If there’s ever a view that’s been done to death its Buckingham Palace. There will be people in the world who don’t know what it looks like, but not many. I remember as a child there being a biscuit tin in the kitchen with a photo of Buckingham Palace on the front, that image must have been replicated a thousand times since by countless tourists and camera crews.
My challenge was to get a view of the Palace that was a bit out of the ordinary, and if I’d have approached it head on, from St James Park or the Mall I think I would have struggled. You see that familiar profile, and it’s so hard then to come up with an original view. I walked towards the Palace from Bond Street, then past the Ritz, and across Green Park. This way, my first view of the Palace was side on, through a tangle of leafless winter trees.
I was attracted to the view through the gates of Green Park. Painted a gloss black, with gold trim and bright gold statuettes on top, I tried a number of angles, framing the Palace with the gates, and I’m convinced there’s a great image in there somewhere. I didn’t find though. Not until I decided to change tack and get in close. I focused on the Palace and made sure the ironwork of the gates was out of focus. I finally got the shot I was looking for, and this is my favourite of this series. it has the Palace, its busy London context, and those gates all in one off-beat view.
I’m always amazed by how much land there is behind the palace. If you’re ever in London, with time to kill, try walking all the way round, it’s quite a distance. Crossing the road from Green Park to the Palace I paused for a moment and took a shot looking up Constitution Hill. There’s no funny perspectives going on here, that’s the Wellington Arch in the distance, at Hyde Park corner, roughly the end of the gardens.
In front of the Palace now, and an excellent example of how to distract a Policeman. All you need is a handful of teenage girls. It seems to work quite well. This guy must spend all day having his photo taken, perhaps I got a slightly different view to the norm.
Finally, a view through the railings. Now maybe Her Maj was dancing around naked in full view, f so I missed it. You’d think something really interesting was occurring given the row of people taking photos through the railings. I thought that this shot captured the tourist circus that surrounds Buckingham Palace.
I like the atmosphere outside the Palace, there’s nothing much to see unless the changing of the guard is happening, you can’t go in, there’s no souvenir shops I can think of in at least a quarter of a mile. All there is to do is to stand and look, soak up the remnant aura of all the throngs who’ve stood here in the past, at both royal and national events. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no royalist, far from it, but I like the place, it’s got character, history and though tourist hotspot it maybe, it retains it’s dignity. How rare these days that we have to use our imaginations – no multi media presentations, just pause a while and take it all in.