Shadwell Promenade: June 2023

(Note: Clicking on an image will take you to a larger size hosted at Flickr)

(Above: Platform, Shadwell Overground Station, East London, England)

I have not ventured onto the street of the East End for many months but seizing an opportunity the other day, of being down near Shadwell I decided to take my Ricoh GRIII camera along with me looking for photographic opportunities. 

All the photographs here were taken with the Wide Angle adapter for the Ricoh GRIII, This converts the standard 18mm fixed lens (equivalent to 28mm full frame) into a 13.5mm lens (equivalent to 21mm). To my eye the use of the adapter does not compromise image quality, at all and adds to the versatility of this tiny camera.

(Above: Pinchin Street, E1)

My photographic journey begins in the curved, cobbled, railway-arched, Pinchin Street. The railway viaduct once carried freight traffic to a depot close to Commercial Road a few hundred metres north of this point. The yard was in the general area of Goodman's Fields. which is now a fancy new housing development.

I decided to process all these photographs using a preset I purchased from Ted Forbes, the 'Kodified' collection. These Lightroom presets are a good starting point for attempting to recreate the look and feel of older Kodak films, in digital post processing. In this case I chose the Kodachrome 1960s 'Warm Contrast' preset, then added it to a recipe I have in ColorEffex5 which I call 'Doors of Whitechapel'. This is a preset I created for my book 'Whitechapel Doors' (which is no longer available but which I may self-publish at some point in the future). I think it does give these modern captures a more timeless feel, something which you can still capture in the backroads of the East End - where the voracious modern developers have yet to tread!

(Above: Hanson House, Pinchin Street)

About half way down Pinchin Street are a number of early post-war London County Council housing blocks. Many of these streets that were bombed out during the blitz in WWII. The brickwork on these buildings is immaculate and a very distinctive feature are the 'fluted' baclonies and lift shafts with their fluid curves.

(Above: Further along Pinchin Street)

(Above: looking to the end of Pinchin Street from the corner with Stutfield Street)

Pinchin Street comes to a full stop at Christian Street. In the past there may have been stubby streets linking the thoroughfares running southward from Commercial Road down to Cable Street. Today there is a walkway under the overhang of a modern housing block. The original cobbled street that links Christian Street with Challoner Walk, still exists.

(Above: the remanant of a street linking Christian Street with Challoner Walk)

Here I try to recreate a technique I have used before, which is to create a photograph within a photograph. I use the wall, ceiling and columns of the modern building to frame the view of car against the wall in the distance. This is what I call 'picture within picture'.

(Above: the view back to Christian Street)

The view back towards Christian Street is perhaps a better example of 'picture within picture'.

(Above: 'Chipboard and Graffiti: Challoner Walk)

(Below: Martha Street)

There is no street linking Challoners Walk with the next set of street without going down to Cable Street and walking to the next arch in the railway line which runs parallel to Cable Street for its entire length. The mainline carries trains into Fenchurch Street and next to it is the modern addition of the Dockland Light Railway. Ducking into Cannon Street Road and after the railway arch turning immediately right takes you into Chapman Street which runs parallel to Cable Street all the way to Watney Street and 'central' Shadwell. The street is lined with businesses built into the railway arches.

(Above: a typical Bangladeshi business in one of the arches, selling traditional Indian sweets and snacks)

(Above: a former Victorian public house, now converted to the ubiquitous 'fried chicken' shop)

We are now within sight of modern Shadwell, a busy transport hub connecting the Overground and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and surrounded by modern local authority and private housing blocks.

But for me at the end of walk on a hot summer's day so instead of photographing more of Shadwell, which I have done many times, I duck into the Overground station to take me homewards.

(Above: looking towards a modern tower block in 21st century central Shadwell)

(Below: from the northbound platform of Shadwell Overground Station)