Friday, 10 March 2017
Second and final day visiting the new Greenwich Peninsula on an early beautiful Spring day. I started my tour of the East side, or new developed section, by following the banks behind the Millennium Dome. The path looks more like a highway for cyclist and joggers and the walk is punctuated by diverse art installations. To photograph the O2 and few buildings under constructions are pretty pointless as you are too close to them. The "real" new village emerges after passing the Emirates cable cars terminal. Then follows a succession of hybrid construction with no real interest. Your attention is more drawn towards the mouth of the Thames Barrier where your gaze can be lost in minor delectable details as if observing some classical paintings.
I walked until the vast quarry and ready mix industrial area. The place is quite atmospheric and a real contrast to the new world elevating around it. I walked back towards the centre of the peninsula where more building sites are active. I tried to find relics or signs that would emphasise on the peculiar character of the peninsula but my search ended up fruitless. I continued my journey towards the centre where a vast car park follows a mediocre green and there I was back to the Tube.
The walk was definitely interesting but without surprises disappointingly. The Greenwich Peninsula is this new contemporary hub which forces itself to be attractive especially to the young generations. It is kind of peaceful, kind of central, kind of modern, kind of convenient, kind of arty, kind of high-tech, and so and so...Developers have tried to combine all sorts of attractive elements to invest into this ex-no man's land but the truth is that this patch hasn't had any real personality before, and we could say that they managed to transmit that feeling but with a lot of fuss.
The architecture observed is very shallow, typical of the standard recent post-recession. The blocks are very close to each other, the various styles proposed are really out of date and are to be understood as a continuity of the late 70's and 80's but only with new materials. There is this consistent and sick habit in trying to make our lives better by using a palette of 5 or 6 primary colours as details. This architecture is, again, generic and works hard at trying to hide its defect. It can be found anywhere else in the country and most especially is the neighbour areas of Stratford and Canning Town. Quite a few plots are still available and more is going to be built. The only green area will look meagre in this vast new complex where lives are to be lived in small indoors at high price.
Thursday, 9 February 2017
First part of a two days walk around North Greenwich. I focused my attention to the Western part of the peninsula, the one facing Canary Wharf and going South towards Greenwich village walking down the Thames path until fences of new developments made me walk back towards the Blackwall Tunnel. Made my way back toward the tube station and walk back along the A102 until I reached the drive under the highway, then back to the station.
This first section represents more the industrial area which is still active but all the signs are there to tell you that not for very long. Golf practice, awaiting to be built empty tarmacs, sealed off Thames path, cleared fields and new developments on the rise. Yesterday was a very cold and grey day I therefore decided to shoot in black and white, not for its nostalgic aspect but in order to compare with the next part of the Eastern side (almost fully built) in colour later. I don't believe in the terminology and codes that either bw or colour would instinctively deliver a single feeling or address. I think it is really up to the photographer and how he directs his subject and its narrative. This is not my intention here to draw the viewer towards nostalgia, on the contrary the bw enables me to find more depth in the vacant spaces depicted whereas the way I work in colour wouldn't have produced such analysis.