Thursday, April 1, 2021

CANNING TOWN / MARCH 21

My last visit to Canning Town was in Summer 2018 when I walked the length of Barking Road (A124) But before doing so I then paid a visit to the new City Island. This time this is where I started my journey hoping that the banks of the Lea River would be open to take me up to its mouth. But it is still closed and for good reasons I suppose. I had to make my way through the Limmo peninsula (aka City Island) in order to start my loop around Canning Town. This part was short-lived as I was being asked to leave the perimeter as the land was now private and therefore required an authorisation. To photograph with a high-end mobile phone didn't seem to be an issue but doing it with a standard Fuji mirrorless seemed to be one. I didn't want to go into lengthy discussions with the security guys and preferred to enjoy this glorious day of early Spring (the view from afar was much better anyway) Took the Lower Lea crossing and so much is raising. Ballymore which is in charge of City Island is also in charge of the Goodluck Hope residential area on the waterfront facing the tip of North Greenwich and the Millennium Dome. Meaning that the mouth of the Lea River has become private property! - Unbelievable - How did that happen? Anyway moving on. The whole of the waterfront is now under construction and I suppose it will link in few years with the new development further down in Silvertown. 


Map description: YELLOW DOTS my walk BLUE completed after Olympic Games PINK under construction GREEN land clearing ORANGE land waiting RED future prospects (this map is a personal interpretation)











I have now passed the A1011 and I am making my way up North. I have to walk through the London Royal Docks and its futuristic display. I then pass over the DLR to enter an older part synonymous with post-War regeneration. It is finally quiet but the high constructions are creeping in from behind. I walk through Keir Hardie recreation ground built in the 50's but seems like it has had a recent facelift - looks good. I then enter the belly of the whale. The A1011 has turned into two gigantic walls facing each other and I people look ridiculously small and insignificant. It is midday and the sky is blue but I feel trapped like in a box. It's all property. It is well located and it can take on a lot of people. And my first question is where are the extra greens spaces? The park I just left was designed for a dense low architecture. Today you can squeeze as many families in just one block and where do they go to revitalise. Playgrounds are good for kids but what about teens, adults and elderly? Where can they relax and gather. There is almost nothing down there by the river. It's just concrete after concrete, very sterile vision. Worrying...








I decide to leave the high rise and venture a bit along Newham Way (A13) This is a vision of poverty, an abandoned fringe of the population. The estate is not fit for purpose anymore and will be erased soon I bet. Visions of utopia, madness and misery. A good day from a documentary perspective I guess.

I had to post this last image SHOPEAT SOCIALISE CANNING TOWN, yeah right!...






 

CLADDING FIASCO


I found this article in yesterday's free ES as I was in Stratford. Dreams are only dreams and politicians and property developers capitalise on it. As soon as the Olympic agenda was set it was clear that the land would be the perfect mean for legal corruption. As London's population grows, the East End is at the forefront of this housing enterprise. Most promises have been broken and the quality of new blocks have taken on a plastic surgery treatment as the recession kicked in. Quality is poor but their cosmetics and vibrant colour panels maintained that dream. The landscape has turned into an endless rolling wave of conformism were individuals hide from each with support of private security firms. This project of the East End isn't so much about the landscape but it is about politics and human's aspirations. And today we feel trapped...

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

FISH ISLAND / MARCH 2021


I am returning to the same spot where I left it two years ago. And so much has changed. It is actually hard to take it in somehow. You knew this area would become the epitome of change eventually and the signs of change have been popping out in a very subtle manner since I last visited it. But then what has happened in those 2 years is just incredible and there is a lot more coming. When I first visited this area in the late 90's you would call it the Lea Valley and most specifically Hackney Wick if you referred to the flea market. The industrial area would be known as Fish Island. Today the main residential area below the Hertford Union Canal is called Fish Island Village. But the whole area is also called Wicked for the alternative scene I presume. The area has taken off and is already heaving with people in March in Covid times. I can't imagine what it is going to be like this Summer! 

I have tried to summarise the changes I have experienced in the last 15 odd years with a map. BLUE is for the new developments ORANGE is for new lands acquired for more developments CORAL is for new developments built after the Olympic Games YELLOW is for the potential of later developments BLUE DOTS are for new Hub created at the time of Olympic Games RED DOTS are for new Hubs PINK ARCS are for new pedestrians bridges (Bare in mind that this map is a personal interpretation)

Coming back to Hackney Wick and witnessing that change makes me realised that the future I anticipated more than 10 years ago is almost there. The gentrification has taken this whole area in the 21st century and made it look like any other suburban landscape. Looking back at my first series "Arteries of a new East" and comparing it with the new context, it is evident that London has finally linked with or absorbed Stratford. The East End is no more wild and unexpected landscape, it has been tamed. The new towers of the City are looking at Fish Island Village via the canal as neighbours.















 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

NEW BLOG, FINAL STRETCH - 11/3/21

I am back, and sorry for that long break! Looking at the previous blog I created it seems like it has been 18 months since my last post. The project has been left aside for some time for various reasons. Firstly, after our last show at the Cass School I felt a bit deflated and needed to step back from the project both as a curator and photographer. I am still very proud of the show though. I then focused my attention a bit more towards the commercial work as a little boy called Viggo came into our lives. And then Covid-19 struck and suddenly the very little time I had for my projects vanished. As a consequence the continuum has turned into a vacuum! Now is the time to reignite the project as the kids are back to school. This break has also been somehow beneficial as it has let the urban landscape evolve without me having to photograph it. What I mean is that I needed a break from that visual routine in order to come back stronger. What I noticed though whilst commuting around is that some parts of the East End haven't changed at all whereas others have drastically. So this time I will investigate only in some very specific areas instead of trying to roam in every corner of the East End. I am giving myself until the end of Spring 2022 in order to finish the project as a whole. Which could be the perfect opportunity to produce something special in order to celebrate a decade since the London Olympics. But enough of that, first I am going to get my gear ready, get my shoes and go out there.

Note: I am no expert in digital technology and I wish I could have kept feeding my first blog created 11 years ago. Sadly it seems impossible to access it and consequently I had to create this new one.

If you wish to visit the archives, go to www.2012pics.blogspot.com

Or simply click on link on the top right hand side titled "Archives"

CANNING TOWN / MARCH 21

My last visit to Canning Town was in Summer 2018 when I walked the length of Barking Road (A124) But before doing so I then paid a visit to ...