'Project London'

 Jean-René Vauzelle

I never had a desire to travel to England. At least not one that yearned deep inside me like I’ve had for other destinations before. For my new job working in Chamonix, France over the winter I had to travel there for some training.

I arrived in London to be detained in the airport while the customs officer sorted out some supposedly strange things to do with my visa, or maybe that was her excuse because I may have just looked super shifty. Who knows.

After I eventually made it through customs I ventured into the city to meet my friend who I was staying with in the banking sector of London, Canary Wharf. I was greeted by abnormal looks as I dragged my giant snowboard bag about in search of my friend, not to mention some obscure looks from police armed with assault rifles. What happened to the stereotypical British cops with batons and fun round hats?

I settled into London rather easily and I felt a similarity with the big English speaking cities I’ve been to before. It was comparable to Melbourne, Vancouver and even New York to an extent in a way that its easy, everything is easy.

It would be simple to ship off and live in London, I have no doubt about that, as my brief time drew me close to the vortex of life in central London. I became slightly obsessed with the financial quarter and it’s people and the way they behave. I spent a lot of my time armed with my little Fuji camera capturing the droves of dull, murky coloured suits and women in stockings and dark coloured coats as they walked around with their faces down in their phones without a clue of their surroundings.

It fascinated me how these people didn’t show a sense of individuality and acted in organised packs of strangers as they shifted from their 30 story buildings to the train station or their favourite lunch spot. I struggle to find the right way to express being there as an outsider watching this seemingly normal routine, and how you cant help but feel that these people have an aura of importance far greater in their eyes than yours. This was probably because I dressed like a ‘ski bum’ in my tall-hood and had my long hair popping out of from under my beanie and on the odd chance someone looked away from their emails and saw me, their immediate impression was always very visible. 

But this was merely one part of London that I visited. I also spent a lot of my time up in Hackney with a friend from university. Hackney is more of a youthful and, dare I say it, hipster, part of London. Don’t take it negatively though, I really liked Hackney, but from a photographic point it didn’t pull me in as much as my previous time in Canary Wharf.

The images I collected in this series are a mix of images from both these parts of London and a few others, which I believe encapsulates what I felt and saw during my two weeks in the Britain’s capital. 

Jean-René Vauzelle studied commercial photography at RMIT, which threw his passion for taking pictures right on its head. Ever since, he's been trying to figure out where he wants to go and that mostly ends up with him on top of a snow-capped mountain.