Know your home – ten things about St P

Thanks to Wikipedia here’s what I need to learn about “my” 2012 living space:

  1. The station has been known as St Pancras International since 2007.
  2. It is a Grade 1 Listed building.
  3. A competition was held for the design of the original station buildings and hotel in May 1865. Eleven architects were invited to compete, submitting their designs in August. 
  4. In January 1866 the brick Gothic revival designs of the prominent architect George Gilbert Scott were chosen. 
  5. It was opened in 1868 by the Midland Railway as the southern terminus of the company’s main line, which connected London with the East Midlands and Yorkshire.
  6. When it opened, the arched Barlow train shed was the largest single-span roof in the world.
  7. After escaping planned demolition in the 1960s, the complex was renovated and expanded during the 2000s at a cost of £800 million.
  8. The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel occupies parts of the original Midland Grand Hotel.
  9. It held its grand opening on 5 May 2011, exactly 138 years after its original opening in 1873.
  10. There are 244 rooms and 67 appartments.

And it is beautiful!

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Know your home – ten things about St P

Resolution: Find my niche…

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With photography it pays to be really good at one thing eg portraits (a la David Bailey), landscapes (a la Ansel Adams) or weddings (a la Damien Lovegrove). And when I say really good I mean REALLY good – so you can charge what you like, do what you want and be in the envious position of turning down work…’cos you can.

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So, I’ve been thinking – what’s my niche? I rather like variety including weddings, portraits, events, commercial shoots, interesting things, obscure things and abstract. My least favourite is landscapes if I am ranking genres; and animals I find really hard but always a great challenge.

But the trick to “owning your niche” is:

a) Obviously being really technically good; and / or

b) Being first or quickest to do it; and / or

c) Being unique, the only one to do it…

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In 2012 I am living in London (in case you did not know), a perfect place to access everything and everyone. But many of the things that interest me photographically have been “done”: bollards, road signs, bridges, pub signs, water fountains, “deserted streets on Christmas Day”, shop fronts, trains, street art/graffitti, Tube stations, graveyards/churches, statues and sculptures, London buses, union jacks etc etc.

So how do you decide what your niche is if you don’t easily fit the first two of the above criteria? It leaves being unique as the only viable option aka the only one interested enough/bothered enough or crazy enough to do it.

One thought I had (as I witnessed a few exhibits in the run up to Christmas) was “Pukes of London” – recording the depth of colour and texture, location, interesting featus, variety, moments in time etc.

Then there is maybe “Gross Out London” – I did see an arrangement of pants and human faeces outside the Betjeman Arms on Christmas Day which I am sure they really appreciated having to clear up. Nice one.

What should it be? Will I find it? Will I ever be niche and destined to stay a generalist?

Who knows what 2012 will bring… and if you have any suggestions, please DO let me know!

 

Resolution: Find my niche…

Feeling the Love at St P

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I will almost certainly be bombarding my blog with images of St Pancras International Station, The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (a Marriot) and “The meeting place” (or as I prefer to call it “The Lovers”) – a 9m tall bronze of an intimate pose by the world renowned sculptor Paul Day.

Why? Because I live here!

I am going to load them to a set on flickr and would be interested in knowing what you think…

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Feeling the Love at St P

The Joys of Fountains

I love water fountains. Not sure why, but there is something about the way they are “hanging in there” when most of them aren’t even used any more, well, not for their original purpose anyway.

They can be simple or elaborate, usually stone, often engraved and almost always full of litter from people who don’t care.

But I do and I’m collecting pictures on my flickr site – with the aim of getting to 100 by the end of 2012. Meanwhile here’s some from December travels:

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The Joys of Fountains

Cryptic Exhibition

Time on our hands again, so quick trip to the local church and into the the crypt gallery at St Pancras Parish Church for a local artist’s exhibition.

London Souls is an exhibition of paintings by Ed Gray. To sum up Gray’s style, I would say he is an observer of Londoners from all walks of life:  all colours, all ages, all professions – from police and prostitutes to footballers and waiters. There’s lots of attention to detail, including a plethora of fag butts and graffitti and facial expressions that tell the story.

Whether it’s on Oxford Street or on a Bus or tube, the locations are pretty recognisable and the vibrant colours and fish eye distortion of the view point is a unique style that you either love or hate.

It is certainly an interesting perspective and a nice place time to spend a half hour for free.

The Crypt itself if of course fabulous. On the outside it’s statuesque magnificence can occasionally be caught in the brilliance of the sun and inside it’s eerie stone coldness and curious cubicles makes you think you are in a chateaux wine cellar not beside some of the 557 “residents” that are still homed there.

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Cryptic Exhibition

Big Gaps in the Urban Landscape

There’s a lot of construction going on in London at the moment, I suppose getting ready for the Olympic Year and all that, but it seems particularly noticeable in the main tourist areas – the junction of Tottenham Court Road and along Oxford Street to name but two.

It’s weird but you easily forget (or never actually knew) what was there before until it is no longer there; but once a new building is in place it’ll change the landscape forever and I for one hardly give it a second thought.

I’m going to try and take a few more pics of these places as some of the surrounding buildings will only have a few more months (or maybe years) of direct daylight before they are shrouded in the shadows of tonnes of modern brick, stone and steel.

Here is just one example from this month – just off Ludgate Hill:

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Big Gaps in the Urban Landscape