Month 1: Willesden Junction
My first month’s experiment led me to one of the least visually appealing places in London, according to friends. A big industrial wasteland, this particular part of Willesden Junction didn’t have much going for it. However, I had high hopes of being able to catch a glimpse into the London Underground depot, as this was a large part of the space where my coin landed. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of this, but what I did see was pretty grim, especially in the bitter cold and biting wind of one of London’s coldest ever Novembers.
Upon entering my designated photography zone, my first sight was a huge abandoned multi-storey building, with nearly every window knocked out and every type of urban detritus imaginable scattered around the graffiti-stained grounds. Across the road, I could see a path leading to the Grand Union canal, so I decided to follow it. This part of the canal ran behind some warehouses, and there were a few sad-looking dirty picnic tables scattered around, some oil drums with burnt pallets sticking out, and all sorts of rubbish. Lovely. At least some of the graffiti was good. A lone jogger ran past at one point, but otherwise I was the only person foolish enough to be lurking around this rather uninviting part of the London canal system. Just me and a couple of scraggly ducks.
As the light started to fade and I neared the edge of my allotted photographing area, I came to a bridge which crossed the canal and would lead me back to the station. As I reached the top of the bridge, I turned to look behind me and saw one of the most exciting things I had seen all day: acres and acres of curved concrete slabs piled up as far as the eye could see. I wasn’t sure what they were for, but I snapped a couple of shots before it got too dark. I think they may be something to do with the Underground tunnels, or possibly drainage ditches. Whatever they were, I liked them.
My last shot of the day turned out to be my favourite: another bridge, this time leading across the railroad tracks on my way back to the station. I love the leading lines… and maybe also the fact that they are leading me away from this place. What a way to start off this project: a real challenge, for sure. I can’t imagine anyone would ever come here on purpose, and certainly not with photography in mind. But I kind of enjoyed it, and I certainly did get to see a part of London I never would have otherwise.
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