'Bank', 2001, by John Davies
A new Museum of London exhibition showcases new perspectives on familiar thoroughfares in a series of photographs taken by renowned urban landscape photographer, John Davies. The exhibition, 'Highways: Photographs by John Davies', opens on 25 January 2013.
In 2001, the Museum of London commissioned Davies, best known for his unflinching black and white images of post-industrial Britain, to explore the major arterial road links which run through the capital. This was the first time he had worked on a project entirely in colour. All six photographs in the exhibition were taken in 2001-02, just before the Congestion Charge was introduced to London – on 17 February 2003, a decade ago.
This project formed part of Davies’ on-going and ambitious Metropoli project to investigate and photograph Britain's major post-industrial cities. Davies’ aim has been to document the multi-layered character of metropolitan areas and to identify the particular character, uniqueness and qualities of differing regional centres.
The six London thoroughfares will be familiar to the majority of Londoners but were taken from high vantage points. The routes featured are:
Elephant and Castle roundabout
Marble Arch and Hyde Park
St. Pancras Station Midland Grand Hotel and the A501
Junction of Poultry and Queen Victoria Street at Bank station
Blackwall Tunnel entrance
John Davies said: “For this project I drove along nearly all of the major routes inside and including the South and North Circular. My priority was to photograph the environments surrounding these highways in sunlight – choosing high vantage positions where the quality of light highlighted the neighbouring structures, rather than focusing on the high volume of traffic.
“The surrounding areas sometimes reveal surprises: I remember a humble shed sitting atop a roof in Hammersmith which contrasted strongly with the newly built office towers running along the flyover. I hope visitors will also find their own surprises when exploring the images and feel a new connection with these familiar routes.”
Francis Marshall, Senior Curator of Art at the Museum of London, said: “For most Londoners, we experience these major roads at ground level – with all of the traffic, fumes and noise that brings. John’s photographs give us a welcome distance – one where traffic does not dominate the surroundings.”
John Davies has published several books of photographs, 'The British Landscape' is his latest (Chris Boot, 2006). This series has been exhibited at PhotoEspana and at the National Media Museum, Bradford. His photographs have been widely exhibited, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Pompidou Centre, Paris, the Royal Academy of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Davies is represented by the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London.
'Highways: Photographs by John Davies' will be on display in the foyer of the Museum of London
, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN.