Category: London

The humans of Londontown | SusannahConway.comI’ve been shooting photos for my new book and it’s starting to take over my life — which is as it should be because I want this book to be beautiful and inspiring and, well, good. So no pressure then! We’re having a heatwave here in the UK so the last few weeks of shooting have been pretty intense but thankfully the Circle line has air conditioning so I’m planning my travels accordingly. Pro tip: avoid the Central line at all costs. It’s like sitting in hell’s kitchen.

Chinatown | SusannahConway.comThis book is going to be a portrait of the city and with a population of 8.3 million I’m inevitably photographing a lot of passers by.  I’ve never felt comfortable taking photos of people in the street, but the more places I go the bolder I get. Like actors in your own private play, people bring life and character to the shots. I’ve been fantasising about creating a Humans of London blog in honour of the wonderful Humans of New York, but the truth is, I prefer wandering the streets unobtrusively. I like to observe rather than interact.

Camden girl |
Of course, when you have a 40 year-old Polaroid camera hanging across your body, you tend to become a people magnet. Each day I speak to at least five or six souls who are curious about the camera. I’ve chatted with policemen outside the Houses of Parliament, the old boy in Camden Passage and Jesse, the Spanish dude I met on the Southbank who insisted I take his picture. There was the girl in Chipotle who said she had a Polaroid at home, the charity worker in Islington who wanted tips on shooting at night, and Darren in Chinatown who was so inspired by the Vivian Maier film he was out snapping strangers.

You are never stuck for conversation when you’re shooting with a Polaroid. This is turning into quite an adventure…

The Breakfast Club | SusannahConway.comSusannahConway.comPhotographer in the wild |

Like all new relationships, it takes time to get comfortable with each other. You don’t know how they take their coffee and they don’t know which side of the bed you prefer. You’re on your best behaviour at all times until things imperceptibly change and suddenly you’re holding hands all the time and finishing each other’s sentences. Plus you fancy the pants off each other…

That’s when the good stuff really starts to happen.

So I have been going on dates with Londontown — hanging out in Portobello, exploring Brick Lane and Columbia Road flower market, playing in Soho and the West End, jumping on the tube at odd hours of the afternoon to go find bookshops I Googled five minutes earlier. The tube is still a novelty and I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have to do the commute that I used to do. The invention of the iPhone and Google Maps has improved living here by one THOUSAND percent. Plus there’s been more sunny days than I had in Bath (what is it with west country weather?) and the flat is coming together nicely.

Suffice to say we are appear to be in the honeymoon stage of our relationship, Londontown and I. She’s wearing her best for me and I’m flirting my little heart out. There’s a list of stuff that isn’t so great, but i have these pink cartoon hearts in my eyes right now so I’m ignoring the list and just enjoying this phase while it lasts.

It’s true true love.

1. I’m currently experiencing the curious state of being a tourist in the place I live [sidenote: i just typo'd that and wrote "the place I love"]. This isn’t hard in London — or Bath for that matter, plenty of tourists there too — and is underlined by the fact that I’m constantly taking photos with my iPhone. It’s like having a form of photographic tourettes, where I can’t walk past a single shop window or street corner without stopping to pull out my phone and snap a pic.

2. A sweet thought I had this morning: I can’t wait to run Unravelling again in January as I’ll get to make the weekly videos from the new flat! :) I love that the move is bringing a freshness to everything in my life. I want to keep clearing out the old to ease the bringing in of the new…

3. Last Sunday I made the pilgrammage back to Brick Lane. Well, I was intending to go to Spitalfields market but since I’ve been away they’ve built a proper glass roof over it and installed Wagamama and a host of other shops and suddenly it’s not really a market anymore. Which was disappointing. Luckily Brick Lane is close by and boy howdy, my head just about exploded when i turned the corner from Princelet Street. So much colour and life and vibrant awesomeness. I don’t remember it being quite so up-and-coming ten years ago (though the Vibe bar is still there. Spent many Sundays afternoons in there) — i love the feel of the place now. I danced to Grace Jones’ Pull Up To The Bumper in the street. Couldn’t stop smiling.

3. It feels a lot like jetlag, what I’m feeling these days. I’m transitioning into a new routine and my body is slow to catch up with me. Deep sleep is elusive and it’s taken me two weeks to realise the reason i keep waking at an ungodly hour is because that’s when i’ve set the central heating to come on — the hot water in the pipes makes the floorboards creak, waking this light-sleeper up. Remedied that this morning. Small moves, Ellie*

4. The teacher/reporter in me is feeling the urge to take notes and record all I’m feeling and learning about change and transition. I think I might be literally writing a new chapter for a future little something…

5. Thankful for new seasons of The Vampire Diaries, Grimm and True Blood. They’re making my evenings extra cosy.

* Name that film!

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