A series celebrating the talent of our friends in the Londonist Flickr pool. This week, Adam Lister AKA A-Lister Photography on leaving the rat race and discovering the city.
“In December 2011 I became a statistic, a casualty of the recession. Redundancy cheque in hand I shut the office door behind me knowing exactly what I was going to do. I was going to take twelve months out. It was time to explore new avenues and ideas. To see what else I could do in London.
Until that moment London had been fifteen years of waking up, getting on/getting off buses, dashing into the office, lunch/no lunch, running into, and later staggering out of this pub or, that pub, hurtling at speed (on a good day) along the overcrowded underground. With places unknown, unseen, anonymous, rushing past above, identifiable only by the names of their stations; Temple, Blackfriars, Mansion House, Cannon Street…
For the most part London had been a view of the back of the head of the crushed and contorted commuter in front. I knew more about Londoners scalp irritations than I did about its buildings, history and places. London was something of a mystery.
I could have blown the money on a billowy white shirt and spent a couple of months exploring the great cities of Europe: Athens, Rome, Madrid, Paris… But, I’d never explored the city in which I actually lived, and at that point I wasn’t even certain I liked it any more. I was tired of London, surely.
So I bought a new Nikon DSLR, emptied the bank account into the Oyster Card (you really need to these days) and set forth into a whole new world – London, my city.
One thing became instantly clear; you will never see and appreciate things more than you do with a camera in your hand. Photography makes you look at things closely and look at them afresh. I am always amazed at the wide variety of architecture, events, people, individual towns and villages, each with their own unique flavour and identity. London life is as culturally and socially varied as you will find anywhere in the world.
Scratch the surface of London and its history bleeds from every brick and paving stone, every street corner and road name. In places it is clearly scarred into the high streets and skylines or, visible in the crypts of City of London churches or, sticking up out of the Thames beach at low tide.
For a photographer London is a place of infinite variety, contrasts and clichés, the predictable and unexpected, a dream and a nightmare. I have never felt so connected and so disconnected, the necessity of ‘standing back’, watching – the chap outside in the rain, looking through the window at the party inside.
Photography has taken me to parts of London I hadn’t seen before and opened doors I could never have imagined opening.
I photograph in colour, black and white, portrait, landscape, night or day, whatever best serves the shot I am trying to get. In short my photography is as varied as London itself. There’s something for everyone; classic vistas and icons, street photography to wildlife.
Photographing London this past twelve months has opened up a whole new world – my photographs have won me competitions, been used on websites and calendars, and are soon to become a series of prints. But, most importantly, it’s afforded me the opportunity to turn the original twelve months into sixteen, and counting!”
All photos by Adam Lister. Check out more of his work on Flickr.
Browse the Londonist Behind the Lens archives for more fab London photographers.