The London A to Z Project

Photographing London on the flip of a coin

This project is about giving up control. It’s about stepping outside of my photographic comfort zone, pushing myself into the unknown. And it’s about capturing the unexpected, using 15p to guide me.

Every month for a year, I have been going to photograph parts of London without choosing where to go. I open up a London A to Z atlas to the index page, flip a 5p coin onto the page, and whatever page number it lands on is where I open the map book. With this page open, I then flip a 10p coin, and wherever that coin lands is the place where I must go to take photos. The space on the map where the coin lands forms my boundary: if it’s not in that little round space, no matter how interesting those other parts of the page may be, it’s not within scope for this project.

As I have no idea where I will end up, under what conditions and what kind of environment I will be in, I decided to use only my compact Fujifilm X10 camera for this project. It’s small, so it won’t draw attention to me or the camera, yet powerful enough to give pretty good results in most circumstances. The decision not to use my Canon 7D and lenses was a tough one, but an integral part of this project.

Any photographer worth his or her salt can go to an amazing place with a professional camera and end up with good results. This project isn’t about that kind of photography. It’s about making the best of what you have. It’s about using your photographic eye, not fancy equipment. It’s about seeking out beauty or intrigue, not putting yourself in front of it. It’s about letting go: letting things happen, not making them happen. And I can honestly say it’s been the most challenging project I’ve ever accomplished, for those very reasons.

The Exhibition

A selection of 28 images from this project are being exhibited at Gallery 1885 in London from 11 November – 6 December 2013.

More about the exhibition >>