Are you lucky or do you make your luck – photographing street art in Brick Lane, London

I have been going back over some images I shot in Brick Lane area in London recently. Brick Lane if you don’t know it is probably one of the best known areas in London for graffiti and street art and I spent an entire day there and didn’t cover all of it by any means. It is a fantastic area of London as it quite ethnically diverse with graffiti artists existing alongside members of the local  Bangladeshi-Sylheti community.

The art here is amazing and very diverse. It varies from stencil and sticker art to full size painted images. I met one of the local artists Stik when I was there. Someone knew him and saw me photographing his work and introduced me which was amazing. I also managed, later in the day, to get the image below of one of Stik’s pieces of work.

This is where I ponder the luck or make your luck question. This image has an element of the unusual  – there weren’t many women around the street and few in traditional clothing so that was unusual and that she walked past this particular piece of art the moment I was standing there – well that was very serendipitous. But lucky? I’m not sure. I think to an extent as photographers we make our luck when we open our eyes.

You see – cool stuff is all around but you have to see it and you have to be there with a camera in hand and that isn’t lucky – that’s work. You carry a camera through days of taking ho hum shots and getting rained on and seeing nothing that works for you and then occasionally you are rewarded with a result you’ve earned through . I think this image was, in many ways, earned. So too was the one above. I saw the art and then the bike and then I had my picture.




Helen Bradley