The Streets of London: The Old Kent Road

The three-year course delivered by the London College of Printing during the 1960’s was called a Higher Diploma in Creative Photography. Many of us wondered aloud what the principle aims of the course were and, though never receiving a reply, came to assume the course intention was principally to prepare photographers for the bright worlds of advertising and fashion.

Though I enjoyed the three years and learnt loads, I never really worked out how to make the best use of the opportunity. I can recall the first few weeks and quite a bit of the final year, however the time between remains something of a blur and now, looking back 50 years at the negatives I produced, I am surprised at how random my preoccupations were.

Idea after idea seemed to warrant about two films’ worth of effort before I moved onto something new. Perhaps my finances did not help. Most of us used bulk loaded 35mm film, and we bought the cheapest and thinnest paper for contact prints, a form of Kodak document paper.

The results now look desultory; if only I could run the clock back and make use of some of what I have used since. Thirty-five years of teaching though tells me this is such a common refrain.

These image are from a small series of street views incorporating advertising hoardings made around 1970.