Cruel & Tender: Pt 4

After my initial trip to Greenwich, I knew I had to make a return visit. Instead of taking the same journey I’d made the week before, I took the Jubilee line tube to North Greenwich. My intention was to walk along the Thames path along the river back down to Greenwich itself. Also set myself the challenge of exclusively using my 50mm lens so I could focus on details & not rely on the zoom.

Stepping out of the tube station certainly disorientated me. It took a while to get my bearings & find the path. I’d not come this way before, so I used my instincts to get me where I should be.

The first thing which caught my eye was a pylon. An upside-down pylon… I couldn’t work out how to get closer to it (I think it would have meant a cheeky trespass), so took these shots through the fence.

I then made my down the river path for these captures…

North Greenwich

One aspect I liked with the first of these images is the juxtaposition of the foreground & background combined with what’s in the middle. The original buildings can just about be seen half way down with the looming buildings of the Isle of Dogs behind & the rubbish strewn riverbank at the bottom. There is also the contrast of the detritus & clean cut lines of the railings. There was also a whole load of CO2 cartridges within the rubbish – I wonder if there’s an equivalent pile of empty champagne bottles on the opposite bank.


I also liked the views of the buildings taken through features on this side of the river.

I made my way further along the path.

Greenwich Foliage

While walking further, thoughts were forming. I’d noticed that amongst the grey metal & concrete there were distinct signs of life. For example, the bramble in the first of this next sequence of shots. There were also a line of willow trees along the riverbank, quietly surviving the harsh elements & city pollution.

Took the liberty of some black & white conversions using Camera Raw. I really like the way the monotone picks out the details.

While I was taking these pictures, what started niggling at my mind was how these trees & plants were surviving in such a hostile environment. Also, I quite liked the effect of having the trees in the foreground with a hint of the new buildings in the background.

Prop House – Morden Wharf

While walking near to the area where the willow trees were I caught a strong smell of solvent. Couldn’t work out exactly where it was coming from, but it was niggling my nose, so I took a closer look. Behind a set of metal gates, I could make out some strange shapes. When I came even closer, I saw this.

When I spoke to a man nearby, he told me it’s a prop studio & these were some of the items one of the artists had put there. Quite relieved it wasn’t anything too sinister!

Alcatel Jetty

This jetty also caught my attention – again not something I was aware of previously. As the plaque explains, it was transformed to encourage wildlife to the area. I liked the contrast of the cruel steel & barbed wire the with ‘tenderness’ of the plants on the jetty. There were also a few other details nearby…

Old Greenwich Power Station

After a delicious lunch of fish & chips at The Cutty Sark pub, I continued to the old power station, taking a more detailed look at a building I had run & walked past countless times.

Again, I liked the contrast of the buildings & the trees as well as the details of the metalwork.

Right next to the old power station is Trinity Hospital. Dating back to 1613 & founded by Henry Howard, Earl of Nottingham, as alms houses this is the oldest surviving building in Greenwich town centre. A board near its entrance reads: “Since 1617 it has provided a home for 21 retired gentlemen of Greenwich.” I didn’t take any photos of the building itself, as my mind was focused on the trees & view beyond.

Again, another spot to revisit. The building itself is very interesting with amazing & intricate details.

Broken Glass

These close observations were caught after I noticed a smashed glass panel outside one of the riverside restaurants. The last of these has been tweaked & cropped in Camera Raw.

Greenwich Visitors & Locals

Even though I was focusing on the environment I did take some photos of people, either those who looked like they’ve lived in the area all of their lives or just in Greenwich for a couple of hours.

My favourite images in this collection are the last two  – the man in the hat sitting outside the Cutty Sark pub looking out to the Isle of Dogs plus the lady in that brilliant red coat – she must have been in her 80s, yet still strong & independent.

This trip was definitely worth the time & effort. I took about 240 photos in total & there are definitely lots of options on what to focus on. At this moment I will l&eave it at that & wait until the next classroom session for feedback from classmates & Zig before deciding on my next step.

Criteria Ref: P1 & P4


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