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London from the rooftops

Written by 25 July 2012 3 Comments

Being a Brit living abroad one of the first questions I get asked is “are you from London?”. My face usually forms some unattractive snarl and I state very clearly that NO I am NOT from London and in fact I’ve only ever visited once for a day to get an emergency passport! I suppose I’ve never really felt connected to my capital city – maybe its because of my Northern pride or because I was raised in the rural countryside and feel claustrophobic in giant sprawling cities like London. That is however until I came across the work of James Burns.
For 10 years photographer James Burns has been documenting London’s skyline from tower block rooftops in every corner of the capital; “I’ve always had an urge to be high up, to rise above street level and take in the whole of London in one serene sweep of the eye. It’s from the rooftops that you can truly appreciate the unique and seemingly random beauty of the London skyline, and no other city on earth can be confused with it”
An exhibition of 45 of his rooftop London images including the 10 featured above opens at theprintspace gallery in East London next week and runs from the 1st to the 22nd August. The Exhibition has been timed to coincide with the London 2012 Olympic games so that visitors to the capital will have the opportunity to marvel at its unseen skyline (for free) right in the middle of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter, Shoreditch.
His motivation behind the project is clearly his passion for London life; “I feel a deep connection with London. My identity has been shaped by its music and multiculturalism and this plurality of styles and cultures is reflected in the physical landscape of London. Churches jostle for space with 1960’s tower blocks, parks, canals, power stations, rivers, Victorian terraces, stadiums, stations and now a whole host of brand new, gleaming, futuristic skyscrapers. There has never been a more exciting time to photograph the skyline of London and I have made it my mission to photograph it from every possible vantage point. Now it’s time to share it with London and her Olympic guests so they too can revel in the beauty of London during her moment in the spotlight.” And hey he even manages to convince this self-confessed London hater that maybe the city does have some magic from its rooftops!
Ever been to London? Are you heading there for the Olympics? What are your thoughts on the city?
lorna stokes This post was written by Lorna Stokes, part of the travelettes team from 2009 to 2013. Originally from the UK but currently based in Brussels after stints in Canada, Peru, Italy and a job for the French military, she’s always had an unquenchable thirst for exploring new places! She’s still travelling the world with her family so catch up with her adventures on Instagram & Twitter.
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  • Erica said:

    Such stunning photos of a city I love so much :)

  • james burns said:

    Hi, just to say thank you for promoting my work, I’m just trawling the net looking for feedback and stuff like this is a quite wonderful surprise. Thank you!!!!! :)
    I hope to meet you there

    Kind regards


  • Dan said:

    Hi there

    I would just like to point out that the hyperlink to James’ work, is sending me to THE WRONG JAMES BURNS!

    I know James personally and this is the link for people to discover the REAL James Burns Photographer Extraordinaire.


    Perhaps you should amend this Lorna?

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