Street Abstracts & Illusions featuring London Buses

When walking around London with a camera it becomes inevitable that at some point a red London bus will become part of the mise-en-scène. Mise-en-scène is a French term drawn used in theatre and film-making. In cinematography it refers to the arrangement of objects and people in front of the camera; with some directors this is often a conscious and deliberate stylistic choice.

The following images are all single exposure shots of London streets contain representations of London buses. I have selected these photographs for their abstract and/or illusory elements.

Below, a street abstract seen in Archway earlier this month composed of red graffiti in the foreground. The background is divided between a black vertical on the left and to the right is a passing double decker bus. For me, the blurred moving bus has an impressionistic, painterly quality:

Next, some photographs taken in my neighbourhood. The abstract image below also appears in my recent blog entitled Illusions in Kentish Town:

A flooded section of road near Parliament Hill Fields provides an opportunity for this abstract composition where the horizontal strip at the head of the image is a reflected top deck of an 88 bus:

More reflections – a series abstract illusions featuring male mannequins and double decker buses. In the next two images the mannequins are naked, connoting elements of classicism and surrealism:

The following surreal and illusory images featuring London buses also reference Covid times. In terms of the High Street many stores were temporarily shut or permanently ceased trading as a result of Lockdown. In this closed Oxford Street menswear shop, the suits were protected with a layer of transparent garment covers, adding another level of shine to the reflective shop window:

In Piccadilly, a man in a face mask and gloves stands in front of a London sightseeing bus which is decorated with a cityscape of iconic London landmarks and symbols. His upright stance echoes that of the monuments and he is sandwiched between representations of a telephone box and The Gherkin whilst The Millennium Wheel arcs over his head. Accompanying the promotional leaflets at the bus stop are cleaning and sanitising products:

There’s a doubling effect in the image below which contains two representations of people in black masks; one a real passenger and the other a section of an advertising image:

Next a couple of images taken whilst I was actually a passenger a bus. The first was taken near Baker Street – the clue is in the poster featuring Sherlock Holmes, a fictional detective made famous in the books of Arthur Conan Doyle and who has a dedicated museum in the area.

Ghostly illusions in front of me:

The photograph below was taken last week on Upper Street in Islington, I like the way the street sign and the bus both appear to be decorated in Asian imagery:

And finally a couple of photographs from my Persian Kentish Town project. Reflected red buses combine with the patterns of the oriental rugs outside Kasra on Highgate Road:


Also published on Medium.

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