Category: london

london photography travel

Exploring London: Highgate Cemetery

After finishing grad school last September, I was constantly stressed out about being in the dreaded Transition Phase. I’m sure anyone who reads this can relate to that state of mind–you’ve finished school; you have a good degree; so what are you going to do with your life? Wait, didn’t you already go through this after getting your BA?

For five months, I constantly worried about finding a job so I could stay in London. And for those five months, I had way too much time on my hands. Now, between working two jobs, I feel like my free time is practically non-existent. Stress and I have been on intimate terms for a long time, and as someone who is prone to anxiety, it’s really important for me to take opportunities that allow me to just chill out. My go-to method for mentally unwinding is photography. When I can, I like to grab my camera and head out with a friend, or solo, to take photos around London.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Anthony and I decided to go on a photo walk in what is possibly my favorite part of London. Highgate is a beautiful village bordering Hampstead Heath and the ancient Highgate Wood. Its biggest tourist attraction is the hauntingly atmospheric victorian cemetery where many notable people, including Karl Marx, George Elliot, Ralph Richardson, Jean Simmons, Lucian Freud, and most of Charles Dickens’ family, have found their final resting place.

Highgate Cemetery is split into two sections spanning either side of Swains Lane. The East Cemetery is open to the public for a small fee. The West Cemetery, often referenced in film and literature, is accessible by guided tour only. We chose the West Cemetery and were led on a trek by a quirky guide who regaled us with stories of the cemetery’s famous inhabitants and put to rest the urban legend of the Highgate Vampire. No ghosts or vampires were seen on our tour, but it’s easy to see why such stories abound in this quaint corner of North London…

Highgate Wood

Highgate Cemetery

Cedar of Lebanon, Highate Cemetery

Circle of Lebanon, Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery
White Eagle Hill, Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery is roughly a 10 minute walk from either Archway or Highgate tube stations (Northern Line)

london photography site updates

Spring cleaning

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier by Laura Loveday
I’m very excited to unveil a new look for! The header, based on a photo by James Abbe Jr, was designed by the amazingly talented Miss Laura Loveday, a designer and illustrator living in Cornwall, using a combination of hand-drawn and photoshop. I’ve known Laura for many years through the blogosphere and our mutual love for classic films and creative design. The new look was created for the anniversary of this website, which is happening on April 7. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate 5 years online than with this beautiful illustration. Thanks, Laura!

Also, just to remind everyone, if you had previously subscribed to receive an email update whenever a new blog post is made, you will have to re-subscribe to continue getting this service. When the site was recovered a couple days ago, this data was lost. I’ve re-subscribed a few people already but can’t remember everyone’s email addresses.

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london photography

This is London calling

London is such a photogenic city that I have a had time keeping my camera turned off. On Monday, my friend Ali and I did a circular walk from Trafalgar Square to Lambeth Bridge, across to the South Bank and over to St Paul’s Cathedral (where I got to test my new tripod) before walking back to Holborn and catching the bus to Crouch End. This route is part of the Jubilee Walkway, a project chaired by  Vivien Leigh biographer and friend of Hugo Vickers. Our mission was to get some good shots along the walk, which offers brilliant views of some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Mission accomplished? I like to think so. We even said hello to Laurence Olivier along the way.

All photos in this post © Kendra Bean




london photography

Roses in Bloom

I promise to have some actual Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier-related goodies on the site in the next few days (I’ve got a book review, author Q&A, and a video to put up) but as yesterday was the last sunny day before a week of forecasted rain and gloom, I grabbed my camera and headed back to Regent’s Park to take some portraits. My subject? Mother Nature. Always beautiful and always fascinating.

More photos from my walk in Regents Park can be found on flickr. I am steadily building a photography portfolio of sorts in hoping of landing a position as a photography assistant. This hobby brings me so much joy and I am eager to learn the ins and outs of the business and to get some hands-on experience working with professionals. If there are any professional London-based photographers who read this site and are looking for any help, or would just be willing to let me tag along on a shoot, I’d love to be your right hand (wo)man!

An aside: This Saturday, in honor of Vivien Leigh’s birthday, I’ve scheduled a little meet up for fans in London. It’s just a casual thing. We’re planning to meet at 54 Eaton Square at noon to lay some flowers, and then go for tea or a drink in Chelsea. If you will be in town on the day and would like to join, please let me know!

london photography travel

Autumn in London

The ponds Kenwood House

As we enter November, autumn will soon start to give way to the bare trees and cold, wet days of winter. But for now, the season is still in full bloom, even in here London. Although a sprawling metropolis, London offers plenty of sectioned-off green space filled with beautiful foliage and wildlife that have populated the area for centuries. Many of the largest parks and estate grounds were bequeathed by royalty, so they remain immaculately kept and are enjoyed by thousands, if not millions of visitors each year. This past week, in between sending out job applications and watching copious amounts of films rented from the Hornsey Library, I took my camera out to try and capture some of the magnificent color and beauty of autumn in the capitol.

Kenwood House is a certified English Heritage-managed stately home in Hampstead, North London. I took the 210 from Finsbury Park which dropped me off right in front of the gates.The house itself dates back to the 16th century and is surrounded by luscious grounds with duck ponds, bogs, romantic gardens and dark woodland bordering Hampstead Heath. Paths meander through the woods for what seem like miles, shrouded in a canopy of luscious orange, yellow, red and brown.  I wanted to take advantage of the soft afternoon light, so I brought along my new 50mm f/1.4 lens, an early Christmas present from my mom, and snapped away! It is very tranquil and beautiful this time of year, and the best part about Kenwood House is that it’s free.

The Regent’s Park borders Primrose Hill and Baker Street in central London, and is home to the London Zoo. This huge park has beautiful was endowed by Henry VIII as a hunting ground and now has rose gardens, large sports grounds, and the famous Open Air Theatre, where Vivien Leigh once played Anne Boleyn in a 1936 production of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. Sit by the lake and feed the birds or stroll through the immaculate gardens with a cup of coffee. Whatever you fancy, be sure to wear a scarf to keep you warm.

All photos in this post © Kendra Bean/