Thursday, January 9, 2014

5 days until I leave for London!!

Today, I've got quite the treat for you all! An exclusive q+a with Jack Megaw, London-born, Philadelphia-based photographer who works across the globe! I know him through my sister and brother-in-law and thought that he might have some useful insight and tips for me and anyone else traveling to London! 

 1. Introduce yourself and tell us your relationship with London. 
My name is Jack Megaw. I grew up in London before moving to Philadelphia with my family just before starting high school. I stayed in Philadelphia for art school before moving onto Point Park University in Pittsburgh to study photojournalism. Since graduating I have been between London, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with a short stint in Dubai. Last year I lived in London for six months photographing London during the Olympics and then photographing Premier League soccer for the several months.

2. What is your favourite area in London and why?
I love London because there are so many amazing areas of the city. I grew up in Pimlico which is right in the centre of London. As far as my favourite areas of London go I really like Chelsea. Kings Road. There are lots of great shops and cafes to go even if it can be a little expensive. 
I love going to the parks. It's strange that in such a big city there can be this oasis of green between St. James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park all in a row. Hyde Park is my favourite. It reminds me of Central Park in New York. 

The variety of places in London is one of the things that make it so special.

3. What are your top tips for a twenty-something in London?

Well my first tip would be get a bike. I like travelling on buses and I like travelling on the tube but my favourite way to get around London is by bike. The last time I was in London I brought my bike over from the States - a beautiful red single speed and it was perfect. It's amazing how distances shrink in London as soon as you get on a bike. There are also the Boris Bikes which you can hire out - but they are quite slow and heavy! (just remember which side of the road to ride on!)
Another tip would be to go exploring! Go and discover different areas. Keep an eye out for events coming up in the city. A great thing about London is as one of the major cities of the world absolutely everything comes to London. Sporting events, concerts, art exhibitions so keep an eye out for those!
A top tip of mine is to get to a football match. I would recommend Chelsea because that is my team and they are one of the best teams in the world today. Chelsea tickets can be expensive but there are smaller clubs like Fulham which are much easier to get low priced tickets for. Even take in a cricket match at Lords or the Oval where the game has been played for 200 years.

4. Describe your best photography experience in London.
Without doubt my best photography experience in London was the 2012 Olympics. Amazing pictures were everywhere. You must understand that normally in in any city really when people are on the underground/subway they just stare blankly at their newspapers and make every effort to ignore the people around them. During the Olympics it was completely different with complete strangers chatting to each other about the games. That summed up the whole event. Never in my life have I seen London so united like it was for those three weeks. I miss that actually. Hopefully I will get to experience that again in my lifetime.

5. Everyone who goes to London has photos of the iconic stuff (Big Ben, The London Eye), but do you have any suggestions to take photographs in London off the beaten path?
Obviously there are the famous tourist sights. Let's face it how many times can you take pictures of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben like the millions of other people that go to London every year before it gets a bit boring! I like the London Eye because you can look all around London and see the sights. A great place to take pictures is from Primrose Hill in Regents Park. From there you can see a great view of London. Richmond Park too for the same reason. The truth is that in London there are great pictures to be had pretty much anywhere! London is a very Instagram friendly city.

In conclusion London is a great city to visit and a great city to live in. It's a city which you can completely immerse yourself in and at 27 years old I still cannot get enough of it. I crave trips back to London and the things I miss range from proper fish and chips from a chip shop, to chocolate, to cycling around the city on a crisp spring day, to people watching in cafes and even...the rain. It doesn't rain THAT much in London. Don't believe all that people tell you! London is an amazing city to fall in love with and it's absolutely worth the trip. You won't want to leave.

To check out some more of Jack's amazing photography visit his site:

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