A quasi tech enthusiast and keen amateur photographer, it was the opportunity to get my hands on the Microsoft Lumia 930 (how I’d hoped it was the 950 that would materialise, but alas, this was not to be) that elicited my acceptance of this curious invite; an invitation to explore Street Art in London’s supremely trendy Shoreditch. Somber clouds furnished the evening summer sky, mocking some two dozen bloggers as we convened at Shoreditch High Street station. The objective of the evening was to explore and observe the area’s celebrated (and some inglorious) street art, expressly through the lens of the Lumia 930. With street art expert and dabbler Karim Samuels of Street Art London leading the walk and photography expert Phil Hibberd assisting and advising on the best photography practices, we were in knowledgable and engaging company.
Unsurprisingly, the trembling clouds cast waves of raindrops just as the walk commenced and being a creature of comfort, the thought ‘perhaps I should take myself to somewhere warm, where there’s coffee and cake,’ entered my stoic mind, to be reverted only by the determination to achieve new knowledge and of course, the fear of missing out [FOMO]. So trailing behind an impassioned Karim who patiently paused at periodic intervals whilst his transient flock stopped to take selfies and puppy pics, we ventured on a consuming education of Shoreditch’s street art and artists.
Street Art, I was to learn, is not to be confused with or mistaken for graffiti. Where graffiti (tags created using spray paint) seeks to simply vandalise property or publicise the author, street art (a complex variety of stencilled and painted imagery on walls, curious stickers on lamp-posts or witty edits to streets signs) seeks to provoke and inspire an emotional response and often, though not always, delivers a philosophical or political message.
Shoreditch would be bereft without its legions of street artists, whose works are quite literally embedded in the bricks and mortar of the area. Much of the street art is created by international artists, looking for exposure or desiring an iconic home for their works and sharing in the company of esteemed street art by the likes of Banksy, Ben Eine and Borondo. Namely, the exceptional Fio Silva from Argentina, Zabou from France and French/Arab artist eL Seed, amongst others.
I’m so used to being in a rush, walking swiftly to my destination, looking down or intently ahead but never up or around, so, post #LumiaStreetArt walk, it’s been a delight to find myself, for the first time in a long time, actually recognising and appreciating the plethora of street art that clothes the city’s walls. I may even make a focused study of it, should my interest hold.
I’ve always liked the aesthetic of the Windows Phone interface and suggesting it would be cool to experience it on iOS, I was advised to “keep using it, and see if that impression fades or strengthens,” by fellow journalist and friend, Vlad Savov (Senior Editor at The Verge). A week’s use would have likely produced a truly considered and detailed review and a sound impression, but as my loan was for the duration of the street art walk only, I can only say of the Lumia 930, that is has a decent camera with a lovely display; a 5inch screen with a 1080p resolution. It’s a tad slow at capturing images, but can take some beautiful pictures with its 20 megapixel camera and f/2.4 lens. Even so, it doesn’t quite compare to the camera on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, so for an iPhone user (albeit an iPhone 5 user), it’s slightly underwhelming. I hear great things though, about the Microsoft Lumia 950, so look forward to getting my mitts on that
All photography by Akeela Bhattay