What on earth is an Oyster Card and how am I supposed to use it? On the Underground I recognise all these places from the Monopoly Board. On the bank of the River Thames I see all sorts of buildings from TV and films.
The last time I was in London, I was 15 years old and on a school trip to watch a play. This time I'm there for a seminar by polish photographer Andrjez Dragan, and to meet up with some old friends I'd not actually met in the flesh before.
Andrjez Dragan changed my approach to photography when I came across his work 6 years ago. Although I had been experimenting with portraiture, my general understanding was I needed to make my subjects look good, ideally in a flattering kind of way. Dragan made me realise I could move in the opposite direction towards engaging, characterful and edgy images.
My first big success was the creation of a photo of my friend, the poet David Mark Williams, which generated a great deal of feedback, was used on the front of issue 3 of Prole Magazine and was my first accepted image on the curated photo website, 1x.com
At 1x I met many superb photographers who were generous with their time and knowledge and over the next couple of years my understanding of photography leapt forward.
It's fair to say without the initial trigger of Andrjez Dragan and the help and support of members of the 1x community my photography would be of neither the standard nor style it has become.
So when I discovered Andrjez Dragan was holding a seminar in London I had to go. But I also realised there was an opportunity to meet up with some of the photographers I had met online at 1x. A few emails and Facebook messages later and Andre Du Plessis, Gerry Sexton and Chris Dixon started arranging a get together (click on their names to see their superb photography).
Andre went even further and helped arrange accommodation for me, collected me from the station and ferried me about a few times. The warmth and generosity of these guys was amazing, and we spent most of Sunday out with the cameras along the South Bank of The Thames.
Here are a selection of the photos I took. You can find more on my Facebook album here:
It might look like Mediterranean sun, but it was only about 3C
Andre with vapouriser
Gerry behind a wall
"It's the real thing"
Hoping we can do it again some time