London photos: Royal Academy, Mayfair, Soho, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Last Saturday, I went for a leisurely perambulation around central London, looking at some art and architecture along the way. Here’s some photos from my travels:

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

People take in the overcast wonder of Green Park.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

The David Zwirner gallery in Grafton Street was showing an exhibition of William Eggleston’s photographs, entitled, “2¼.”

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

The gallery website said this:

Over the course of nearly six decades, Eggleston has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of colour, form, and composition. His vividly saturated photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning. A pioneer of colour photography, Eggleston helped elevate the medium to the art form that it is recognised to be today.

The works on view in 2¼ were taken around 1977 throughout California and the American South following the artist’s groundbreaking exhibition of colour photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1976. Eggleston shot the images using a two-and-one-quarter-inch square-format camera. The resulting photographs of individuals, cars, parking lots, and local stores and businesses speak to the uniformity of postwar material culture while revealing the distinct character and individualism of the people and places that populate the American landscape. Many of the images in 2¼ were first published as a monograph of the same title by Twin Palms in 1999. Several were also included in Cadillac, a portfolio of thirteen chromogenic prints that Eggleston produced the same year.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed.  Barely a handful of photos punctuated the acres of white space around the gallery, and if the photos hadn’t been blown up to such immense scale and out in the context of an upmarket art gallery, I would have flicked past them in seconds.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Mayfair scene.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Happy Christmas.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

A barrel of Mexican Lime Juice.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Unpleasant architecture.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Besuited security outside Chatila luxury jewellers on Old Bond Street, Mayfair.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Snappy dresser saunters down Old Bond Street.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

A delightful – and very rare – wooden letter box by the entrance to the Royal Academy. You can still use it to post letters.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London has a unique position as an “independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects. Its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.” []

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

The Academy seems to be about 60% corridors and walkways, with exhibitions scattered around on multiple floors. It makes for a rather disjointed visitor experience.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Big fella.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

This security guard kept his beady eye on me wherever I roamed.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Getting stuck into the gift shop.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Door attendant.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London rain.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Dark skies at Piccadilly Circus.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Railings, gauze and tags.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Belting out tunes by the Radha-Krishna temple in Soho Square.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

The legendary Spanish Bar, tucked away in Hanway Street.

It’s described by Google as a, “Snug, upbeat, late-night spot with worn banquette, picture-laden walls and vinyl jukebox soundtrack.” Which is about right. It’s a great bar.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Textures, Hanway Street.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

I saw this poster on Hanway Street. The line-up dates it to some 40 years ago which would make it a remarkable survivor, but I’m not entirely convinced that it’s real.

London photos: Royal Academy, William Eggleston exhibition, street views and more, May 2019

Soho Square. A World War 2 bunker lies beneath this half-timbered shelter.

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