Yesterday, Thursday 6th, was the day set aside to conduct the One Day Shoot in the city of London. My idea for this shoot was to take photographs of famous and popular locations in London that have been used in major motion pictures. Although it seems that most big budget movies are set somewhere in the US, a lot of movies use London for it’s location as it’s a popular place with lots to offer set and location wise.
I started my location selection process by going through popular movies that I’ve seen that are set in London.
The very first that came to mind was ‘Harry Potter’. There are lots of locations around London that feature in the Harry Potter movies but I didn’t want to use one of the more obvious and popular places like the Millennium Bridge and King’s Cross station. ‘Diagon Alley’ uses a mix of created set and actual locations to create it’s illusion and one of the less recognised places is Leadenhall Market. Although Leadenhall Market is on walking tours of Harry Potter scene locations, it isn’t as well known as other places which is why I decided to use it as one of my locations. I went there to shoot first as it was in the opposite direction to most of my other selected locations and also one of the closest to where I’d been staying for my London Week trip.
I have a friend who is obsessed with the movie ‘Shaun of the Dead’, which came to mind when looking for locations. Although most of the film is set in Crouch End, the very important pub ‘The Winchester Tavern’ is not as local as it is made out to be in the movie but is actually miles away located in New Cross and is actually called The Duke of Albany. Since the movie the pub closed and is currently a small block of flats.
A film that has been mentioned a fair bit by a lecturer on my course is the movie ‘The Blow Up’ which is about a photographer who accidentally witnesses a crime (fairly self explanatory as to why it’s a popular mention). Classic parts of the movie were set in Maryon Park in Charlton, although the park in the film and in real life do look quite different, and not just because I visited it 51 years after the movie was released but because the director had paths and even the grass painted as well as adding false structures to the backgrounds. Both of these factors made it difficult to locate the locations within the park I was after, but it as manageable.
The fourth location that I chose was from the movie ‘The King’s Speech’. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get inside of the building located at 33 Portland Place but I already knew I couldn’t, not without spending a small fortune anyway. The townhouse is a popular set location and has featured in more than just this movie, it was also used in Amy Winehouse’s music video ‘Rehab’ and has also been used in gay pornographic movies.
Every time I walk through a tube station I am reminded of the iconic scene from the old movie ‘An American Werewolf in London’ where the wolf chases the man through the tube station corridors before catching up to him on the escalator, that leads to the vital attack that most people always remember from the movie. I discovered that the tube station that it was filmed in was one I had passed through only days before the shoot but I didn’t recognise it as it’s had a lot of work done since the movie, in fact I thought that most other tube stations look more like the one from the movie than Tottenham Court Road station. I took photos from many different places in the station but ultimately got the best likeness from the escalator. I was fortunate enough that the middle escalator was broken so no one was using it.
As dictated by the brief, only five images could be submitted so I decided to only go to five locations in order to make the selection process easier. After I finished shooting at my final location I headed back to where the internet was, selected and edited my images, filled in my metadata (which took a while), and submitted my final five images.
These are the final images that I submitted:
Image 1: Leadenhall Market
"There's only one place we're going to get all this. Diagon Alley.” - Molly Weasley; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
The shops located in the centre of Leadenhall Market, where parts of 'Diagon Alley’ were filmed from the Harry Potter Movie franchise.
Grace Church Street, London, UK
Image 2: The Duke of Albany
"If we hole up, I wanna be somewhere familiar, I wanna know where the exits are, and I wanna be allowed to smoke.” - Ed; Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The former ‘The Duke of Albany’ pub that acted as the ‘Winchester’ pub in the movie Shaun of the Dead that was closed down and has been since turned into flats.
39 Monson Road, New Cross, London, UK
Image 3: Maryon Park
"You can't photograph people like that.” - Jane Birkin; The Blow Up (1966)
Steps in Maryon Park that were used in the movie ‘The Blow Up’ and many locations within the park were featured within the movie.
Maryon Park, Charlton, London, UK
Image 4: 33 Portland Place
"You don't need to be afraid of things you were afraid of when you were five.” - Lionel Logue; The King’s Speech (2010)
The outside of the Georgian townhouse at 33 Portland Place where parts of ‘The King’s Speech’ were filmed and is a popular scene location, also used in Amy Winehouse’s music video ‘Rehab’ and a few gay pornographies.
33 Portland Place, Marylebone, London, UK
Image 5: Tottenham Court Road
"I can assure you, this is not the least bit amusing. I shall report this!” - American Werewolf in London (1981)
The middle escalators in Tottenham Court Road Underground station where the London underground attack scene was filmed in ‘American Werewolf in London’ where main character David transforms into a werewolf and attacks a British commuter.
Tottenham Court Road, London, UK
I think that this One Day Shoot went much better than my first One Day Shoot in Plymouth (although I was ready to collapse when I got back indoors after travelling all over London).