Wed 01 Aug 2018 - 16.30

A Young Person Recommends... Eternal London

The London of Eternal London is strange place, full of shadows and rainy reflections.  It’s a mysterious city of people and animals, but only the pigeons and dogs stay still long enough to be seen properly.  The men and women rush by, without enough time to stop and look at their own city.  You catch glimpses of their hats, umbrellas and shoes as they rush past in the rain and gloom.  In the background you can see blurs of familiar landmarks - St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Big Ben. The pictures could have been taken 100 years ago or they could have been taken yesterday.                                                                                                                

In one of his pictures there is a silhouette of a dog jumping into the River Thames under a bridge. You can almost hear it barking as it chases a stick. In the background you can see the four towers Battersea Power Station. In another a pigeon struts gracefully in Trafalgar Square. St Martin-in-the-Fields is a blur in the background, but no people are visible. A third picture shows a man’s shoes in close up, as he strides away down a narrow street.

Giacomo Brunelli takes his photographs with a simple 35mm camera and black and white film, often at night or as it’s getting dark.  He plays with contrast, light and shade, and silhouettes, but you get the impression he’s not interested in perfect technique.   He uses blur to heighten the sense of mystery of his pictures – sometimes you’re not exactly sure what you are looking at.

Eternal London, published by Dewi Lewis, is Giacomo Brunelli’s second book. You can tell that he is not from London – he takes pictures of the obvious but makes them look strange.  In fact he was born in Italy and has exhibited and won awards all over the world.  

I think this is an excellent book for anyone who likes London and for all photographers.

– Daniel Hawley