On day one, we travelled to the Olympic Park on the DLR, which was a fascinating trip. I got off to take some photographs and everyone else was left on the train, and they went without me, and I thought, Oh Dear, but the train was so quick it came back. A strong impression I got that day was the navigating and negotiating around the tremendous road works that was going on that day. The chaos was just tremendous. We met and had lunch inside what was described as a park, which was disappointing, as it was just green grass with a few benches and I thought to myself, is this it? Is this the best they can present to us in the Olympic area? From there, we went to Anchor House to meet their clients who had agreed to give us an interview regarding the participation (or lack of participation) in the Olympics. I was struck by the neatness, the tidiness, the organisation and the hominess of Anchor House. Out of all the homeless hostels I’ve had the opportunity to visit, this one struck me as one of the most welcoming, which relaxed me because I was a bit in trepidation about our first venture into this project.
Shiraz had said to us to learn all aspects of this project, so we’d all be able to take part in the various aspects of filming. My role that day was on the sound. I was amazed and overwhelmed by what I was hearing through the ear pieces. I could hear everyone’s breath, paper rustling, little idiosyncrasies from the people that we interviewed that day the microphone picked up. I just took away a general impression of positiveness regarding the Olympics, much to my surprise.
The ODA’s projects for delivering jobs around the 2012 Games.
The fragmented Occupy Camp in Haggerston Park, Hackney. The homeless clean up operations explained around the sailing events at Weymouth/Portland and other UK locations, from a local resident's experiences.
We were on our way to the Occupy site in Haggerston and as usual, I became distracted. I met one of the wardens who was to introduce us to the camp and its people. He wore an old Marine green beret, with the prominent badge of the globe of the world and he had piercing blue eyes. His face struck me as one that has successfully navigated all of life’s storms. He told me about his recent loss of his lad during the Afghanistan War. A very nice man. Consequently, I was late and lagged behind the rest of the group who were doing the interview. We then saw the Occupy tent and we negotiated with those people milling around to seek interviews.
I realized for the first time I was actually meeting people I had been watching on the news when they were camped at St. Paul’s and other venues around London. They had moved to this site. I was impressed by how articulate they all were and how freely and easily they shared their stories and opinions about the Olympics.
Newham Council's proposal to move families to Stoke.
In April 2012 it was reported that Newham council had written to Brighter Futures Housing Association asking them to house 500 families for whom they could not find accommodation in Newham due to the cap on Local Housing Allowance combined with an increase in private rents which they attribute in part to the Olympics. Newham Mayor said they had been forced into this situation by government policies on benefits.
At a Hamstead location, a former Psychotherapist explains how the streets of Hackney have altered for incoming Olympic Tourists. It appears that the influences and changes around social policy on rehabilitation, homelessness and drugs services have fluctuated over the recent years.
The charity, Elizabeth Finn Care, and LSE are conducting research over the next five years into how the Olympics has impacted on the host borough of Newham. In their first publication, they have found that Newham is comparatively worse off to when London won the bid, seven years ago.
Madjop, the Sudanese chef, was really interesting. I was on the camera again that day and because of the confined nature of the kitchen where we were filming, it was just a matter of setting the camera up and switching it on and off. He was very lucid and described his time that he played in the World Cup for Sudan. I was intrigued. I am avid football fan. Here was a man that I quite probably watched on my little screen so many years ago play football for his country. And here we both are today, in the same building, in his little kitchen, talking about his ambassadorial role in the Olympics. Where will you, the viewer, be in twenty years time? And who will you be being interviewed by? Life has its twists and its turns.
London's 'Capital clean-up' by Sarah Boyles
The pre-Olympic 'clean up' is well underway in London, with homeless people, sex-workers and other marginal groups being managed.
It was the second or third day of our London summer. All the citizens of this city had once more cast of the apparel of winter yet again. We met up at Providence Row and took two bus journeys to meet Mike. We walked across the green meadow to amble along the canal side pathway to meet Mike. Not on his barge as I had thought but outside the Anchor & Hope Pub. A lovely place to sit and have a lunch, especially today, with sunshine, a light breeze and the open spaces. The still water, the assorted people and barges passing by. It was very calming on this glorious summer day.
It was my turn on the camera. I had to pull back a bit on the screen image of Mike’s face, as he was very animated as he described his present situation and what had been happening to him over the last few weeks. We then took a few cutaway images up and down the canal, the trains passing over the bridge and the very interesting characters walking along the canal bank opposite Spring field park, enjoy, I did.
Scouse Teddy got in on the act with a still image of himself, the bear with a miniature Olympic torch. A freebie cut-out from a newspaper lying on one of the tables.
The Clays Lane Estate was a housing estate in Stratford, an experiment in building close-knit communities as a way of helping vulnerable single people.
The Clays Lane Estate was a housing estate in Stratford, East London, and the UK’s largest (and Europe's second largest) purpose built housing cooperative. It was an experiment in building close-knit communities as a way of helping vulnerable single people. It became the subject of significant controversy when it was demolished to make way for the site of the London 2012 Olympic games.
Displaced by London's Olympics -The Clays Lane housing estate in east London used to be home to up to 450 tenants
The Clays Lane housing estate in east London used to be home to up to 450 tenants – until it was compulsorily purchased in the summer of 2007 to make way for the site of the 2012 Olympics. Julian Cheyne, a tenant on the estate since 1991, was vociferously opposed to his eviction. He now lives in temporary accommodation and says that he and his ex-neighbours are struggling to make ends meet.
Why London's houseboats are struggling
During the Olympics, all eyes will be on competitive yachts and canoes, but tucked away on London's waterways are hundreds of houseboats that – although an integral part of the city's community – are embroiled in a protracted battle with the authorities.
'Moon and Rings and Olympics Tower Bridge' by Bubbly Choudhury
So what's all the hype about the Olympics, and wow... London looks beautiful
By Danielle Aumord
'Stratford gate' by Conleth Moran
'Sunset before opening ceremony' by Gergo Brummel
'Close your eyes and think and think of England' by Gergo Brummel
'Ted's big adventure' by Tom Hair
'Wild flowers' by Conleth Moran
'Icecream' by Conleth Moran
'Olympic stadium' by Tom Hair
'Peace man' by Conleth Moran
'A leap for freedom' by Tom Hair
'Olympic radio' by Gergo Brummel
'Clouds' by Bubbly Choudhury
The rain clouds prior to the Olympics
The London Olympics and Paralympics presented a range of photographic opportunities and viewpoints to explore. From changes in the environment cosmetically such as advertising, lighting, signs and symbols, to the way people behaved and interacted in public spaces.
An unprecedented amount of events were taking place all over London, many of which were available free of charge to the general public. They included sporting events, art and culture exhibitions, street and theatre performances. Generally these activities conjured an atmosphere of good humour and togetherness, often referred to as the 'feel good factor' or 'people power'.
I regularly journeyed from East London to the South Bank to photograph the people and attractions there. Using public transport from my home to Tower Bridge and then by foot across the Thames, I would travel up the riverbank through Southwark to Lambeth and the Westminster Bridge. Between both crossing points there was much to see and enjoy by way of public shows and entertainment. I also photographed activities taking place in other popular locations across London such as Canary Wharf, Greenwich, Hyde Park, Kensington, and Soho.
Due to the large scale of these events I sensed a change in the mood of people on the streets. I wondered if anything significant would come of this change, in terms of something lasting, productive and beneficial. Perhaps a tipping point. Because of the immense organisational obstacles I felt people must have learned much about the nature of cooperation and that this would be to the common good. It was clear that the Games and any direct legacy would prove historically enlightening to later generations.