Londonist Behind The Lens: P1ay

A series celebrating the talent of our friends in the Londonist Flickr pool. This week, P1ay on being a night owl.

“I think the saying goes ‘the early bird catches the worm’. Me, I’ve never been that early bird. from the day I was born I have always been a night baby. I used to drive my parents crazy not sleeping and despite their countless efforts to subdue their child the only thing that ever used to work was getting into the car and driving me around London streets till I would relax and fall asleep.

As I grew my love for the night grew with me. In my early teens, I used to help music labels promote their gigs and even got some studio time out of it where I was able to create mixtapes (which I still make). At university is where my ‘night brain’ really switched on. I was fortunate that there was a 24 hour library which meant that I could go to the clubs and come back and either revise for my morning exam or finish coursework. The only other people that used to be awake and at the library were foreign nationals, and this is when I decided to learn Mandarin, Portuguese and a bit of German to help me communicate with my fellow night owls. I took what I learnt in the library and went into international finance and due to time differences, the hours suited my perfectly. Then the recession kicked in and sent the markets crazy and I was made redundant. Now I am self-employed and still in finance – after all these years I still love my job.

Why did I get into photography? Probably same reason as most. I just wanted to take a good picture, albeit the only reason why I bought my first camera — Sony NEX-5 (now I got a Canon 60D) — was to capture the awesomeness of my new purple suit! After a while I went online to teach myself how to use a camera. I got to a point where  I had certain questions, so decided to take some lessons, with Natalie Clarke at the Photo School, to get my questioned answered.

I did try the normal stuff of taking pictures of friends, colleagues, walking around London and taking pictures of buildings but as much as I was learning I felt something was missing. It was a few months before I realised that even though London is a beautiful city and people in it can be too when they choose to be. When darkness falls and the lights come on, it’s a whole different ball game….the people, the buildings and just generally everything London, for me, it just comes alive!!!

Just like me London is a sleepless city, if you are brave enough to walk the streets, you will find night clubs, bars and restaurants down side streets that you would never have seen during the day, you get to see London’s beautiful buildings lit up and the people fuelled from the nights out and away from the constrains of work. This is what I enjoy about the night in London, this is what I have enjoyed trying to capture when I go out to take pictures.

In the last few month I have really got into light painting. I really enjoy the fact that you can just use basic torches, steel wool, fireworks and anything else that has light coming out from it to create pictures. There is something very tranquil knowing that you have created your own picture. Combine that with the night…. total state of euphoria!

They say that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Well, it is most likely going to be me combining my love of the night with the new found love of creating and taking picture in the night.”

All photos by P1ay. Check out more of his work on Flickr.

Browse the Londonist Behind the Lens archives for more fab London photographers. 

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