Life can be fast in the smoke. With so many urbanites squashed in elbow to elbow, time moves faster as experiences, situations and sights become less few and far between. By law of probability, there’s always going to be more to see. The madman ranting and raving on the corner, the drunken stand off in the chicken shop and the smiling busker all merge into one blur of bright lights and loud traffic. Moving on foot you’re at the bottom end of the food chain, but power in numbers often gives you the right of way and the upper hand so a slow but steady path through the concrete seems to make time speed up around you as the crowds float past.
Sights are varied. From the beautiful through the gritty and all the way to the disgusting, the calm to the bustling, no two moments ever repeat and no street is ever the same. Through the eye of a fifty millimetre lens you become detached from the world around you, an enhancement of the urban bubble that redefines it from the inwards facing head down in a mobile phone and ipod, to an outwards gazing interest in everything around you. Immersed in the underbelly while detached from contribution to it.
The photographs on this page are a selection of visual tales from the concrete jungle, both events and non events captured on piffed out walks and journeys through the heart of the capital. From the golden days to the late nights, they show the life and times of a city dweller lost in a love hate relationship with an overwhelming environment. Photos by Max Quinn.
A young man prays on the floor next to the bike racks outside Hackney station.
These fisherman under London Bridge spoke barely a word of English, but it turns out they catch Eel.
Alex Young works on a mural in the remains of the old Shoreditch station.
One of my favourite rooftop hits in the city on the soon to be demolished Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle, a previously unopened door hinting at underbelly activities within the abandoned and locked up walkways. The spot out of frame to the left reads ‘NOW’.
Nail art extraordinaire Grace Humphries.
The shard warming up the night before it’s much anticipated, and thoroughly underwhelming, lazer show.
Shok One outside Borough Station.
A detour through Amsterdam.
Brutalist architect Ernő Goldfinger’s infamous Trellick Towers on Carnival day. Known for his humourless personality and sudden rages, Goldfinger inspired Ian Fleming’s character of the same name after Fleming had a disagreement with him. Contact from Goldfinger’s lawyers prompted Fleming to rename the character ‘Goldprick’ and the situation was eventually settled with six free copies of the book.
One of the city kings, propelled into the spotlight recently by his dispute with Banksy.