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Seven days

On occasion I find myself having to explain exactly what I do as a documentary photographer, so I decided to illustrate a week in my life. This blog documents the first full week in June and is typical of what I do as a photographer, a mixture of commissions and personal work. Of course a lot of my work is weather and light dependent so when I'm not making photographs I am always kept busy with editing, post-production, research, meetings and the general administration that comes with working freelance.

I have selected just one photograph I made each day this week:


After a grey week, it was a joy to see some sunshine in London. I often work weekends, but not today, so I decided to make the most of the light by venturing out into Greenwich to shoot some pictures for my on-going personal work on the borough, My Green Place on the Bay. I walked along the east Thames Path and continued to document changes happening there and the current landscape.

Photograph caption: The new InterContinental Hotel and The O2 as viewed from the east Thames Path

Photograph ©Lucy Millson-Watkins



It was beautiful light again today so I headed into Oxford Street to shoot for a six-month commission I have been working on for The Survey of London. I am photographing a mixture of architecture, streetscapes and cultural phenomena along Oxford Street, which stretches from Tottenham Court Road tube station all the way through to Marble Arch tube station and will be published alongside the Marylebone volume.

Photograph caption: Oxford Circus tube station entrance/exit (north-west side)

Photograph ©Survey of London, Lucy Millson-Watkins



Today I was commissioned to photograph two blue plaque unveilings and a reception by English Heritage. The unveilings in central London were for Sir Frederick Ashton (choreographer) and Dame Margot Fonteyn (ballerina). The blue plaque scheme, which connects people of notable achievement with buildings in London, is now in its 150th year and unveilings are documented for press and archive.

Photograph caption: Darcey Bussell unveils a blue plaque to Dame Margot Fonteyn at 118 Long Acre

Photograph ©English Heritage, Lucy Millson-Watkins



Today I photographed social housing landscapes that recently had climate-proofing measures installed by an environmental charity. I booked the commission a couple of weeks back but some jobs are light dependant and if there is no immediate deadline, I always like to wait for days with good light. The images will be used to illustrate the charity's work and to showcase in presentations and publications.

Photograph caption: Queen Caroline Estate, Sophia House food growing space

Photograph ©Lucy Millson-Watkins



I spent another day photographing housing landscapes on a different estate as part of my commission for Groundwork London. The light was lovely so I spent time capturing various vantage points and the variety of climate-proofing measures that include green roofs, food growing beds and swale. I spoke to a few residents while I was working, who were really enjoying the new spaces.

Photograph caption: Richard Knight House, Low level green roof detail

Photograph ©Lucy Millson-Watkins



After some editing, I decided to visit the Barbican and see 'Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers' before it closes next week. Curated by Martin Parr, it showcases work chronologically from various photographers who have documented Britain in their own inimitable style. I then walked around town doing some research and pictures for my ongoing project In Memoriam.

Photograph caption: Great Eastern Railway WW1 stone memorial in context at Liverpool Street station

Photograph ©Lucy Millson-Watkins



After brunch with some family, we stood by the River Thames to watch the flight display and Red Arrows fly towards The Mall as part of the Trooping the Colour parade in honour of Her Majesty's 90th birthday. Later, some friends and I travelled to Northampton to watch my partner Tim play bass with his band, Kasai, at The Willow Festival. It was a great performance and fun to watch people really enjoying their music.

Photograph caption: Dust in the clouds left by the Red Arrows as part of Trooping the Colour parade

Photograph ©Lucy Millson-Watkins


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