For the next installment of FOTB we caught up with NoLionsInEngland. He shares a few of his best pics of London life and what motivates him to take pictures of graffiti. I find that the best graffiti photographers are akin to the best writers, that being that they are very aloof, and have no interest in viewing-figures on flickr etc, only in creating a good piece/picture for their piers to enjoy. Anyway, enough of my bullshit, here’s the interview.
Name: NoLionsInEngland, it comes from the tune of the same name by Ian Brown.
Yeah, I wouldn’t describe these as my top 5 shots, just 5 shots that I like. Pref and Roids are next-level-but-one writers but there were loads of other writers that I wanted to give props to. I chose the Prefs shot as a kind of RIP to The Pit and I liked the greyscale effect of the Roids shot. Apart from being a nice reflection, I like the “virgin wall” element in the Hekla shot. The tube door shots have this great etching colour but also have that link to trains. Although I’ve lived in London for more or less 30 years I have always cycled everywhere and completely missed the heyday of running steel. Reno’s tree trunk carving was the first pic that came up in my 2011 tags folder, I love the way the tag has matured over time and the colours in the bark were gorgeous. The Undercroft shot just had an interesting dynamic, combining the graff clutter with motion of the ghostly cyclist. I found those shots a bit more interesting than the huge number of tight cropped, so safe HOF pieces. I still ended up missing rooftop shots, night time shots, vans and a hell of a lot more. It was fun to have to think for a few hours about picking 5 strong photos.
Location base, and locations travelled to for pics(worldwide). I live in West London, not too far from Trellick Tower and The Pit. Most of my photography is done in the Shoreditch area or anywhere that I am easily able to cycle to on my way to or from work. With busy work and family acitivites, photography as a hobby has to fit in around whatever free time I find and where I find it. That generally means lunch breaks a couple of times a week in Shoreditch, which of course is hardly graff central. I travel a lot for work, mainly to Greece but the routine of going to offices, staying in hotels and not actually having any slack time there means that opportunities to photograph anything other than passing shit while hanging out the window of a taxi is very limited. Maybe once a year I get a few hours to explore and put together an Athens photoset. You should have heard the groans from the family when we were on holiday in West Ireland last Summer and after driving 50 miles to another town I confessed “Actually……there’s just this one wall I want to find.” (http://graffoto1.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/phlegm-in-bantry-ireland.html).
Years snapping graff. I started photographing street art in about 2005 but it wasn’t until 2008 when graff took over Leake St that I got passionate about photographing graffiti. Graff culture is far richer and more interesting than that surrounding street art. While my photographer’s eye helped me readily appreciate can control, form, flow, fill and the intangible elements that make up great pieces, I’ll put my hand up and say that I am not the World’s most skilled reader of wild burners. Although I love the full gamut of graff from tags to burners, give me an illegal rooftop dub over a HOF piece any day.
Equipment used: Nikon D90 SLR, 18-105mm lens, Lumix TZ8 for travel or second camera on a “shoot”, Diana F+/Fisheye II (my daughter’s cameras which I steal from time to time though I then have to pay her development and printing costs!), Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with 322RC2 head, Phottix TC-501 interval meter for rare timelapse missions.
Any links to your work: There is no link to my work at all, graff photography and writing is my release from work, my therapy.
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