Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo walk

Before most of my trips I post to the Leica User Forum to see if any fellow photographers have any advice or want to meet up for a drink. I don't know if it was the fact that this time I shared a language with the locals or if the people of London are just friendlier, but Sunday morning I met up with not one, but four photographers for a walk around Brick Lane.

From wikipedia: Brick Lane is a street in East LondonEngland, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It runs from Swanfield Street in the northern part of Bethnal Green, crosses Bethnal Green Road, passes through Spitalfields and is linked to Whitechapel High Street to the south by the short stretch of Osborn Street. Today, it is the heart of the city'sBangladeshi-Sylheti community and is known to some as Banglatown.[1] It is famous for its many curry houses.

I had spent Saturday staring at the Thames with all the other tourists, so it was great to get this guided tour of a part of London I would have never seen if left to my own devices.

I've never been much of a "street photographer," but I did my best to capture the feel of the area -- and to show the fact that you could buy literally anything at this seemingly endless flea market.

The restaurants really overemphasized the fact that they had a license to operate. However, I was warned that a license was no guarantee against food poisoning.

But food poisoning did not seem to be a deterrent to the locals. While the curry shops sat empty with sidewalk salesmen trying to entice you in with the offer of free appetizers and beers, most of the street vendors were selling like crazy.

We came across the Pearly Kings and Queens, which are an established charity group raising money for ... something.

We also ran across this guy riffing through Jimi Hendrix like it was no big thing. I assumed he was collecting money for new guitar strings.

After a break for some authentic Brick Lane Curry (I went with the sweet, mild stuff as I was worried what the spicy stuff might do to my digestive system while spending the afternoon walking), we wandered into an area that had once been government housing with a soup kitchen for the Jewish poor.

The dichotomy and contrast of the old London versus the new, modern London hit you right in the face.

And strangely enough, as it started raining again, our walk had taken us right to the door of Dirty Dicks Pub, so we made our way upstairs, swapped stories, and talked about cameras over a few pints.

A big thanks to Dr. John Cartwright for taking the lead to organize the photo walk, being such a great host, and for snapping this photo of me with the Pearlies.