London Diaries 9 – Thursday 21st February 2019: …and finally, Greenwich


The problem with enthusiasm is that it’s not always the most practical mindset, which is why I’ve recently found myself juggling about five different projects simultaneously. Individually, they’re all awesomely fun… Take photographs? Sure. Start a street photography collective? Oh, hell yeah. Create a magazine publication, write a blog, sort out my “real life”… absolutely. But when the twist is that I have to do all these things AT THE SAME TIME: well, I’ve found myself taking a lot more power naps recently.

With that in mind, I’ve found myself several blogs behind schedule. If I had one scrap of common sense, I’d shrug them off and pretend those shoots never happened. Instead, I’m using an unusually quiet Saturday to catch up on the backlog. I didn’t make notes (I’m not that organised, unfortunately), so I’m writing from memory. I mean, it helps that I’ve got the photographs to trigger those memories 😉

PJ and I used to always shoot street on Thursdays in 2018, until other circumstances forced us to change our regular weekday. We took advantage of it being school holidays to allow us to shoot on a Thursday again this time. I’d originally mentioned Greenwich as a potential new location to check out, but PJ hadn’t felt like making the journey, so I’d filed it under “at some point”. But we had no concrete plans for today. Plus, it was the fourth anniversary of my dad’s passing, AND my ex was due in court that morning to face criminal charges against me, so I needed a massive distraction. Here’s the diary of the day:


We did our standard Paddington to Oxford Circus tube journey, and walked over to Chinatown. I just checked my IG account, and I’ve already shared 11 shots from this day onto my account, so technically this was a good day’s shoot. But I wasn’t really with it all day. I kept feeling awfully emotional about the significance of the date. There wasn’t much going on to photograph during the walk – or maybe there was, and I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to notice. I loved those Mulberry posters on the phone box, though. They’ve since been replaced by Wrangler ones, and they’re not as good.


We arrived in Chinatown at approximately the same time as every delivery van in existence, so it was difficult to get decent compositions, although in two of the examples above, the vans actually added to the shots. We decided to go to Leon for an early lunch (Korean chicken burger and goji juice, in case you’re interested. Why would you be?…), and then returned for a few more photo opportunities. The sun was out enough to cast some interesting shadows, which is normally our cue to get ourselves over to the South Bank.

I’ve been avoiding shooting in RAW recently. There are several reasons for this, not least because I don’t have time to spend hours in Lightroom. I think the Pro Neg HI and ACROS JPEGS out of the X100F are decent enough for my requirements, and VSCO X is sufficient to add that analogue look to the tones in my JPEGS that I personally like.


Off we went towards the South Bank. Our regular route takes us via Trafalgar Square, which is my least favourite place to shoot in London. The light is too harsh, the people are too “touristy”, and there’s no interesting backgrounds to contribute to compositions. But today, there WAS somebody in an enormous (and I mean ENORMOUS) panda costume, so for once PJ was spared my monologue about how they should just let the pigeons back so at least we’d get interesting shots there (she doesn’t disagree, partly to shut me up, and partly because she doesn’t like the guy who handles the hawk, employed to scare off the pigeons, because he wouldn’t let her photograph him one time).


It was worth going over to the South Bank for the shadows, and for an interesting crowd. It was at this point, around 2pm, that I casually slipped into the conversation that “seeing as we’d already managed to capture some decent images so far today, wouldn’t this be a good time to check out Greenwich? If it sucked for photography, we’d lost nothing, but if it was good, we could definitely go back for longer another day?” And because PJ is good like that, and because I was still being a miserable cow because of what day it was, we walked over to Bank and got on the DLR.


So, it turned out we both really liked Greenwich. As an (admittedly weird) teenager, I often used to walk the Greenwich Foot Tunnel underneath the Thames on weekend for no reason other than it was there. But I’d never explored Greenwich itself. We got off the DLR at the Cutty Sark, and were pleasantly surprised how the area had “seaside town” vibes, like a Cornish village or Brighton (but without the beach, obvs). Greenwich Market had a great array of oddities and street food, and I got an excellent flat white from Crosstown Doughnuts.

We wandered down to the river to get a closer look at the Cutty Sark and the skyline, noticing that there was a river taxi service back to the London Eye, but neither of us were willing to queue with the seemingly hundreds of half-term families. Something for another day, definitely.

Greenwich is definitely going on the list of places to return to – it’s a shame it’s so far out of zone 1 though. It’s also a shame that I spent so long procrastinating today, and wrote only one of blogs that I was supposed to. I blame Ricky Gervais for making a new show that I needed to binge watch, and the people I follow on Instagram for putting out such engaging content.
The next blog will be the final instalment of London Diaries, because I would rather spend my time blogging about other specific things, rather than feel obligated to keep up a series that repeatedly journals the same areas. Next time, I’ll be combining photographs from my two most recent shoots, and sharing images from another new location, Notting Hill.

Stay Curious,

Love from London x

London Diaries 8 – Saturday 16th February 2019: Nearly Everywhere

We don’t normally go shooting on Saturdays.

“You know what’s good on Saturdays? Camden Market,” I said to PJ. And I was technically correct. We just went there a couple of decades too late.

Camden Town in the 1990s was so much fun – an area famed for being a Mecca for subcultures. Cyberpunks and Goths and Indie Kids would mill around the streets, each sporting the styles of their respective scenes. The whole place was a feast for the senses: loud music blaring from every stall, the scents of street food and incense filling the air, stalls filled with bootleg records and outlandish clothing and bizarre handmade goods… there was always a vibe around the place that encouraged individuality, and told the misfits that this was the one place they could comfortably be themselves.

Camden Market wasn’t just one market. It was a collection of several smaller markets all in close proximity to each other, linked by Camden High Street. The roads offered a variety of small pubs that doubled as music venues, where a lot of the Indie bands of the nineties first started out. Fast forward to 2019, and that whole atmosphere has gone. Camden these days is just another tourist trap. I’m in my thirties now, and so I don’t know if “scene kids” even exist any more (I’m the mother of teenagers though, and from what I can tell, it doesn’t), but if they do, they’re not hanging around Camden, that’s for sure. Long story short, we didn’t end up spending much time in Camden in the end.

This London Diary instalment is relatively short, due to poor light, indecisiveness, and a lack of inspiration. Not every shoot is a success.

Walk from London Paddington to Camden Lock

We left ridiculously early and ended up at London Paddington before 8:30AM, so we decided to walk to Camden. We’ve been consciously trying to stay above ground as much as possible over the past few months to get more of a sense of where locations are in relation to each other. We’ve been surprised on several occasions about the proximity of places compared to how they look on the Underground map. The walk from Paddington took us along the Grand Union canal path, so it wasn’t the most exciting journey in the world, aside from the section that passed through London Zoo, so we got to see some warthogs from a distance (always a novelty in London). I took a few snaps with the Huawei P20 Pro en route (above)…

… a couple of selfies with the Samsung Galaxy S7…

…and a couple of photographs with the Fujifilm X100F (which, for reasons that made sense to me at the time, are all in 1:1 format this week).

Then onto Costa for a quick coffee before hitting the markets to take some photos.

Camden Town

This was the result of shooting around Camden: eight mediocre photographs. The ONLY exciting thing that happened the whole time we were there was that I found a vintage camera stall that had a Mamiya RZ67, which the guy let me have a play with. I didn’t buy it, because a) it was £1000, and b) it wasn’t the Pro II version, which has extra fine tuning on the focus dial, but it was great to get an idea of the size and weight of it, and to actually look down through that viewfinder. And now be lusting after owning one even more.

Brick Lane

So we headed East, heading for Shoreditch and Brick Lane, defecting en route to Starbucks by Spitalfields Market purely because they sold pancakes (I ordered some bizarre frappe thing instead of their coffee, because I don’t hate myself). The light was still woefully flat, and neither of us appreciated beforehand that Brick Lane Market is really an exclusively Sunday thing.

Still, I was a little more in the mood to photograph people, having held that Mamiya earlier in Camden, and there were far more interesting looks going on around Brick Lane than there had been in Camden.

It was turning into one of those days where we didn’t know where we wanted to be or what we wanted to do. But where do we normally go when all else fails? Chinatown and Soho… so we walked back towards Liverpool Street to get the number 8 bus westbound, capturing a couple more shots along the way, including a pretty epic soft tiger toy that somebody had left by a bin.

Chinatown + Soho

I haven’t been particularly excited about ANY of the shots I took on this day. Writing this blog forces me to review my photographs far more than I have done previously, and everything that I shot this Saturday just reminds me of the kind of images I was producing a year ago. That’s why it has taken so long for me to get this edition of London Diaries published on the site: I’m not proud of these photographs, and I’m reluctant to post them as examples of my work. However, I think that if I’m going to write this blog, it needs to be honest, and so what if I had an off day? Everybody has off days, right?

Some very angry people, + a bit of photojournalism

Just as we were about to leave Central London and begin the journey home, several police riot vans sped past us and turned just off of Piccadilly Circus. Two separate protests had inadvertently merged – one a group of Pro-Brexiteers, angry about the UK not leaving the EU swiftly enough, and the other a group protesting the lenient sentencing of a hit-and-run driver who had killed three teenagers. We followed the sound of the angry mob, and came across this scene. The atmosphere was horrific, a police officer had just been punched in the face when we arrived, and it didn’t feel like a particularly safe place to be taking photographs, but it was interesting to try to capture the moment. First time in ages that I wished I had a telephoto lens, because I definitely didn’t want to get any closer than where I was standing.

So that was that. The moral of the story this time is to have a plan (and a back up plan) when you go out shooting, especially if your time is limited. There isn’t normally a moral to these diaries, but it’s an added extra to compensate for the mediocre photography.
On the plus side, the next instalment is going to look totally fantastic in comparison to this one.

Stay Curious,

Love from London x

London Diaries 7 – Wednesday 13th February 2019: Instax and Artefacts

Photography is like an addiction. Generally, I manage to get out once or twice a week to shoot street photos, and that seems to feed my habit enough. But occasionally, circumstances prevent me from managing to get into Central London. Which would be fine if I lived in a remotely photogenic area that I could grab half an hour or so to take photographs around here and there, but I don’t. It’s not pretty enough to be typically “British”, nor gritty enough to be interesting – just mundane suburbia.

Whenever these forced hiatuses from street photography occur, I tend to get withdrawal symptoms after about seven days. And then something dangerous happens: I start “researching” things. This is the nicest way to describe my habit of becoming intensely interested in something new, and this time, that “something new” was medium format cameras and 120 film.

When I was considering buying the Fujifilm X100F for my street photography, I researched hard… to the point that when I actually bought one, I’d watched so many hours of YouTube videos about them, I felt like I’d owned one for years. I seem to be going the same way with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, my desired medium format camera. This interest has stemmed from my increasing love of Japanese analogue portrait photography, which generally has a distinctive soft, bright aesthetic achieved by using Kodak Portra 400 film. The stylings and compositions are thoughtfully lit, calm, dreamy and tranquil… and I REALLY want to create portrait photographs which are that beautiful. That’s the dream. But that’s for a different blog.

Today was all about getting back onto the streets with the X100F after my ten day break. I’d recently purchased an extra pack of Instax Square film for the Fujifilm Instax SQ6 camera, so I had 12 shots to play with. The light was terrible and Wednesdays are always pretty quiet in Central London, but at least we’d escaped suburbia. I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time for post-processing this week, so I shot JPEG only, and did my editing on the iPad with VSCO X. Here’s the story of today’s shoot:

I shot with a soundtrack today, which is a new thing for me.

Instax Square

I used 11 out of my 12 Instax shots around Soho at the beginning of the day. I love how unpredictable Instax film is. I have the Instax Share SP-2 printer that uses Instax mini film, which can be wirelessly synced with the Fujifilm X100F to produce prints on the go, but it’s not the same as using an Instant camera. Bonus points to the Huawei P20 Pro this week, for having a neat little scan feature in the camera that makes it really easy to make digital copies of my Instax photos for uploading online.


We initially took the Tube to Oxford Circus station, and decided to wander aimlessly through Soho along streets that were less familiar to us. In preparation for the creation of Curious magazine, I’ve been purchasing a few independent magazines recently to get ideas and inspiration regarding potential layouts, so I was really pleased to find a newsagent that stocked a whole host of them, and bought a couple more (“Huck” and “Hungry Eye”, in case anybody’s interested). I also got some really good Korean Fried Chicken from the @bapfoods food stall in Rupert Street, which was super yummy.


There were even more lanterns strung across the streets of Chinatown than usual after the recent Lunar New Year, but down at ground level the streets were pretty empty. I’ve noticed that Wednesdays are often like this during the daytime in London. We walked our standard one-lap “circuit” of the main streets, found a man cleaning windows who seemed very happy to have his photograph taken whilst he worked, and then decided to try our luck elsewhere.

Bonus photograph of PJ, because it’d be rude not to take such an opportunistic photograph next to a sign like that.

British Museum

“How did they end up in the British Museum?” I hear you cry. Actually, I’m pretty sure you’re not all that bothered, but I’m going to tell you anyway. We’ve been researching potential new street photography locations around London, and had read about Exmouth Market, which is held every Friday and Saturday. Unusually for us, our next street shot falls on a Saturday, so we thought we’d go and scout out the area in advance whilst we were within walking distance today. The route there took us past the British Museum, and it was pretty cold outside, so it seemed sensible to pop inside for a bit. We’ve taken some interesting shots in the past inside the V&A Museum, and were curious what the light was like inside the British Museum. Not great, was the answer. But there were some interesting artefacts, so it was a good opportunity to take some photographs anyway.

Tottenham Court Road to Barbican

So, all in all, it was quite a long walk. And once we arrived at the Exmouth Market location, neither of us were taken enough with it to want to bother coming back on Saturday. However, as well as our detour into the British Museum, we actually passed through a fair amount of photo-worthy locations en route. I particularly liked the Imperial Hotel in Russell Square, with its brutalist concrete facade. I also manage to take my first blossom photographs of 2019, which was surprising given how cold it has been recently.

Given my new-found interest in 120 film, imagine my delight when we stumbled across a camera film wholesaler in Mount Pleasant (I say stumbled “across”… I literally stumbled INTO the shop, thanks to being so fixated on the Portra 400 which I’d noticed on the counter that I didn’t acknowledge the doorstep. Way to make an entrance).

We made a much needed pitstop at a branch of Costa. I don’t even know why I went all MySpace with a mirror selfie whilst we were there, so I’m not even going to try to justify my behaviour. I took a couple of photographs of the same table with different customer sat at it, which I’m filing as a potential idea for a future series. A Day in the Life of a Chair. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to sit in Costa all day.


We had no idea where to finish our day’s shoot. We were both pretty tired by this point (in fact, we’d never really recovered from our decision to bypass our fellow travellers by power walking up a deceptively long and steep broken escalator at Oxford Circus station). My launderette fetish had reared its head earlier in the day, when I thought I’d found one in Soho, only to discover with great disappointment on closer inspection that it was a manned dry cleaners, so I did a quick google search of launderettes within a mile of Exmouth Market. The “prettiest” one seemed to be located at the Barbican, so we set off to find it.

On arrival, a sign on the wall proclaimed that photography wasn’t permitted. But that’s just one of those rules that’s just made to be broken, so I used my last Instax shot on those beautiful blue dryers, and took a quick snap with the X100F. We wandered around the Barbican Estate, wishing that the light was better for some shadowy brutalist architectural photography, took a few photographs anyway, and as always at the Barbican, got completely lost in the warren of high rises trying to find the Tube station.

Now that we’ve decided to bypass Exmouth Market, our plans for Saturday involve a ridiculously early start and a wander around Camden. Will the light be in our favour? Will we walk such a ridiculous amount of steps as we did today? Will I return home with more random purchases that I don’t need, like the awesomely-named “Lip Shit” lip balm that I bought today? Will I fall down any more steps? Find out in the next instalment of London Diaries.
Stay Curious,

Love from London x

London Diaries 6 – Sunday 3rd February 2019: Free Hugs in the East End

Neither of us felt in the mood for a mad one. I carried around the Sony FDR-X3000R action cam, thinking that I might possibly make a video this week, but that never happened. Mainly because I discovered that I can make slideshow videos of my photography on the iPad with minimal effort. It’s kinda nice not to give a second thought to those downvoting jerks on YouTube when a video has only taken five minutes to put together rather than five hours. Or days.

The day got off to a bit of a delayed start, as we had originally intended to travel into Central London from Burnham train station, only to rock up there and discover that there was a rail replacement service going on. We’re not fans of rail replacement buses (who is?), so we hopped back into the car and went to Slough train station instead.
Finally about to leave Slough. This is the happiest PJ has ever looked.
Playing with those camera settings on the train to pass the time.
Our plan was to spend a leisurely day strolling around Brick Lane. Once we’d finally made it over to the East End, it was pretty much lunchtime, but we made the odd decision to ignore the McDonald’s at Liverpool Street station, and walk over to the one in Whitechapel instead. Heads up: it’s further away than you’d expect. Especially on foot.

Fun fact about me: I don’t enjoy photography when I’m hungry. But here’s a little gallery of images taken pre-lunch, in those moments “in between locations”.

Once we’d refuelled ourselves with Whitechapel’s finest processed crap, we were ready to head over to Brick Lane.

Brick Lane

We love Brick Lane market on a Sunday. There’s a tangible atmosphere so strong, it’s almost a sensory overload. On a good day, there are so many musicians busking the streets, it’s quite surreal to hear the different performances merge into each other as you travel down the road. On sunny days, the light fills the intersections between the main stretch and the side roads, illuminating clusters of people, all of whom are wrapped up in the laidback spirit of the area. There are food stalls of every description; each one filling the air with the scent of their cooking. The street art that dominates nearly every available wall space is a fittingly vibrant backdrop to an equally vibrant area.

I spent too much time being indecisive about whether or not I was shooting video or photographs though, and ended up not really doing anything, other than going totally against character and accepting a “Free Hug” from a stranger. Damn my weakness for Japanese guys…

I wasn’t anticipating the “Free Hug” to be as enthusiastically delivered as it was. PJ captured my surprise well.

Colombia Road Flower Market

On a whim, it suddenly seemed like a really good idea to walk over to Colombia Road Flower Market. We’ve often been rather bemused, watching people wandering down Brick Lane carrying enormous plants and huge bouquets of flowers on their journey back from the nearby flower market, so we thought we’d go and check it out for ourselves.

We had no idea of the best route to get there, so we just used our best detective skills and retraced the steps of everybody who was carrying foliage. Just call us Sherlock and Watson.

Here’s another word of advice (this blog is just one big old public service announcement today): EVERYBODY is at Colombia Road Flower Market at 3pm on a Sunday, so if crowds aren’t your thing, avoid that time like the plague. I genuinely had no idea that plants were that popular. All the plants in my house are made out of plastic, because I appear to be the victim of some sort of curse that prevents me from keeping real ones alive.

A bit of B Roll…

I think in the end we were only taking photographs for about three hours. We got a little lost on our way back to Liverpool Street station because there was no trail of clues to follow like there had been with the plants, and I’m normally too stubborn to admit defeat and resort to Google maps, because darn it, I should just KNOW instinctively how to get everywhere. We had to hastily hide our cameras when we did eventually get back to near the station though, because an enormous giant of a man had taken HUGE offence to being photographed by another street photographer, and was storming down the road, yelling obscenities and out for blood. It made me pretty thankful that we’ve never experienced anything like that. Yet.

There’s a real-time ten day hiatus between this London Diaries instalment and the next, because our schedules don’t permit us to get out shooting in that time. However, I’m so terribly disorganised/busy (delete as per your kindness level), the next blog will be online within the next 24 hours of me posting this one, in which you can find out the effect that a ten day break has on me creatively.

Be sure to say hello in the comments so that I know that people are reading this blog during my lifetime, and it’s not just going to be used as a posthumous look at the ramblings of “that quirky girl with the camera”.

Stay Curious,

Love From London x

London Diaries 5 – Sunday 27th January 2019: Mood Board

We didn’t anticipate just how much it was going to rain that day.

In all honesty, I’ve had a lot of difficulty writing up this particular Sunday, because it wasn’t a typical London shoot. My original plan was to spend the day experimenting with the photographic capabilities of my newly-acquired Huawei P20 Pro smartphone. The unanimous advice I received from friends was also to take the Fujifilm X100F “just in case”, so that’s what I did.

First up, I learned that selfies captured on the Huawei P20 Pro are unforgiving. And that I look ultra-miserable first thing in the morning.

To cut a long story short, it was apparent pretty much instantly that to take anywhere near a decent photograph with a smartphone, I’d have to stand pretty still – the polar opposite of my usual street photography technique, which can only be described as “hyperactive”. Well, it COULD be described in other ways, but none of them as kind.

So the X100F made its appearance relatively early on in the day. But so did the rain. PJ (@pj.pix) and I spent a little time strolling around Soho, met up with fellow Instagrammer Gav Hardy (@gavhardythings) for a coffee at Soho Grind (home of the “French Lessons Given Downstairs” neon sign that’s a seemingly permanent inclusion on the London Street Photography Bingo Card), and then wandered around in the rain a little more.

Today’s edition of London Diaries has ended up as more of a mood board than a diary, for several reasons. Firstly, I’m not sure what’s going on with me at the moment, but I’m having some kind of creativity overload, which sounds pretentious AF and probably is. I can’t seem to give any one project my complete attention, and instead I’m dipping in and out of things constantly, completely buzzing with ideas. It would be much better to just do one thing well, but it is what it is.

With that in mind, the second reason for this smorgasbord of “stuff” is that once we left Soho Grind, I spent the afternoon playing with the video capabilities on the X100F, something that I’ve not tried before despite owning the camera since October 2017. Interestingly, I discovered the same problem as shooting with the Huawei – any movement made the footage unusable because there’s no in-built image stabilisation. Ive bought a Sony FDRX3000R video action cam for future videography, so that I can actually film and walk simultaneously. I’m pretty sure that a logical step would be to do vlogging, but it’s completely out of my comfort zone, so I can’t imagine that I’ll be doing that any time soon. I’m going to have to find a more creative way to make my videos more personal without having to actually get in front of the camera, feeling and acting ridiculously awkward and self-conscious. Aspergers is a blessing and a curse.

Bonus Huawei P20 Pro photograph. Just randomly inserted here for aesthetic reasons.

I found an abandoned umbrella on a side alley off of Carnaby Street, which cheered me up immensely, and allowed me to shoot more than I would’ve otherwise been able to with my non-weather sealed gear. Below are the results of my day flitting between camera and phone, and photography and videography:

Provia JPEGs with Fujifilm X100F

I set the X100F to shoot Provia simulation JPEGs only. Normally, I tend to shoot ACROS simulation JPEGS + RAW – I like the black and white JPEGs straight out of camera, and use Lightroom Classic CC to edit and convert my colour RAW files. Plus, I prefer using the LCD with a monochrome display rather than colour when shooting, because I can gauge the light and shadows better in my images.

But this time, I opted for Provia JPEGs only, because I knew that the following week was going to be super busy, and I wasn’t going to have the time to spend in Lightroom messing around with RAW files. I get asked a lot about my editing process. Generally, I use a combination of Lightroom Classic CC, Snapseed and VSCO X to edit my photographs. Why? Because I don’t know how to achieve my desired results using just one program. It really is down to ignorance, and nothing else. Having only shot JPEGS meant that I could skip the Lightroom step and just make edits on the iPad with Snapseed and VSCO X. I’ve put before and after edits on here today. I’d have liked to do sliders, but I don’t know how to do that either.

The two photographs above just worked better with a black and white edit. Each photograph has its own individual mood that needs bringing out. I have about twenty base preset options that I’ve created in Lightroom as options, although a lot of the time I don’t use them. In VSCO X, I gravitate towards various strengths of the AGA, B, E, SS or SUM ranges of presets as starting points for most of my second-level edits. And that’s enough spoilers for one day. This is only the fifth instalment of London Diaries after all.

Huawei Pro P20

There’s quite a lot of features to the camera on the Huawei P20 Pro, but as you know, this isn’t a technical kinda blog. If you’re after all the details, Google is your friend. There IS the option to shoot RAW files, but I wasn’t about that today. First impressions: the black tones are REALLY black, aperture priority mode is pretty stunning, and the black and white shots don’t look like they’ve been taken with a smartphone (even a 40MP smartphone). Stick it in standard “photo” mode, and it’ll automatically select the optimum settings for the scene. There’s zero image stabilisation going on, so it’s important to take your time and shoot carefully. It’s never going to be my first choice for street photography. But if I’m out without the X100F and I’m relying on the old “the best camera is the one you have on you” thing, I can think of worse options to be stuck with.

Videography with Fujifilm X100F

I had to just bin all my video taken whilst I was walking around Soho, once I realised that videoing whilst in motion resulted in nauseatingly shaky footage on playback. This little video that I’ve cobbled together with what was left certainly isn’t the best video I’ll ever make (by a long shot. I hope), but it was fun to make, and that’s what matters. I try to remind myself all the time that everybody has to start somewhere – that this time last year, I’d never really shot any street photography at all, and yet now I feel comfortable that it’s my “thing”. I look at my first street photographs and remember how I would nervously “spray and pray”, and then spend time editing the hundreds of pointless resulting photographs with frankly horrendous presets. Maybe in 12 months time, I’ll be making videos that are a million times better than this one. Maybe not, but I can only hope.

Next time, we’re shooting around the East end of London. Will it be with the X100F? Will it be with the Huawei? Or will I have gone completely insane and decided on a whole new project? Find out, in the next exciting instalment of London Diaries, coming…. whenever I find time to write it.

Stay Curious,
Love from London x

London Diaries 4 – Sunday 20th January 2019

This week, @that_fujifilmgirl, @ashsmithone & @pj.pix headed into Central London on a Curious Camera Club mission to chase light, characters and caffeine.

This is the first and last time that I’ll refer to myself in third person. Apologies for London Diaries 4 being published a day later than planned – I’ve spent this week attending a business course, editing photographs, revamping the website, and giving myself muscular injuries. I’m going to pretend that that last one was due to some fabulously glamorous pilates-on-a-tropical-beach mishap, rather than just overestimating how many overladen supermarket carrier bags I could carry in one trip.

Sunday was one of those gloriously sunny, not-a-single-cloud-in-the-sky kinda days. In other words, the complete opposite to the weather I dealt with the previous Wednesday in London Diaries 3. Shooting in any extreme condition has its challenges, though. Before we’d even begun, I knew I’d come home that day with less candid street portraits and more artsy shadow shots.

The three of us met up in Trafalgar Square about 9:30am, and were forced to go to Caffe Nero because the local Costa Coffee doesn’t open until midday on Sundays. How do they expect people to function without them on a Sunday morning? Our plan was to spend the morning around Leicester Square and Chinatown, and then head to the South Bank and Tate Modern in the afternoon. And for once, the plan was adhered to. Once sufficiently caffeinated, we headed back onto the streets to get some shots around Trafalgar Square to check our camera settings and get “into the zone”. Recently, I’ve been favouring shooting with continuous zone autofocus, three interchangeable ISO ranges programmed, aperture set to AUTO, and my shutter speed set to the rear command dial. In case anybody cares.

Trafalgar Square

I’ll be honest: I don’t generally enjoy doing photography in Trafalgar Square. It’s too open, too busy, and often full of unremarkable tourists. It’s extremely difficult to create interesting compositions in these conditions. I took several generic snapshots, before renouncing the little dignity I have by laying down on the floor, in a desperate attempt to come away with at least one photograph that I’d be pleased with. Sometimes we all do strange things in the pursuit of art. But to be fair, I think this was the first photograph that I’ve taken in Trafalgar Square, aside from during special events like Japan Matsuri, that I deemed “good enough” to post on my Instagram feed. It was well received, and joined my 1k Club. Worth it.

Leicester Square & Chinatown

The morning yielded twenty photographs that I was happy to spend time post-processing. I get asked a lot on Instagram about my editing process. In fact, it’s almost my most frequently asked question, second only to “are your eyes real?” (to which I always want to answer, “Well, they’re more real than my boobs…”, but I normally behave myself). Once I’ve got into the groove of running this website and I’m managing my workload better, it’s my plan to make a video all about my post-production. Bear with me in the meantime. Good things come to those who wait.

Since the New Year, I’ve been consciously trying to approach my photographic style differently. I began experimenting with street photography in January 2018, and towards the latter part of the year, I felt like I became stuck in a bit of a comfort-zone rut. Whilst I have an instinctive tendency to shoot candid street portraits, I think it’s important not to limit my attention solely to those kind of shots. I gave Alice the Living Doll a quid to take a posed portrait, captured people from wider angles than I normally would to get more of a sense of context with their locations, and tried to get images using shadows or reflections. There’s even two shots in my final collection with no people in them at all (but one of them DOES have some pretty awesome looking cakes). The best discovery of the morning was that the Odeon in Leicester Square is staffed by possibly the nicest people I’ve ever met, who not only tolerated us entering the cinema with the sole intention of shooting photographs from their upstairs gallery window, but actively encouraged it. They even allowed us to use their surprisingly clean toilets without expecting us to make a single purchase. Odeon employees: you are the greatest. Your gallery window, not so much, as it was covered with some kind of frosted effect film to promote a movie that was ironically titled “Glass”, and was impossible to shoot through on this occasion.

South Bank

By some bizarre coincidence, I also ended up post-processing twenty photographs from my afternoon on the South Bank. Although I opted to give several of them black and white edits to really emphasise those impressive shadows, I had a lot of fun trying to make my more cliched South Bank shots look more original. I sometimes use the coloured flash filters on my Instax SQ6, and I tried to emulate a similar effect with the second photograph in the gallery above. I learned from my mistake about not getting close enough to the man in the fourth photograph to get my intended focus of his phone screen, and managed to get a vastly improved similar shot at the Tate Modern. But that’s not for now.

Much as I try to avoid cropping my photographs as much as possible, that last image needed a fair bit of cropping to get the look I was striving for. But what can you do when you’re shooting from an opposite roof terrace, and your fixed lens doesn’t allow for zoom? Because of the crop though, the image quality isn’t as crisp as I would like.

Tate Modern

Our last destination of the day was the Tate Modern. We headed straight for “Kate’s Stairs” (as previously pilfered from the ever-tolerant Ash). Obviously I took the opportunity to shoot Ash walking up his beloved concrete staircase, and became disproportionately excited when a child on his bicycle started constantly riding back and forth through my frame. The less cliched shots, the better, eh? For the second time in a week, I sucked up my major fear of heights and ventured up to the tenth floor in the name of photography. Well that, and the fact that the always-awesome @martynlphotography was camped up on the viewing balcony with his camera gear, and I wanted to say hi.

I think overcoming the paralysing fear was worth it for both the skyline shots and managing to rectify my whole stealth “photographing somebody else’s photograph through their phone screen” attempt. If you follow me Instagram, you’ll have already seen that shot on my feed. I was feeling pretty smug that I’d managed it in the end.

And that was that. We all said our goodbyes and went to our respective homes to continue our lives for the next week. Cue subsequent pilates injury.

On Sunday 27th January, PJ and I are heading back into Central London to hit the streets again. But this time, it’ll be a little different, because I plan to only shoot that day using the camera on the Huawei P20 Pro, for several reasons:

  1. I just got a Huawei P20 Pro
  2. It boasts 40mp Leica lenses, so that’s gotta be worth a try
  3. It’s taken me an entire week to get this blog post up, because my life is manic. A large part of that is because I shot all the photographs this week in RAW format, so they needed post-production. Even though the Huawei P20 Pro has the capability to shoot in RAW, I’ll be using images straight out of camera/phone, and eliminating a whole lot of extra work
  4. I’m actually really embracing this whole “It’s 2019, get out of your comfort zone” philosophy that seems to be my thing now

So, as always, thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Also, thank you to everybody who indulged me in my request to leave random words in my comments section on Instagram last week. I now have some very awesome titles for several upcoming photo series. And it confirmed an algorithm theory. I’ll write a Coffee Thoughts blog all about that soon.

Love from London x

London Diaries 3 – Wednesday 16th January 2019

Wow, it’s been a busy week so far! The Curious Camera Club HQ (AKA whatever branch of Costa Coffee we’re closest to at the time) has been unofficially hosting planning meetings, and we’ve been buzzing with ideas about how to grow the coolest camera club in London.

You may have noticed that we’ve started featuring some of the amazing photographs that you talented lot have been hashtagging with #curiouscameraclub. We’re really impressed by the standards that you’re setting with your submissions, and can’t thank you all enough for getting involved so early on in our development.

There will be so many opportunities coming up to get involved, help build our community, and get your awesome photography promoted. But that’s for another blog…

Today’s blog is a London Diary with a difference.

Firstly, in an unprecedented (and probably never to be repeated) fit of enthusiasm, I’ve actually managed to publish it within 24 hours of actually shooting the photographs. You’re impressed, right? We all know its probably a one-off, but you’ll tolerate me fondly reminiscing in the future about “that one time I managed to efficiently adult without procrastinating” because we’re friends now. And friends let friends overhype their little triumphs. Just ask PJ.

On the subject of PJ, that’s the second difference today. I shot without my wing woman. I went to London to have lunch with my “Wicked Stepmother”, who is wicked only in the positive street-slang version of the word. I’d originally intended to go armed only with the Pentax P30 and the remaining shots left on the roll of Dubblefilm Sunstroke 35mm film, but there are no words adequate enough to describe just how terrible the light was. I don’t mind wasting film, but I DO mind wasting money, and there’s no way I would’ve taken photographs with it yesterday that I would’ve been happy to pay to get developed.

So: Fujifilm X100F, six hours, 26k steps, a lot of coffee, Wanna One through my earphones, and a bit of a preconceived plan that I hoped would get some good results despite the weather. Let’s do this London Diary thing…

This week, I’ve split my photographs into six mini-series of themed images, rather than grouping them by location.



For this first series, I played my standard game of looking for cool people and compositions on the fly, with little forethought to specifics. This was a pre-lunch wander around my familiar territory, but with a massive difference: due to the terrible weather, the streets were pretty much deserted, which I hadn’t really considered might be the case beforehand. This meant I had to up my observational skills a LOT, because opportunities definitely weren’t going to be as frequent as they are on weekends.

Midweek Miscellaneous 1

Walking past the windows of various cafes and restaurants, it was clear that that’s where everybody was hiding. I couldn’t blame them – it definitely looked far more cosy in there than it did outside. I was really pleased with this shot – I like the juxtaposition between the warm colours through the window, and the cold bleakness on the righthand side of the photo. I also really like the fact that nobody noticed my camera, so the scene feels far more natural than it would’ve done if anybody had made eye contact. That “hot” portion of the sign inside the cafe was an added bonus, because it emphasises the distinction that  I wanted to make between the inside and outside.

Midweek Miscellaneous 2

Incoming pigeon! There were far more pigeons in Leicester Square than there were people. This guy was sitting quite happily absorbed in his smartphone, whilst an enormous flock to his left jostled for discarded McDonald’s. I took about three photographs of this scene in the hope of getting some kind of decent “bird action”. This one, with my shutter speed at 1/800, worked well.

Midweek Miscellaneous 3

One of my planned projects for today was to shoot a “Cool Women of London” series. And, spoiler alert, I did. It’s coming up next. Outside Charing Cross Station was this guy: embodying “effortlessly cool”, but sadly the wrong gender for my project. I was still genuinely concerned at this point that I wasn’t going to capture any decent photographs all day through lack of options, so I snapped him despite his Y chromosomes.

Midweek Miscellaneous 4

I love watching people take selfies. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of that “OMG, do I really look like that?” panic whenever that front camera opens. But it was cute to see how much effort this guy made to get his already sleek hair perfected for the shot.

Midweek Miscellaneous 5

I’m still not really sure exactly where that blue reflection in her glasses came from, but I like it almost as much as her contouring. It had been drizzling with rain all morning, so by this time, I now had crazy frizzy hair, hair-envy over selfie guy, and now cheekbone envy too.

Midweek Miscellaneous 6

I can’t even explain how much I wanted a solo shot of this pizza-toting, tartan-fabulous woman for my series, but I just didn’t have time to position myself in the sudden onslaught of pedestrians. I was happy enough with this shot, especially with the complimentary extra pop of red from the man behind her. This repeat in colour helps to draw the eye (like you weren’t going to be looking at the stand-out awesomeness anyway).

Midweek Miscellaneous 7

The nineties called. They wondered if your time machine was broken, and you needed help getting home.

Midweek Miscellaneous 8

Not the most exciting photograph I’ve ever taken, for sure. But that’s a beautiful window behind him, and I imagined that he was phoning the enquiry line for the letting agents because he was smitten with it too. Extra love for that gorgeous shade of blue paint.

Midweek Miscellaneous 9

A little part of Oxford Street that’s gone all Shoreditch. I love stickers… maybe not the random £20 price tag that someone’s whacked up there to join in, but generally I really like checking out sticker art.

Midweek Miscellaneous 10

The very first time that PJ and I ventured into Central London to do street photography (almost exactly a year ago), we chatted to one of the bicycle taxi guys about the Windmill Club, which at the time was lit up with all its glorious neon. This place survived the Blitz, but it couldn’t survive the scandal it faced last year, and is now empty and abandoned. It had a pretty rich history, and is worth a Google. Without the bright lights, this image works better in a more sombre black and white.




I was looking for ten different women for this series who were all uniquely cool. I think I found them. I’ll not caption them individually – I don’t think words are needed. It’s useful to go out on street shoots with potential themes or projects in mind. It helps to kickstart your creativity, and keeps you focussed. Look at me, going all “guru” like Ash.

Cool Women of London 1

Cool Women of London 2

Cool Women of London 3

Cool Women of London 4

Cool Women of London 5

Cool Women of London 6

Cool Women of London 7

Cool Women of London 8

Cool Women of London 9

Cool Women of London 10



Not just a way of describing a pre-coffee me. I made an effort to look for things to capture that were still interesting without a human element. Granted, there’s only five photographs in this series, but it’s way out of my comfort zone, and everybody’s got to start somewhere, right?

Not Human 1

Five dead pot plants on a windowsill. I found this totally relatable: Those pretty coloured pots, the good intentions, and then the inevitable, neglectful demise. It’s why I only have plastic plants in my house nowadays (true story), and why I’m amazed that I’ve managed to keep four children alive for so long. I’m joking, obviously. Motherhood is the sole aspect of my life that I feel I’ve got down. If only I could figure everything else out.

Not Human 2

I’ve photographed the lower half of this building countless times as a background, but it really is beautiful when you look up.

Not Human 3

I’m not even gonna lie – it took a substantial amount of tinkering in Lightroom to get this photograph looking remotely like it was shot in Golden Hour, despite the fact that it was. But hey, that’s what an Abode subscription is for.

Not Human 4

Because everybody loves a good dog photo. Even me, despite being totally a cat person.

Not Human 5

Moody London skyline, which looks even moodier in monochrome. This really shows the kind of cloud cover I was trying to shoot in.



Abstract 1Abstract 2

Oh, how very Instagram. In fact, they’re so Instagram, I’ll probably post them tonight to promote this blog article. This might be the grubbiest phonebox I’ve ever seen, but it did make for an interesting frame for my shots. I liked the extra pop of red from the umbrella in the second one. It definitely pays to be patient sometimes to wait for the right elements to elevate the composition.



It’s no secret that I’m terrified of heights. But when it’s pouring with rain, and you know there’s a decent cup of flat white to be bought on the tenth floor at the Tate Modern, what can you do? Suck it up, remind yourself that there’s some cinematic post-processing techniques you want to experiment with, and focus on that handy, reassuring self-help lighting.

Processed with VSCO with sum2 presetProcessed with VSCO with sum2 presetProcessed with VSCO with sum2 presetProcessed with VSCO with sum2 presetProcessed with VSCO with sum2 preset



This last series has two titles, because “Kate at the Tate” is so cheesy. I knew I wanted some black and white shots in the Tate Modern today, and I also knew I wanted some shots of “Ash‘s Staircase”. You know, just so I can wind him up and challenge him for ownership.


Kate at the Tate 1

I saw this lady sitting framed by the doorway as soon as I entered the adjacent gallery, and I really  wanted to take this photograph, but she was totally on to me, so it was awkward. So I did whatever any good street photographer would do: I started to fake making a video with my camera, commentary and all, panning the room and hovering my shutter finger to take this once I was facing the right direction. I’d mentally composed the shot, and I was so relieved when I captured it on the first attempt. This is exactly why Ash is in charge of writing tips, by the way. Mine are a little… flamboyant.

Kate at the Tate 2Kate at the Tate 3

Photographing people looking at art is one of my favourites. I didn’t intentionally follow this man around the gallery like a creepy stalker, by the way. It was purely accidental creepy stalking.

Kate at the Tate 4

Like the effect of double exposures, but suck at composing double exposures? Try getting really close to a window at nighttime, angle your body so your pesky reflection doesn’t end up in your shot, and hope for the best. I know, I know, these tips are bloody awesome.

Kate at the Tate 5Kate at the Tate 6

And finally, here are the shots of the newly renamed “Kate’s Staircase”. Which is a good place to end on, because I feel like if I push it any more, Ash will use our workshop on Sunday to announce that Chinatown is henceforth going to be known as Ashtown, and I don’t think I could handle that.

So that was my experimental Wednesday shoot. I really enjoyed trying new things, although I missed PJ immensely (love ya, babe). Don’t forget to let me know in the comments below which series you liked best out of the six. Today has been the last day of the Launch Features on @thecuriouscameraclub Instagram page. Tomorrow is the start of Daily Features, which once you know all the details, is even more exciting. And once I hit publish on this baby, I’ll start writing something that’ll let you guys and girls in on all those details. Sleep is for wimps. And sensible people.

Until next time,

Love from London xx

My 10 favourite Instagram posts of 2018

I’m not gonna lie. 2018 was not my favourite year.

No year is ever going to beat 2015 for sheer suckiness – it was the year that I lost my dad, who was both my best friend and my muse. But 2018 had a damn good stab at the competition. That said, at the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, something happened. I “discovered” street photography (on a personal level, obviously. I’ve not yet reached a level of arrogance that would have me claiming to have literally invented the genre. Although according to the precedent set by a handful of other Instagrammers, I’m potentially only a year or so off of that. I’m joking. Probably).

photograph of father and daughter

I inherited my love of photography and enormous hair from my father

In reality, it’s impossible for me to ever develop any kind of arrogance, and that is because I am the mother of teenagers, who keep my feet firmly on the ground. Case in point: on Christmas Eve, I walked to Sainsbury’s with my fifteen year old. Mid-journey, and completely unprovoked, she glanced at me and announced, “It’s funny: I’m still at an age where I prioritise style over practicality”.

I’ll admit, I was sans make up (because we were going to Sainsbury’s, and I’m not out to impress anybody there. Jamie Oliver’s not my type), but that aside, I genuinely thought I was also still at an age where I prioritised style over practicality. She smiled when I told her so. “It’s like your jacket,” she said. “I’d never wear that. Those jackets don’t look good on anybody”.

The moral of this tangent is that obviously I have no idea what’s good. But I’m deluded enough to think I do, so I’ve written a blog post about precisely that.

My “official” Instagram Top 9 of 2018 keeps changing. It’s like the Grand National with no potential monetary reward (but an equal amount of dead horses).

I’ll post the final figures on my Instagram on NYE, because apparently that’s the done thing. In the meantime, this is my personal “Instagram Top 10 of 2018”. That’s right. 10. Because what is the point of owning a website if I don’t make my own rules? I noticed once I’d selected them that they were all taken during the latter half of 2018, which I’m quite pleased about, because that shows progress, right? And not just that my photography was terrible for the first six months.

Let’s do this…




This one was fun. He knew what I was doing, and he did an awesome job of pretending that he didn’t. I loved all the red accents – the band on the girl’s sleeve, the drink, the broom handle, and the stool – and it took a while to frame everything up the way I wanted it. In the meantime, he occasionally looked up suspiciously from his phone, and I in return loudly commented about how much I liked the magnets he was selling. Good times.

Date Posted: 10 September 2018. Likes received: 343




“Oooh, roller-skates…” I muttered excitedly under my breath as she walked towards me. London is packed full of cool, interesting people, but occasionally someone will cross my path who’s just a whole other level. I’ve mentioned in my Instagram captions before that I like to play a game when I’m doing street photography where I fantasise that I’m shooting models for Vogue. A girl can dream. So this candid street portrait has become my favourite “editorial” shot of 2018.

Date Posted: 17 November 2018. Likes received: 369



I don’t know what’s going on with the funky border, either. I do like to play with edit styles when I’m bored, and apparently back in August, I was feeling funky borders. I captioned the Instagram post with “You never see Mickey Mouse shoving his head into a bag at Disneyland #londonthings”, which I think was the first caption that opened the floodgates to me writing whatever the hell I wanted on my Instagram posts. This was also probably one of the first times that I’d consciously waited for complimentary colours in my composition, rather than just snapping optimistically.

Date Posted: 3 August 2018. Likes received: 373



I LOVE low contrast photographs. I’d half-jokingly asked Instagram for recommendations of colours to look out for on my next shoot, to give me a little project to focus on. “Orange and blue” was hard, but it was really satisfying when I spotted this girl in the crowd at Brick Lane market. I’m definitely going to take a more planned approach to my street photography in 2019, with more deliberate series and themes. When I’m consciously looking for specific elements, it really focuses my observational skills and makes for better compositions.

Date Posted: 22 October 2018. Likes received: 398



I love this photograph, not only because it shows Chinatown’s most popular fire escape/al fresco dining location, but because this is legitimately the only time all year that I spotted any fly posters in the area. They had been removed by the time I returned the following week, which was a shame, because they were super cute.

Date Posted: 29 July 2018. Likes received: 275


I’ve tried to like night photography. I really have. But this is the one and only time all year that I’ve succeeded in taking an after dark photograph that I’m actually happy with. I need to spend more time in 2019 watching helpful YouTube videos to work out where I’m going wrong.

Date Posted: 17 September 2018. Likes received: 328



Work that London attitude. This was one of those photographs that I really hoped looked as good as it did in-camera. According to the dates, this is apparently the first street photograph that I was truly happy with having taken, and I suppose that’s probably true. I did have more of a “spray and pray” style in the first half of 2018, which I think is necessary to build up confidence, but doesn’t really produce the greatest images.

Date Posted: 20 July 2018. Likes received: 291



As the year has progressed, I’ve favoured taking wider images, but I like the shallow depth of field on this candid street portrait, and the unusual angle of the shot. I was feeling really brazen that day, and took quite a few close-ups  of various people around Brick Lane market. I went for more muted tones in post-production than I had done before on previous photographs (I think this was based on an Essence preset in VSCO X), and I was really pleased with the result.

Date Posted: 23 October 2018. Likes received: 1333



I tried for a similar shot every time I’ve been out. I can’t even explain the immense feeling of satisfaction when I finally succeeded on my very last street shoot of the year. It’s by far my most liked Instagram photograph of 2018, so it was worth the constant frustration to finally get it. Personal satisfaction, and hollow social media-based validation. The ultimate combo.

I over-optimistically claimed that I would write a London Diaries blog post for last week, despite the fact that it has been Christmas, and obviously I was never going to find the time. But as promised, here’s the three shutter clicks that it took to get this photograph.

Date Posted: 21 December 2018. Likes received: 5623


Asian man street photo

This is the only photograph I’ve reposted on Instagram all year, because it absolutely had to make it into my Top 9, goddammit. Thank you for listening to my pleading and liking it all the way up to number 3. For me, it’s totally number 1, though. I hope to take everything I’ve learned from my first year of street photography, and produce many more photographs that I’m equally as proud of in 2019.

Date Posted: 13 September 2018. Likes received: 702
Reposted 22 December 2018. Likes received: 2181


I started 2018 with the hope of reaching 3K followers by the end of the year as @that_fujifilmgirl , and miraculously it happened. I’m so grateful for everybody’s support for the past twelve months, and I really appreciate all the encouraging comments so many of you leave me. I hope that 2019 WILL be my favourite year, and that all of us remain happy, creative and inspired. This is descending into a cringefest, and I’m too British for such an Oscars-esque speech, so I’ll leave it there. Happy New Year to you all.



2018-12-31 10.39.16 1.jpg
This is how it “officially” ended over on IG


Love from London x