Undercover art

Authorised graffiti area

This is an alternative London tourist attraction, which you can find in a dank, badly-lit tunnel which snakes underneath Waterloo rail station.

The Leake Street tunnel is a place where spray paint art is permitted, and has a strong association with renowned street artist Banksy.

It’s plastered in a colourful explosion of graffiti and is living, breathing street art gallery. On the afternoon I ventured down there, several people were busy creating work with spray cans. The tunnel smarts with the tang of solvents and urine – not an environment for the delicate.

For the photographer, it’s a moody, atmospheric place with both light and shadows. You can create some vibrant abstract frames with the colours and textures that bleed off the walls, while it responds well to some HDR editing. This is quite literally the city’s underbelly.

Click first image for the full gallery experience

The Photo Shop

23 thoughts on “Undercover art

  1. Three years last month (May) since I was here and as with all street art a totally different scene. Your images brought back great memories of being taken there by an Ozzie photographer friend living in London and my first camera movement shots. Thank you for posting.

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    • Lee, I’m impressed – you got there long before I did! Glad this revived some memories. I’m not sure I liked the place much, but it was full of elements to make good photographs.

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      • I wasn’t going to say this (but obviously am now) – I found the street art I saw was much more refined/classy? than those I saw in your images. I’m not decrying your images just that I felt the art was lacking something three years later.

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        • Oh sure! I’m sure it doesn’t help when the “canvas” is totally changing. I didn’t watch the guys at work but also spotted some younger kids who were just tagging. Imagine having a free-for-all exhibition space – nightmare! I think I was more interested in the vibe of the place and the light coming through from the outside world into the shadows.

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    • Thanks Richard! Yes, it’s well worth a stroll and I thought of your penchant for graffiti as I was down there! It’s a double bill today and the next one – on a comparable theme – is coming shortly.

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    • Thank you Noeline. Oh, I know what you mean. This spot is quite a tourist haunt, so there were cameras galore all down the tunnel. But you couldn’t help be caught by a little uneasiness.

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