After a Flickr Mini Meet with a bunch of keen photographers at the London Transport Museum, the community team were so impressed they wanted to display five photos on their website. But with so many to choose from they needed your help.
Voting has now closed. Catch the winners on the London Transport Museum's site.
A few Sundays back, well Sunday the 18th Feb to be more precise, I was invited along to a mini-flickr meet at the London Transport Museum, organised by Jane Findlay. The museum is in the running for the art fund prize for museums and galleries, so like some super-sized panel of masterchef judges, flickr photographers from the London Tube group, along with transport nutty bloggers, such as Annie Mole, and Route79 were invited along to see whether we'd give them the thumbs up, or more appropriately the green light as it were.
I'd spent the last 5 days bed bound with a nasty cold, so wasn't able to get the most out of this event, let alone take pictures. Suffice to say though, the new arrangement of cut-away vehicles, like the bus below, and complete carriages like the one above, which you were welcome to sit in and read your metro, were great. I was disappointed that the tube driving simulations were "suspended" though. Kind of reminded of the real thing. I would've rather enjoyed the feeling of driving through London Bridge station, failing to stop, watching all the commuters waving rolled up metros at me menacingly. Or making an announcement that any chaps wearing trousers half way up their arse, rectify their fashion crime immediately. Or else, I wouldn't be leaving the station. I should've taken some pictures of the other punters taking a seat, as opposed to the stationary dummies here, and really captured that feeling of going nowhere. Like on the jubilee line (say what you will about the Northern Line, but Jubilee has got to be the worst).
My fellow photographers did a commendable job of capturing the buzz, and attractions to see, over in the London Transport Museum pool. The wordsmiths have also done a better job of setting the scene, than my rambling little effort here. At the end of the afternoon, just like guests at the oscars, we were given goodie bags and so many riches that I've been sworn not to say anymore. What I can say is that I very much look forward to my next G&T with LU roundel shaped ice cubes... Good job LTM!
Please vote here
London is big. Really, really big. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever arrived here from out of town, but those of us who call this mad place home will occasionally be hit by the sudden realisation that this city is much, much bigger than we even thought.
I mention this because we're used to thinking about our city on a smaller, more familiar and manageable scale. We know how the bits of the city we're intimate with fit together. We don't need maps or timetables to navigate to work, or home, or favourite pubs and friends' houses. For many of us, London isn't this giant, sprawling, impossibly huge metropolis, but a very specific, local experience, or a string of them. My London is the area where I grew up and went to school, the places where I've explored by bus, train, tube and river, the areas where I've lived, and loved, and worked, and played over the years. The city itself may be too big to imagine, comprehensively know or handle, but *my* London is familiar and detailed, as comfortable as an old shoe. And it's those details which make it feel like a place I know and love. It's a known quantity, for and with all its faults and benefits.
But the scale of the place was brought home to me again when I visited the newly re-opened London Transport Museum, and looked closely at the huge collection of maps, and fare charts and destination boards they have in their collection. It was revealing to look at these objects not as familiar articles of daily navigation, but as ways of describing the limits and localities and lives of the city. Places I'd never heard of, just down the road. New ways of thinking about the place I call home. New ways of imagining the lives and realities of all the people who live and have lived in this strange, complicated place, and how they have gone about their daily business, and how the city's infrastructure has flexed and developed in response to their needs.
Sometimes it takes a new interpretation to help you to see something familiar in a new way.
I like details. I like thinking about the big through the perspective of the small. Which is why, at the LT Museum Flickr minimeet, I decided to focus on the details of moving around this great city, both in time and in geography. Most of my photos from the day (the full set can be found here on Flickr) are of tiny details of the artefacts and displays in the museum, because they reveal a great deal about the life of the network.
I became fascinated with the fonts and designs used over time within the LT system. But it's not always been heroic Harry Beck and his fabulous fonts. In fact, one of my favourite finds in the collection was this train carriage door handle unit, engraved with the words "Live in MetroLand" in flourished script.
I thought this was a really interesting example of two things - first, that at one point, the endless suburbs of Northwest London were marketed as a haven of peace and tranquility and commuter heaven. It's an interesting way to think about an area which is so familiar - can we imagine Harrow and Ruislip these days as being so glamorous as to have a name like "MetroLand" which gives an air of a place both futuristic and hopelessly quaint at the same time? And secondly, I loved the idea that back then, people would go to the trouble of creating beautifully detailed and designed objects, rather than just functional mass-produced items. Can you imagine a door handle on today's transport system being engraved with such an aspirational message? And in such a flowing hand? Actually, come to think of it, when was the last time you saw a door handle on a train at all?
The other photo I'm particularly fond of from the day at the LT museum is another example of looking at things differently. This image was taken in a section staged to look like a mid-century living room. I love this picture because of the way the 1930s mirror frames the beautiful ironwork of the museum structure.
There's so much to see and do within the museum, that it's easy to miss one of the most amazing things about the museum altogether - the building it's housed in is an impressive Victorian iron and glass building that originally formed part of the Covent Garden flower market. The high curves and generous light of the building enhance the experience of visiting the museum, and make it possible for the displays to be laid out in multiple levels and walkways across a wide, airy space.
My two lingering impressions of the museum are
a) that it's rare to visit a museum which has such an interesting and engaging layout - the way that the museum is navigated is unexpected and rewarding and
b) that the attention to detail is astounding. There are levels and levels of information and assets - ranging from the big (an original trolleybus) to the small (branded buttons from a conductor's jacket, or a wartime ticket stub), and information about everything from the cost of tea and a bun during wartime nights spent sheltering in the underground stations to the design differences in moquette on various lines.
I've got to be honest: me and London Transport....we've had a complicated relationship over the years. For me, the London Transport network manages to simultaneously be both sprawlingly vast and local and relevant. The experience of using it every day is a combination of frustration - not so much the infrastructure as the social environment (commuters with poor hygiene in the summer months and open-mouthed coughing in the winter ones, I'm looking at you) - and wonder because in a city so huge, and with so many people to cart around, the fact that it works at all is a miracle. We take it for granted a lot of the time, and we really shouldn't.
That the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden manages to present and interpret both the scale of the network's reach, history and ambition alongside the tiniest details of its operation and the people who rely on it everyday is truly impressive.
Please vote here
Back in the day, before Brunel and Greathead's tunnelling technology let engineers burrow under cities without disturbing things at street level, they had to dig very big holes. This is a miniature of one of those trenches, complete with a man telling you to go around the long way. Wouldn't want to fall in and become part of the Metropolitan Line, would you?
...step forward a hundred years or so, and the Museum takes you to the future. This is a mock-up of one of the new Victoria Line trains, currently in testing, and due to enter service sometime in 2009/10. Though just a bit of advance warning: the seats aren't as bouncy as the ones we've got now.
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Covent Garden used to irritate me. For two reasons.
First, the lift from the tube. I hated the noise in there. Did you hear the noise in that lift? You must have done. It would either be the sound of an irritating over-enthusiastic DJ from "Capital 95 point Great, mate"; a faux-Cockney from BBC local radio; or, peculiarly, a man with a peculiar atlantic accent best known these days for his cooking sauces. (I recommend Primavera. Mmm.)
Second, I hated the fact that one of my favourite places in London, the London Transport Museum, was shut. I used to bound over, get round the corner, and realise that... oh, it was shut. Still. Bah.
Thankfully, I think they've replaced the voice in the lift, and the London Transport Museum reopened in November 2007! Yay! Covent Garden no longer irritates me! (Apart from the scary heather ladies. But we'll not go into that).
Now, for reasons that are moderately unclear to me, apparently I might get these photos on the official London Transport Museum website, which would be nice, if I get some votes. To be clear, I need more votes than the other people. So I need you to vote. For me. Now. Please. Thanks.
To whet your appetite, I need to show you two of my favourite photographs. (I took plenty, but need to choose two). So, here's one.
This is a reel of destinations that used to show in the front of a bus, and now hangs from the museum roof. I was a particular fan that many places were described in terms of the local pub - The Eagle, the Red Lion, the Goldsmiths Arms: showing that the pub was then really the centre of the community.
And here's the famous Routemaster, with said black destination reel in the front window, causing quite a buzz with the visitors on the day I visited.
So, good. Go and vote for me, then. Please. Ta.
Please vote here
London Transport Museum rocks! The place is choc full of exhibits, storylines and interactive displays that really drive home the undisputable fact that London, for a long time, lead the world in defining and shaping the whole concept of public transport, and continues to do so. And although we often love to gripe about it, everything in the London Transport Museum reminds us that secretly we LOVE it. I mean, where else can you pay homage to the iconic Routemaster double-deckers, the original Underground and all of it's paraphernalia, the taxis, and maps. Oh, the maps. Don't get me started on the maps! And the fonts! The things that we take for granted every day.
If, like me, you've ever travelled on the public transport system in London and paused for just a second and thought to yourself "that's clever", then you'd find it well worth your while spending a couple of hours at the London Transport Museum, 'cos here you can immerse yourself in everything that went into developing the stuff that helps you get from A to B, not just in London, and exactly why everywhere else the world apes it. Our city has a lot that we can be proud of, and the LT Museum is justly one of them.
Please vote for one of my photos to be shown on the London Transport Museum's website :)
I have a love of moquette, and having only taken my macro lens with me, I was really pleased with how this one turned out. Hardly recognisable as what it is!
This was great fun to watch - a real time map of the network. This pic was taken from behind to try and get a different perspective of it. Plus, it appealed to the electrical engineer in me!
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I have to admit the London Transport Museum was more than I expected, and I could have spent all day watching the giant interactive map (to be honest I nearly thought of making a square for the mega map, sshhhh)
Here are my two favourite photos (I took 496 shots, of which 84 were uploaded to Flickr and Zooomr) are below. I'm amazed they all came out as they were mostly at ISO1600 due to not having a flash like version3.1
What more could sum up London Transport than this famous typeface? 94 years old and still fresh to the eye. This was tucked away somewhere and I only just spotted it as I madly dashed to met everyone. I love the golden pop of the letters on the black.
I was struck by how many miniatures were dotted around the museum, and the quality of them (you can see all the shots I got here) This is my favourite both because of the vibrant colour, but also because of the two people sat watching the world go by on their way to Tooting. I wonder what they're talking about? (I've had to squash this to fit, click it to see in full)
Many thanks to everyone that was involved, I've met what I hope to be a good few friends, and also some people I've been following before but now know their faces (and size, version3.1!) I can't wait to get out to the depot!
Please vote here
We were invited by the London Transport Museum and Flickr to the recently re-opened London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. I hadn't been to the old museum so I didn't know what to expect. They have a lot of exhibits creatively crammed into quite a small site.
My favourite pictures from the day are:
Attack of the 30' Spider. I hadn't noticed this looming arachnid when I took the picture. This is inside the entrance to the museum, with huge maps of underground systems from around the world.
Willow pattern service poster. I think this was part of the Metroland exhibit of advertisements extolling the virtues of the new suburbs on the Metropolitan line.
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Hi, I'm Justin. Crashcalloway to my Flickr and Yahoo Friends. Here's a couple of my Photo's from the Flickr meet at the LT Museum. Enjoy!
Where Do You Want To Go Today?
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'Lo. My name is Katy. Here are my two favourite photos that I took at the flickr mini meet. If you like one of them, give them your love and I might be featured on the London Transport Museum's website for all to admire. Hooray!
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Steve is a keen amateur photographer who has lived in London most of his adult life. He never ceases to be amazed by how you can always find new things to do and see.
When he escapes from the city he likes good food; taking his camera for long walks in the countryside; and travel (especially Spain but not the Costa del Brits bits).
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17th February 2008 - Sixteen Flickr Photographers at the London Transport Museum
Kindly supported by Jane Findlay - Community Curator at the London Transport Museum.
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See more pictures from this meet here