Street photography, London 1967-69

Publishing that 1960s photo of street children in Woolloomooloo a couple of days ago, led me to look through other pictures of mine from that period. In 1966 I travelled to London looking for experience on Fleet Street. I stayed five years, returning to Australia in 1971. Here are three pictures from that time. Never without a camera, pictures 2 and 3 were shot almost from exactly the same spot, within metres of the door of the basement studio I rented in Soho. Both were made in the moment I emerged into the street, on my way home.

I wonder, was the street life richer and more varied then? In hindsight, it seems so.

Busker, Kings Road, Chelsea, 1966 © Rob Walls

Busker, Kings Road, Chelsea, 1966 © Rob Walls

Gerrard Street (edited)

Outside the offices of Tailor & Cutter magazine, Gerrard Street, Soho, London © Rob Walls 1968

Rosie (edited)

Rosie, a well known Soho street character of the 60s, Gerrard Street, Soho © Rob Walls 1969


Filed under art, Australian, documentary photography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls

11 responses to “Street photography, London 1967-69

  1. Roger Garwood

    Rob, they’re great shots. Got any more?

  2. Andrew

    I love this sort of retrospective material – here, especially, the Tailor and Cutter shot. An example of a caption genuinely adding to a picture – ramming home the irony.

    • I’ll refer you to the Sontag quote again, Andrew: “Time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art.”
      ― Susan Sontag

      • Andrew

        I don’t agree with Sontag. Her quote is unkind to art. Time eventually positions ALL photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of historical evidence. Art is another matter altogether.

      • Andrew, I interpret it more in the sense that what may purport to be art today, may well be out of fashion tomorrow and what may have been a simple observation yesterday can be elevated to a level of art, just by imposition of several coats of the varnish of passing time.

  3. Mick bell

    The two Asian appearing gentleman, almost in perfect step, would have been an uncommon site in 1968 London also


    • In step maybe, but Asians in Gerrard Street, not at all unusual. It was the heart of London’s minuscule Chinatown and home of the restaurant, Lee Ho Fook, made famous in song by Warren Zevon.

      “Saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,
      walking through the streets of Soho in the rain,
      he was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook’s,
      going to get a big dish of beef chow mein-

      Werewolves of London. Warren Zevon 1978

      Apropos of nothing in particular, a couple of memories: I once saw John Lennon coming out of Lee Ho Fook’s with Yoko Ono. My local bar, De Hems was just opposite, where one summer afternoon, I got royally pissed with Eric Burdon.

  4. Mick bell

    Stories are almost worth more than great pics

  5. Roger Garwood

    Stop this Rob. Too many memories, all pleasant. I remember Lee Ho Fook and spending about ten bob, if that, on beef chow main. They shared a kitchen and probably were the same management, as a very upmarket place around the corner. The place was a legend (as were!!)

  6. Roy Levy

    Rosie – I think he’s the guy who used to pay us regular visits when I worked in Harlequin Records in Dean Street. He had a photo of himself with The Beatles that he was very proud of. Can anyone confirm ?

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