Photoessay: London architecture in color

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The face of London has changed so much in the last few years since my previous visit – 2010 – that frankly there are parts of the Square Mile I no longer recognise. (Never mind the fact that it’s also spread northwards towards the Barbican.) I have to admit that driving through it was an extremely strange feeling – as though an American, or perhaps Japanese (due to irregular street layouts) city had been plonked there with towering edifices of steel and glass. As you all know, I like photographing these things, so a return trip had to be scheduled.

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I actually shot here three times during my last trip – once on my own, and twice with students. I found the area to be photographically very rich for both my typical architectural and human (man-in-context-abstracted) subjects. One of the reasons I enjoy photographing in these environments is because the ‘hard’ materials create interesting light patterns – shadows, reflections off the glass, opportunities to photograph through it etc. I personally also find the way the buildings blend into the sky through reflection and colour to be quite interesting – they’re there, but they’re not. Or they stand out precisely because they create reflections that don’t make sense; clouds or other buildings that are discontinuous. The potential changes depending on the time of day and direction of light. There are a couple in this set which were not from the City – I was taken in particular one curved structure with a little hole in the roof that was the entrance to St. Michael’s crypt near Trafalgar Square – but I don’t think it matters so much. The people will come soon; I’ll present the architecture first. Enjoy!

This set was shot with a Pentax 645Z, 25/4, 55/2.8 and 90/2.8 lenses as well as a Ricoh GR.

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. I actually love the clouds in some of the shots eg the first and the third. I can only imagine how they would look in a large print!

  2. Jorge Balarin says:

    Thank you for the post Ming. Some weeks ago I tried some shot inspired by your work. Unfortunately I didn’t get your results, but I will keep trying : )

  3. Reblogged this on Styron's Photos and commented:
    Beautiful architectural shots.

  4. Really like this set Ming and colour really works well in London nowadays. Something I wouldn’t have said a few years ago even!

    I also echo your sentiment on how the square mile has changed. It was only by chance a few months ago that I walked about the area (I generally don’t get to the city when I visit) and I genuinely felt like a foreigner! Next time I’m back I want to get to the Olympic Park!

  5. rstreilein says:

    Beautiful photos, captures the city well!

  6. Amazing Photos…!

  7. Wong Teck Hong says:

    Great images, thanks for sharing.
    I noticed most of the photos (on architecture) you have posted in the past have vertical lines parallel to the borders of the frame (like the 2nd photo in this essay), may I know did you apply any post processing to correct any possible lens distortion?

  8. Frans Richard says:

    Hi Ming,
    Wow, wonderful set of images. Really, really inspiring! 🙂
    I’m just curious about the third one from the top. There is a relatively dark band at the bottom with some V-shaped pillars and three lights. I wonder why you didn’t crop that part off, perhaps even made the image square. I think that would make the composition stronger, or am I missing something? What were your thoughts keeping the composition as it is? Just wondering.

  9. Lovely review of London City Ming. Weather: Then the WS group had great luck. The weather were fantastic those days and I only recall London as a sunny place since the two times I visited the city there was sunshine 🙂 Cloudy, rainy or windy or not… I am not sure I had enough of London. Planning for a re-visit.

  10. Reblogged this on Mistrz i Małgorzata.

  11. Scott Robinson says:

    Next time check out the new British Library. Your kind of scenery with modern/classic contrast.

  12. Wonderful set Ming! Really enjoy the images.

  13. You got lucky with the weather, I see! I was in London a few months back and it was glorious for two days straight, which has to be a record. My wife and I now have a joke about it: whenever we look through pictures from London and the sky is blue, she says that the sky was probably photoshopped in…

    Nice shots, as always!

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