Unquiet Thames at the Museum in Docklands

A new exhibition at the Museum in Docklands enables visitors to glimpse the hidden world beneath London's bridges and piers, thanks to photographer Crispin Hughes.

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London Bridge City Pier ( Crispin Hughes)


Hughes's beautiful panoramas are on show at the West India Quay museum until 4 June.

The 18 pictures, each over two metres wide and taking in 360 degrees, capture the play of shadow and light, the massive drowned structures revealed by the ebbing tide and the sense of expectation and foreboding that the river carries with it.

"The Thames in central London has a seven metre tidal range and it is in the enclosed spaces flooded alternately with light and with water that I have concentrated my attention," says Crispin Hughes. "Most of these places were not designed to be seen by the general public at all and are often an amalgam of very ancient timbers and modern steel and concrete."

Blackfriars
Blackfriars ( Crispin Hughes)


He adds: "I have sequenced the pictures to draw the viewer in from exteriors in which parts of central London are recognisable, to private rather feral interior spaces. While taking the pictures I was constantly aware of the tide rising around me. Many of the pictures have a blank screen or stage-like area at their centre as though a drama is about to be enacted. Returning after the rise and fall of the tide everything would be subtly re-arranged."

Hughes explained how he took the pictures: "Each panoramic photograph is created by stitching together eight separate digital images. These were shot
on a digital SLR camera fitted with a 17mm lens. The camera was mounted on a tripod head that allows it to be rotated precisely around its optical axis to produce correct alignment of the images. The resulting pictures were then
assembled using readily available panorama software. The 2.38m wide prints were made by Sky Imaging on a Light Jet 430 printer which uses three coloured lasers to create a photographic print from a digital file."

The exhibition is accompanied by a soundtrack sampled from many of the photographic locations.

Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, Canary Wharf
• Entrance to the exhibition is free with a valid Museum entrance ticket (5; concessions 3). NUS cardholders and under 16s are free. Tickets are valid for a year,so you can come back as many times as you like.
• Readers of our email newsletter SE1 Direct can take advantage of a 2 for the price of 1 offer; see the Monday 6 March issue for full details.

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