Ant Smith

London

Around And AboutAngel ChristmasAngel Love HateBrixton South BeachbarBuskerClosed ShopCommuteDog Head MannequinFox And FirkinGentrifying Brixton 1Gentrifying Brixton 2Great Titchfield StreetHeavyHighgate 1Highgate 2IndustriousKings Cross BargesKings Cross Canal SideLasting SexOxford Street TwilightPiccadilly Circus Tube WallPolar Bear 1Polar Bear 2Primrose HillRed LeafSalonScaffoldShakespearian GraffittiShip 1SkeletonSkullSt DunstonTime PrecinctVictoria FlagsWall ButterflyWall FishWar MuseumBbcColour SelectIt's all GeometryNew Broadcasting House ViewPhotographic MeritStreet CandidsTvc Audience Entrance 1Tvc Audience Entrance 2Tvc BasementTvc Dressing Room 1Tvc Dressing Room 2Tvc FresnelTvc Heart Of The DoughnutTvc Hoist ControlTvc Mondrian MosaicTvc NightTvc Outside InsideTvc PlanTvc Sports TrackTvc StairsTvc StairwellTvc Studio 4Tvc Studio 4 Ceiling 1Tvc Studio 4 Ceiling 2Tvc Studio 4 Ceiling 3Tvc The NorthTvc Wet RiserWhite City Autumnal[pre]visualizationBuildingsBatterseaDilapidated Building At BowGuildhallHatfields ClaphamNight ChurchOxford CircusOxo WharfRehab HouseSt Pauls DomeTemple BarValiant HouseWhitechapel StreetWorkwear ShopHackney WickBeware The CaymanFence: Point-of-viewFlatsHazchemLondon TraditionOlympic StadiumThe Lord Napier 1The Lord Napier 2London EyeEyeFrom The Eye 1From The Eye 2From The Eye 3Side ShowSt Stevensons Tower 1St Stevensons Tower 2St Thomas HospitalStarflyerStilt LadyModern Architecture1 America SquareAtlas Apex 1Atlas Apex 2BarbicanFilling StationFountainNeedleShardShard And StatueOlympicsArena 1Arena 2Arena 3Chris And IParalympic 1Paralympic 2RunStadiumThe OrbitVelodromeWomens Basketball 1Womens Basketball 2Womens Basketball 3Womens Basketball 4ThamesBoxerBridgeCable Cars 1Cable Cars 2Cranes On The ThamesCycle: Blurring ActionMerrygoroundPigeonRiver Thames 1River Thames 2River Thames 3See Red...SkaterStarflyerTower Bridge ReflectionVehiclesAirstream CafeAustenJaguarQueen Elizabeth HallRover 90 1Rover 90 2Urgent Medical SuppliesWarrior

I spent 13 years living and working in London; about a quarter of my life (to date). But I only took up photography aged 13, and I spent a number of years not seriously pursuing the hobby (for more background take a look at my Cameras of my Life article); so my time in London probably represents something over a half of my photography life.

One way or another London has had a significant impact, influence, upon me.

In fact a broader influence than you will see represented in the images here. These images give a sense of place, more than of life.

To see more of London Life take a look at the 'Performance...' galleries, the Project 269 (London Underground) gallery, and most of the collections in my Street and People galleries - London pervades.

But the images here may tell you more about myself as photographer. In the main, these images weren't taken for any particular reason - I wasn't on a particular protest march or perfoming at a specific event, these are just the things I happened to see while living my life in the city, which I thought may make worthy images.

I suppose that makes them a bit of a 'hard sell' - I mean, unless you have some interest in me and my photography why on earth would you be here looking at these; and how could you possibly have found them? But I shall talk about them anyway, even if just for posterity. And perhaps if you have stumbled upon this collection, you'll consider leaving a comment - so that I know my efforts have reached somebody!


About This Collection

Around and About

These images were all taken on-the-hoof; just around and about as I happened to have a camera with me. I say 'happened to have', but of course it was a deliberate act, to always carry a camera. Which I did, everyday for years. Sometimes you don't make a photo, it does in fact just come to you. Actually that's misleading. It isn't so ordained as all that - rather if you make a habit of carrying a camera you will find that you are inviting photographic opportunities.

I think they are good images, but they languish somewhat as they don't cohere into any greater story - other than story of my time on lunch or immedieately after work; which is how and when I took them.

About The Images

The BBC

I moved to London after a couple of years of shuffling back and forth every fortnight on the 500 mile round trip to spend weekends with my (now) wife Christine; who would shuffle herself back and forth by train or coach, on the alternate weekends. I think my wife had the rougher end of the deal not only because she had to spend weekdays alone in London (which isn't always the most caring of environments) but also because she had to rely on public transport whereas I was zipping along in my 2.0L VW Polo.

Putting a 2.0L engine into a little car like a Polo is a ridiculous idea. A ridiculous idea that becomes an utterly insane idea if the intent is then to hand the keys over to a reckless and irresponsible driver such as I was back then in my youth; goddammit but I loved that car.

We were neither of us really troubled by all the weekend travelling, it was just how things were. Given the circumstances, it was what we wanted to do. I think it demonstrated the key to our relationship; we've never really worried about 'what does it mean for the future?'; rather we worry about 'are we happy today?'. If we can be happy day by day, then we'll handle whatever the future throws at us on the day it hoys it in our direction. So there were no big conversations about what it would mean if Chris took a job down sarf; it was the right job for her, so she took and we just handled what that meant. For 2 full years.

Until I landed a job at the BBC.

It was a good job. I was suprised how much I enjoyed it, given that the BBC is such a bastion of the state. For a long time, I did good work; winning a BAFTA for The History of the World in 100 objects (by democratising the proposition and proving that crowd-sourcing could mean so much more than harvesting photographs of snowmen for the so-called-news department).

I was based in old Broadcasting House on Regent's Street. Every lunchtime I would go awandering taking candid street shots. They gave me an unexpected 'productivity' bonus that I spent on a 1938 Leica IIIb film camera, a beautiful but cantankerous little thing; everyday I had a camera with me and everyday I took photographs.

Of course it all went tits-up. They moved me out to White City and Broadcast Centre where all the upper-echelon lunatics hung out and did their damnedest to bleed the meaning out of the work. Things became quite acriminous and I was basically at war with idiots for the last three years (although, I shall never forget the sweetest moment when my 'boss' broke down in tears after I opened his eyes to the fact that he was a workplace bully).

But the BBC brought me some real opportunities: working with the British Museum on our BAFTA winning project; Winning the staff photography competition; visiting TVC for a photoshoot before they sold it off... and basically just funding my creative and hedonistic lifestyle for over a decade. I would say thanks, but they were also tw@ts, so I won't.

About The Images

Hackney Wick

My friend and Stentorian Knight, Kevin Headley (RIP), would rope me into all kinds of off-beat performance events; most often down in Hackney Wick.

For a time Kevin was homeless, so faced significant challenges, yet focussed energy on making performance opportunities for others. I would make a point of tuning into his internet radio shows (were they called Baby Bear?) just to know he was streaming to someone at least. That's the kind of thought he would inspire. He was a man who made you feel as though you wanted to help make his ventures succeed.

He was a nice guy. Of course sometimes the ventures didn't succeed, but that was really all part of the fun. I remember warring with mean hippies after spending 8 hours sat on an empty pallet waiting for the event to happen. I ended up going home 4 hours later having still not participated. Utterly exaserbating! But it didn't stop me wanting to help his further ventures succeed, because he was a nice guy.

Plus, he gifted me the opportunity to take the photographs in this album; So that album is for you Kevin.

About The Images

Thames

For time in the very centre of London Chris and I would often choose to take a bottle of wine on the southbank. Sometimes this would mean buying a couple of glasses at the BFI (so we could avail ourselves of their patio seating) which we would then keep topped up from a bottle of supermarket Pinot, on account of their fancy London prices. And anyway, the patio seating was always overcrowded and somewhat uncomfortable.

Other times might see us camped outside of the Festival Hall, a good spot for people watching as the streams they make come to a confluence around the steps from the Golden Jubilee Bridges.

We would often stop to watch the bad skaters - kids come from miles around to mis-execute their finest skateboard tricks; I don't think I ever once saw any of them perfectly execute a stunt. They are bad skaters.

About The Images

Vehicles

One of my greatest pleasures lies in the knowledge that my wife is both a geek and a petrol head. I am also just a little bit soft for a gleaming classic car.

When I was, maybe 16, I would get some 'driving lessons' from my dad in his car of the time - a deep blood red Rover 90. If you don't know the Rover 90 take a look at the images, it really is quite a beautiful machine. To look at. It drove like a tank. And the front bench seat meant the gear lever was somewhat odd to operate. But I never actually crashed into anything and I think driving something more modern when I took my test really seemed like a breeze after such an introduction. I was 21 or 22 before I actually took my driving test.

About The Images

London