I spent this morning finally getting round to properly start shooting for a group project I’m working on. Along with hundreds of other London photographers we are part of a project trying to photography every street in London. Bleeding London: “Inspired by Geoff Nicholson’s Whitbread short-listed novel Bleeding London, in which a character named Stuart London walks the complete length and breadth of London, the project aims to collect at least one photograph from every street in the capital” I’ve joined up with a group concentration on photographing the edges of London, as we felt these parts may be overlooked, my area is around Addington, an area I’d never been to. Being a central London girl born and bred I haven’t spent much time in the burbs, they have always seemed to me a rather odd and uninviting place. If you can get over the city centre centric thinking it’s actually quite nice there, not somewhere I ever wish to live but there are real gems, like turning a corner and discovering a field of ponies, or a beautiful church, though luckily it was a beautiful sunny day today, if it hadn’t been I think my view may have been quite different. Here with a few of the first images, more to follow soon.
I’m showing a print from my new project Notes from a (very) small island at the LIP annual show; currently showing at The Strand Gallery, London. It’s on till Sunday 3rd Nov. More info here.
I’m back for my latest, and my final, visit to the island. It’s always lovely to be back. Again this time as like others, the island has changed. There is only a couple of people on the island now and has a very much end of season feel to it. There are a few builders staying who are building a new visitor centre for day trippers to the nature reserve. It kind of spoils the peace having a JCB digging away throughout the day, but then in other ways it’s just what happens around here, daily life continues and things change, even on islands. I’m loving all the seals that have arrived, many are giving birth daily, with new pups nearly everyday. Every time you sit on a rock you realise you have an audience, they love to watch you and follow you around, then duck under the water when you look at them. I have found myself this trip taking this place and its way of life a bit for granted, like I have become accustomed to it. It’s strange how quickly we as humans get used to things, I have to keep reminding myself just how amazing this place is, and the fact that I get to come and stay on here. So I’ve just been out for a lovely night time walk round the island, it’s a strange feeling walking around the island seeing the distance lights on the mainland, it makes you realise how isolated the island really is, and quite how special it is. It’s truly beautiful and I will miss it greatly.
Cottages at night.
- A bit of rain.
Me and my new mates.
The puppies of the sea.
I back on the island again, and it’s a very different place this time. It has a completely different feel, it feels empty and stark. It’s deserted of people and most of the seabirds have departed too. What wildlife is left is having a hard time of it, though maybe it seems harder to me as I’m a city girl and not surrounded by this all the time. As I write this I’m watching a baby gull that has lost or been abandoned by it’s parents peck at a carcase of a rabbit that’s died a painful death from Myxomatosis. The gull is starving and is likely to be ‘Dead By Monday’ as they call them on the island. It’s very tempting to feed them any scrapes of food you have to stop this, but really it’s only prolonging their death and nothing else. It’s hard not to help when they make the begging for food noise they would have made to their parents, it’s heartbreaking. Maybe I’m just too soft when it comes to animals, nature is a bastard but it’s just nature. I don’t even like gulls, they kill the puffins on the island, so really one less gull would be a good thing. The worst to watch is the rabbits, Myxomatosis has spread rapidly throughout the island. Where you used to see thousands of rabbits darting into their borrows there is now a deadly silence, or a diseased rabbit struggling to walk and banging into things as their eyes are so swollen and painful they can’t see anything. Unfortunately the only thing to do is kill them then, which is hard to watch, even through a lens (I had to photograph it with my eyes closed!). Nature seems to be one big struggle. If it’s not the last few Pufflings trying to leave their nest and find the sea for the first time getting lost and panicking, then it’s the dying rabbits banging into walls trying to escape their imminent death, or the staving gulls, or the puffins having their fish for their young stolen by the gulls or worst being killed themselves by them, it’s all one massive battle. It’s not quite the fluffy idyllic island I experienced last time, where all the chicks were hatching and the island was bursting with new life. It’s more realistic this trip, and it really pulls at your heart-strings. As I write this over my breakfast cereal I give in and share the last few mouthfuls of it with the staving gull by my feet, maybe he will be Dead By (next) Monday now instead.