Londonist Behind The Lens: Marc Fairhurst

Back after a break, this series celebrates the talent of our friends who share their quirky London photos in the Londonist Flickr pool. They share some of their favourite city shots and talk about their photography and their London. To get us going again: Marc Fairhurst.

“I came to London in late 2010, having spent 27 years in the Midlands. The degree I took when I was 25 was a BA in Animation. After that I got accepted to Roehampton in London to do a Masters in Creative and Professional Writing, but for various reasons I couldn’t attend. Skip ahead to 2011 and I’m working nights in a hotel in London, wanting desperately to do more than the monotony that had become my days, so I used my wages to get a digital SLR camera.

I was a bit overwhelmed by London when I first arrived; the pace, the noise, the people, the diversity, getting home and finding underground soot up my nose and on my skin – London was a barrage on all my senses. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I just froze and stood still, something I soon realized got under the skin of Londoners, especially on the underground system. So at times of confusion and at a loss of direction, or if I missed a turning, I just kept on walking, carried by the commuter flow to wherever. And that was okay, because I’d surface in places I’d never been to before.

For about six months after I got the camera, I went along to as many protests as I possibly could, finding out online what activists were up to. I’d never seen so many protests before and I soon found that there was always a protest going on somewhere in London. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but by going to all the demonstrations, I was able to meet and talk to professional photographers, some from the big agencies, who gave me some great advice. I was there on the steps of St. Paul’s on the first night of Occupy London. It was the first time I had gone out with a camera. That was October 2011. After that, I turned to the London streets, taking every possible chance to photograph life in the city. At first I took the usual photographs, all the tourist spots, but there were only so many photographs of Big Ben and the other landmarks that I wanted to take, and after a while I couldn’t look at them anymore. Instead, I turned my camera toward the tourists taking photographs of the landmarks and photographed them. I think I have one in the fog where you can just make out The London Eye, part of a series of images that I have started, documenting The River Thames from its source all the way to the estuary.

A year on from my very first photograph (a blurry image of my kitchen table) my main passion in this craft is on the documentary side, whether that be to document a particular social or economic concern, or to document a particular subject in London – for example, I’m starting the process of documenting every lido in London, in winter, when they’re empty and bleak. I also want to document all of the green spaces in the city, but not in any identifiable way and I’m travelling to every tube station at the end of the lines and documenting what’s there.

Right now, being Autumn, it’s very tempting to take images of all the unfolding colours, but anything of Autumn that I have taken so far, is depicted in fog, and in black and white.

I find London to be such a mixed place, a pool of so many different ideas and projections, an outspoken city where pretty much anything goes and where people are doing pretty much everything that can be done. And for a photographer wanting to capture it all, it’s pure gold.”

To find out and look at more, visit www.marcfairhurst.com.

You can also browse the Londonist Behind the Lens archives and Londonist Flickrpool.

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