expressions, interactions and stories of London's people.

4. Serene green spaces

Contrasting the vibrant urban landscape, London is also adorned with many green spaces that offer a respite from the hustle and bustle – and a different challenge for the photographer. From sprawling Hyde Park, to the tiny squares of green space lodged between buildings that you never even knew were there until you stumble across them by chance, London has a natural beauty all its own as well.

5. The London Underground

I have been taking photographs on 'The Tube' for a long time. I like the fact that it feels like a environment different to anywhere else in London. The combination of people coming and going on their journeys with the subterranean architecture inspires me. I also particularly like finding those moments when, surprisingly, part of the Underground appears devoid of people; the shock of this busy transport network in one of the world's major cities, and you turn a corner and there's no one there.


London, a city that has inspired poets, writers and artists throughout the ages, holds a special place in my heart as a photographer. It was home for many years, and where I really felt I started to hone my skills as an image maker. As a city it will always inspire me to create new images.

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