I have found many cities have a certain timelessness to them. I often stumble upon parts of London which reflect its history in amongst the ever-changing people, architecture and tastes.
Borough Market is one of those places. I have passed through many times, sometimes with my camera. On one such occasion, I managed to capture some its timeless quality and charm.
The first time the market was mentioned was in 1276, although the market itself claims to have existed since Roman times. Like most things, the market has evolved over time, along with its character. However, its charm, and the charm of the immediate area, can be felt.
The photo I stumbled upon was of a bike, locked up on a street sign, near an entrance to Vinopolis. While the bike, the street sign and signs on the building are clearly quite modern, the image itself could have happened anytime between the 19th century to the present time. The image captures how people travelled through the area on route to the market, work, prayers at Southwark Cathedral or local parishes and so on.
The image would have had a very different presence and feel if it were in colour. It would have felt much more modern. There is an endearing timeless quality to black and white photos; perhaps due to photography started out in black and white.
I have often found people treat black and white differently, and often viewing it as a ‘truer art’. I am not sure whether this is true, as there is quite a lot of good art in colour. However, there is something about taking colour out of an image that makes the viewer look at it differently. The image is about the greys, shadows and nuances.
I find myself taking very different photos in black and white than colour; and have had people say that even my colour images are taken with a black and white eye. On this particular day, I wasn’t using particularly modern methods in capturing the photo. Using a medium format film camera with Ilford 100 film is a bit passé for many.
The feel and essence of the photo would have been a bit different on a digital camera. While I appreciate digital photography, I prefer the character and essence of film photography when it comes to black and white.
Through the greys, shadows and nuances of my photo, the image I took captured the timelessness of Borough Market’s history.