Great British Bloggers: I Spy NW1

16 Sep

It has been a little while since I have done one of these.  Plus I am so excited about sharing that I am giving you two posts in a day!  This one is a little bit of a cheat because the blogger is actually one of my good friends.

Donald is an amazing photographer who started his own business about a year ago.  Originally from Trinidad but what I would describe as a real Londoner – a bit of a traveller with a love of London.  He takes wedding and portrait photos and travel photos (check out his latest ones of the Notting Hill Carnival).  He mostly loves taking pictures of people which inspired his newest little adventure into blogging.  I could wax lyrical [what does that actually mean?] about his amazing work but it speaks for itself so you will just have to go explore his sites.  With a nod to The Satoralist but more of a documentation of the variety of people in his neighbourhoods than strictly fashion, I Spy NW1 is a collection of portraits of people spotted in the London postcode.  The great thing about the areas is it includes a variety locations which means he gets to shoot everything from the quirky of Camden to the prim of Primrose Hill.  I love that it is more about the people then the clothes that they are wearing but you can always take inspiration from that too.  Love a bit of London street style.

What part of London would you most align with your personality and why?
This is an easy one for me. NW1. I’ve been living in this part of London for the past six years, (Camden Town, 1 year and Primrose Hill, 5) and I absolutely love it. The area, with the post code NW1, is such a mish-mash of irreverence and sobriety, opulence and funk. And the best part of it is, everyone is allowed to celebrate it in his or her own way.  Nobody gives a dam. It’s a celebration of individualism. A punk rocker with more piercings than skin could walk past a suit-clad banker returning from work. Neither would afford the other a second glance much less a judgmental look. It’s just the atmosphere of the place. Not that I’m either the punk rocker or the banker type per-say but I do have a variety of interests and moods and appreciate that in this one area, they can all be catered for. I’m a day-dreamer and like my moments of introspection and calm. For that there’s the peaceful green expanse that is Primrose Hill. If you have not been, it’s a day dreamer’s paradise. You have a 180 scope of central London and more than enough serenity to distract you from life’s demands for as long as you like.

On the other hand I love a laugh and surrounding myself with good people who are also easily amused. For that I head to Camden Town, my favourite bar, nightlife and culture scene in all of London.

Who is your favourite current British designer/artist?
OK this is a trickier one. I’ve always had an appreciation of fashion without it being a keen interest. I still remember by brother Randall’s not so subtle, “So, you’re not so big into fashion I see,” comment on my style a few years ago when visiting from Puerto Rico. The bastard 🙂 It was true though. Give me some plain coloured t-shirts, a pair of jeans and some brown shoes, and you’d have most of my wardrobe taken care of.  Being a photographer though has opened my eyes to the world of fashion, although, to this day it’s still an appreciation that’s reflected more so in my images than in my personal dress-sense 🙂 So anyway, all this is to say that a few years back my girlfriend took me to the Regents Street launch of Matthew Williamson‘s H&M line and I’ve been a fan of his work since. He combines vibrant colours and patterns with understated elegance. Really cool stuff.

A bit off the mark in terms of being a British artist but I have to mention Richard Avedon, the famous fashion and portrait photographer. The man was a bloody genius. Love his work. Fashion and portraiture, the two fields that interest me the most, were his two areas of concentration, and so his work has and continues to be a massive influence.

What adventures would you have on your perfect British day?
So first off, I’d wake up to find the glass doors to the veranda (of my dream house of course) wide open and the cool breeze wafting in the smell of the laid out french toast, fresh fruit and mimosas…like I said, day-dreamer 🙂 Is french toast allowed on my perfect British day by the way? Then, after breakfast, my girlfriend Sarah and I would be off to enjoy the summer sun on the hill for a few hours (nothing about my prefect would have anything to do with winter). After tiring of the spot but not the sun, we’d relocate to Odette’s on Regents Park Road to have some of the best food you can ever put in your mouth. Once that’s over, with my stomach full and Sarah happy, I’d take my leave and wander the streets of Primrose Hill and Camden to find the unsuspecting but usually willing subjects for my blog.

The evening would be spent with friends at Lord’s, beer in hand and an intoxication fueled smile from ear to ear, as I watch West Indies play England in a 20 20 match. I’m a cricket fanatic and proud of it 🙂


Thanks Donald!  We’ll have to go to Odette’s soon.

Source: All photos from Donalds new blog I Spy NW1


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