The view from the back seat of a taxi home, 2018
Photographed by the author.
Recently, on my way back from a late night radio interview where I had been speaking about the London Nights exhibition, I had the rare pleasure of a taxi journey home. It was a wonderful to sit back at the end of a very busy working day and observe the nocturnal city as we passed through one area to another: the central landmarks, crossing the river and out to suburban south London. I could simply take in the glorious half-lit streets, the nocturnal people and the activity of the city at night, mirroring the exhibition content I had just curated.
It's clear from London Nights that photographers and filmmakers have taken equal pleasure and inspiration from journeying through London. On foot, the city can be observed very acutely. Meandering through the streets wherever the feet or eye take you can be adventurous and liberating. Charles Dickens was famed for his night walking, describing London as his "magic lantern". He captured the scenes he saw in his nocturnal rambles in a book of essays, but photography lets us join the artist as they travel, and see the dark city through their eyes.