Photoessay: Piccadilly Circus by night

If this isn’t one of the most recognizable urban spaces on the planet, I’m not sure what is. Piccadilly Circus, London, is a gathering point for both locals and tourists, and all levels of the social stratum. The upscale thoroughfares of Regent Street, St. James and Piccadilly flow into a public square-cum-tube-station-cum-bus-stop-cum-traffic-junction, and mingle with the Theatre District and Chinatown in Shaftesbury Avenue, and the movie hub of Leicester Square.

I didn’t intend to shoot on this trip; I was based in Kuala Lumpur at the time and visiting London for work – to get some very confidential prospectuses securely printed, of all things – and only had a compact camera on me. Still, there are some places where you are compelled to break out a camera – of any sort – and shoot; this is one of them. And having a compact is not a bad thing in security-paranoid London; it just makes you like another tourist. Even better if it’s dusk, and your camera is black and nondescript. Not so good with the small sensor, but hey, there are compromises everywhere. MT

Series shot with a Ricoh GR-Digital III

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  1. Can I ask why you don’t leave some of your EXIF data intact? I would be extrememly helpful to see ISO settings and what not.

    • It should be intact, at least if you click through to the original image on Flickr to view EXIF there. I don’t intentionally strip anything, though some cameras put metadata in odd fields that sometimes mean things don’t show up where you expect.

  2. That’s why I’ve got a DSLR but I still love the Point and Shot. Your photos are amazing, can’t wait to see more

  3. Robert Stark says:

    Here, I especially prefer the black and white. For me, aside from getting rid of the unpleasant, distressing, distracting cacophony of colour, the images are more “timeless”. Well, one isn’t placed back in the 18th century visually but I feel a certain timelessness of the human spirit that I don’t with the colour photographs. I’m curious to know how you or others perceive them. My view of the world admittedly is one not universally shared or even shared by a small community.

    • I’m inclined to agree here – but at the time of processing, I liked both equally. Images have a way of maturing over time – or perhaps it’s the viewer’s tastes that mature, or perceptions that change – and the best image of the set may not be immediately obvious.

      On a related not, I find that if a composition works well in B&W generally it also works well in color but that’s not always the same the other way around (probably due to different colours having the same luminance values when converted, and making the resulting image look flat; whereas a good, punchy B&W requires dynamic lighting – and this is rendered well in color too.)

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