Today was an extremely busy day, in which I covered an incredible amount of ground. With a friend visiting from Leeds, we decided to head over to the Natural History Museum, taking advantage of Britain’s wonderful free of charge entry to museums, and get some interior shots. We figured even if we didn’t take any pictures we would still end up learning something. Luckily we did get some good photos, playing around with movement in the main entry hall. We were’t allowed to use a tripod, but managed to place our cameras on the wide railings along the stairs. The light through the old windows along the roof gave a wonderful atmosphere and allowed for long enough exposures to capture sufficient movement of the museum visitors. A surprise find in the museum was an addition of an incredibly modern space called the Cocoon. This large egg shaped construction stretches over three floors and houses an exhibit about insects, which we did not go into.
After the museum we decided to head down Embankment in order to get to South Bank and take a walk along the river side and check out the slightly more touristy locations. We slowly made our way up to Temple where we grabbed a bite and fueled up on a beer or two.We then continued towards St. Paul’s Cathedral. A building that has always caught my eye was the Tourist Information Center at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Designed and built by Make Architects it replaced an existing information center. The new building, however, meets much more stringent environmental standards and was commissioned by the City of London Corporation. Considering its placement in a heritage area, it is a good example how modern contemporary architecture can blend into much older surroundings. Its sharp lines and smooth metal panels allowed for some fun abstract photographs that really show off the fine detailing of this building. It was also very interesting to play with longer exposures with the movement of people, cars, and buses, and their reflections in the front facade.
We continued around St. Paul’sto one of my favorite places in London, Paternoster Square. At least it used to be my favorite. As I had mentioned on my first day, I had heard rumors about it being difficult to photograph in privately owned public spaces such as Canary Wharf. Well I had my first run in with security for the, apparently privately owned Paternoster Square. After taking my first shot, without a tripod I may add, I was immediately approached by a gentleman wearing a yellow warning vest, who proceeded to raise his hand to my camera and tell me I was not allowed to photograph any of the buildings. He elaborated by telling me I may photograph the monument in the middle of the square and St. Paul’s Cathedral or the any of the streets from the Square. I then started to tell him that it was for personal use and not commercial and that it shouldn’t be a problem since I am well with in my rights to photograph in open space for my own personal use. He argued with the fact that it was private property and that if I have a problem with it, I should vacate the premises. The whole incident left me extremely frustrated and angry. Just two years before I had come to Paternoster Square to do an analysis of the space and buildings for a University project, and had no troubles what so ever. What exactly has changed since then? I am going to be doing research into laws in both Germany, the UK, and the US in terms of photography and will be posting my findings when I have found them. After this frustrating incident we continued on to Liverpool Street, making our way past the Lloyds building and through Leadenhall Market. Sadly the Lloyds building was under heavy construction so not all angles were visible.