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East London at Dawn

My photo story this month is inspired by my new photo book East London at Dawn. East London is my favourite part of the city. The street art, the crazy juxtaposition of the architecture, the energy of the place – to me it’s just the most awesome place to shoot. This limited edition book was commissioned by, and available exclusively at, the new aparthotel Leman Locke. I have a limited number of copies which can be purchased here.

This months story…

Our first story, with accompanying photographs, is from my new book East London at Dawn. Inspired by my other books and projects on cities at dawn, I was commissioned by Leman Locke to create a limited edition photo book about my favourite part of London.

The silent city. Dawn is the time when the city stops and rests, taking a long, silent, well-needed breath. This is the time in East London when there is a break in the intensity of noise, the scent of near-chaos and the overwhelming feeling of the human presence.

The silence feels almost heavy and unnatural, so used are we city dwellers to the constant throb of cars, of the sing-song of voices swimming through the air, the jolt of unexpected noise – car horns, shouting, the near misses of collisions.

At dawn the world feels empty. A blanket of silence falls in the deepest of the night, only to break when the sun bursts through the dark blue-black sky with its magical colours.

The inky black night sky feels endless, broken only by the interruption of lights from lone cars driving through vacant streets, or the moon hanging large and full and glowing in the sky.

The air feels thicker before sunrise, heavy with night, but also with a sharpness of cold, even in summer. As the run rises and brings us warmth, it pushes the cold air forward, creating a short breeze.

Sunrise is a constant reminder that the ending of things is always followed by a beginning.

When we wake before dawn it feels as though we are entering an unspoilt day. Possibility hangs in the air. Breathe in this overwhelming feeling of newness and opportunity as you watch the sunrise, even if you believe that your day will be no different from all those before it.

Daybreak brings a feeling of connection to the eternal timelessness of London. The glory and magnificence of dawn is an invitation to look up and glance around us, as we notice the magic of this wild and chaotic city.

This city, about which Henry James declared:

“It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.”

“You may call it dreary, heavy, stupid, dull, inhuman, vulgar at heart and tiresome in form. […] But these are occasional moods; and for one who takes it as I take it, London is on the whole the most possible form of life.”

The streets of East London are always brimming with energy: the vitality of its people in constant motion, creating their lives, building new futures, forming new, overlapping communities.

East London has that mix that is so unique to this city. It is not one type of architecture or people, it is ever-changing as you move from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, from street to street even.

This area has a vibrancy and aliveness that is exciting in a way that the rest of London can’t be, and perhaps no other city is.  We get caught up in the friendly chatter of the early morning markets, the swish, cool deliciousness of the cafés, the feeling of the expanse of history in so many of its streets, occasionally being peeled back to reveal lives of years ago. And today, the past being swept away for the new and the now and the fresh.

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As a photographer, I’ve always been focused on capturing the incredible and the miraculous on show to us every day, but that we mostly fail to notice, so caught up are we in the intensity of our lives and the busy-ness that it brings.
 
Dawn is a magical time to do this, which is why I’ve spent the past several years photographing cities before sunrise for my series of books: wandering empty streets in the hours before dawn breaks, watching the sunrise in its myriad of colours as most people are still asleep. 
 
You can join me on these journeys by subscribing to my newsletter (see box below). Every month, you’ll get photo driven stories themed around a collection of images I’ve taken. One month, you might meet the workers of Paris at dawn. Another month, you’ll venture with me through the old streets of London’s East End. Another month, you might follow my walk through the tropical light and fading glamour of Havana at sunrise.
Join me for weekly photo stories themed around my travels.

Meet the workers of Paris at dawn, wander the old streets of London’s East End or see the fading glamour of Havana at sunrise. Plus subscribers receive a free digital copy of my book London at Dawn  and some beautiful wallpapers to download as a thank you 🙂

No spam. We respect your privacy.
 
 
  • As a photographer, I’ve always been focused on capturing the incredible and the miraculous on show to us every day, but that we mostly fail to notice, so caught up are we in the intensity of our lives and the busy-ness that it brings.

  • Dawn is a magical time to do this, which is why I’ve spent the past several years photographing cities before sunrise for my series of books: wandering empty streets in the hours before dawn breaks, watching the sunrise in its myriad of colours as most people are still asleep.

  • You can join me on these journeys by subscribing to my newsletter (see box at the right). Every month, you’ll get stories, quotes and guidance themed around a collection of images I’ve taken. One month, you might meet the workers of Paris at dawn. Another month, you’ll venture with me through the old streets of London’s East End. Another month, you might follow my walk through the tropical light and fading glamour of Havana at sunrise.

Join me for weekly photo stories themed around my travels.

Meet the workers of Paris at dawn, wander the old streets of London’s East End or see the fading glamour of Havana at sunrise. Plus subscribers receive a free digital copy of my book London at Dawn  and some beautiful wallpapers to download as a thank you 🙂

No spam. We respect your privacy.
 
 
 
 
  • I think the beauty of the world often comes in small ways, ways that can puncture our bubbles of self-absorption and tear us away from our minds.

  • It’s noticing that shaft of incredible golden light falling over a tree on an autumnal afternoon; the wisps of blue, grey fog rising off a river at dawn; the dance of sunlight over a crumbling wall in the middle of the urban sprawl.

  • I want to share these moments that I capture, ones that will hopefully create a connection or a spark of inspiration in you – or even just give you a moment to take a deep breathe and think wow….

 
 

I think the beauty of the world often comes in small ways, ways that can puncture our bubbles of self-absorption and tear us away from our minds.

It’s noticing that shaft of incredible golden light falling over a tree on an autumnal afternoon; the wisps of blue, grey fog rising off a river at dawn; the dance of sunlight over a crumbling wall in the middle of the urban sprawl.

I want to share these moments that I capture, ones that will hopefully create a connection or a spark of inspiration in you – or even just give you a moment to take a deep breathe and think wow….

 

Our story

After years in commercial photography I decided to pursue my art work full time. My wife, Diana, and I decided to throw it all up in the air and try to live a different way – one that would inspire us on a really gut level, that would make us excited to get up in the morning – and that would involve creating interesting work that people loved.

We still live in London, but now we spend many weeks and months of the year travelling – bringing our kids to Paris to stay in an artist’s studio or the trendy East London-feeling area of Cihangir in Istanbul. Later this year we’re off to Havana to photograph the city, make friends and immerse ourselves in a new culture.

It’s an exhilarating – if unreliable – way to live, often at the very edge of the precipice of our comfort zone. But if I teach my kids anything it’s that to contribute beauty and inspiration to the world is a magical way to live. It’s a massive honour to do this work and to have people enjoy what I do.

Our story

 

  • After years in commercial photography I decided to pursue my art work full time. My wife, Diana, and I decided to throw it all up in the air and try to live a different way – one that would inspire us on a really gut level, that would make us excited to get up in the morning – and that would involve creating interesting work that people loved.

  • We still live in London, but now we spend many weeks and months of the year travelling – bringing our kids to Paris to stay in an artist’s studio or the trendy East London-feeling area of Cihangir in Istanbul. Later this year we’re off to Havana to photograph the city, make friends and immerse ourselves in a new culture.

  • It’s an exhilarating – if unreliable – way to live, often at the very edge of the precipice of our comfort zone. But if I teach my kids anything it’s that to contribute beauty and inspiration to the world is a magical way to live. It’s a massive honour to do this work and to have people enjoy what I do.

 

How I Sell My Photos

When I started making my prints available online I really wanted to create a more personal way to do it. I didn’t want to just create a big impersonal sign that said – buy buy buy my work because I’m awesome! I wanted to connect with my readers, to tell the stories behind the journeys that I take and the photos that I create. I want you to get more out of the experiences that I have than just a bunch of emails with ‘sales’ signs.

Every month I tell a different story about a place or an experience I’ve had – and those prints in that story are for sale, for that month only. It means that I can offer you something that I would if I met you at one of my exhibitions – the story, the experience and the connection with me. It’s like a new mini-exhibition every month. Plus you get a dose of inspiration along the way.

So if you see a photo you love and want to buy it, I would encourage you to do it when it comes up, as it could be a year or two (or longer) before it’s shown again. 
We’d love for you to join us – and as always get in touch if you have any thoughts you’d like to share. It’s awesome to hear from people!

THANK YOU, ANTHONY AND DIANA
 

“[Anthony’s] photos are remarkable.” Stephen Fry

“Anthony’s photos are remarkable.” Stephen Fry

Join me for weekly photo stories themed around my travels.

Meet the workers of Paris at dawn, wander the old streets of London’s East End or see the fading glamour of Havana at sunrise. Plus subscribers receive a free digital copy of my book London at Dawn  and some beautiful wallpapers to download as a thank you :)

No spam, and I won’t share your email.