Day 10 of my ArtBox hunt. Excited because I’d never done this walk before. I was covering The Tower Of London, City Hall, Bermondsey, Borough Market, Old Vic Theatre and Westminster Pier.
7.50am, the embankment on the north side of London Bridge. A grey grizzly start made it feel like dawn even though it was much later. I smiled as I spied another piano. My destination was The Tower of London.
The Slip was a tricky box to shoot. Sliced and reassembled to resemble a cream pile of Jengo bricks, it was hard to do it justice using my camera phone. This was another perverse rule I had made for this project. For me photography is more than the quality of the gear you use. Its about looking and composing. I really got that from an early Stephen Gill exhibition called Hackney Wick, where he used a 50p plastic box camera.
Crossing Tower Bridge, I saw my next set of boxes!
It had started to drizzle. There were 3 boxes on the southside embankment. The one that inspired me most was called London Calling, after a song by the punk band, The Clash.
Bermondsey Street, SE1 next, was prettily festooned in delicate Jubilee bunting. Gentrified from its humble beginnings, its populated by trendy cafes, delis and other shops. I wanted to capture the street as well but parked cars made for ugly shots. ArtBox Communication Breakdown, with a tropical design, had been placed across the road from the Museum of Textiles because the colour of that wall suited the design. It was the only background for this box that I had previewed. My main obstacle was a florist’s van being unloaded nearby. I waited, ate my breakfast and even went away to Borough Market and back in the hope that it would have gone. But it was still there, unloading and I shot it anyway.
It was here I that I witnessed another kind of collector. As I was deciding on which angle to take, a little balding man with a rucksack sidled up to the box. He produced a very expensive, medium format DSLR, took one tight shot of the box against the museum wall and disappeared. I was so fascinated by his approach that I forgot to shoot him in action. I wish I had.
After Borough Market, I walked to the Old Vic theatre, near Waterloo. On the way there I was sad to see that the Acropolis Cafe (on The Cut) part of my youth as a member of the Young Vic Youth Theatre had finally gone. It was there about 5 years ago. I had planned to cover the Old Vic twice, after all nightime is when a theatre comes alive.
My final boxes were on the north side of Westminster Bridge. One was in bright Yves Klein blue, so I tried my long distance shot again. Can you spot it?
Mission accomplished. All nine boxes were found and I had fun experimenting with shots.