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Above: An independently owned CCTV camera in Central London. Credit: Henry Bond.

London Eye

One of the findings made via my process of photographing individual CCTV cameras in Central London (my "London Eye" series) was copious counter-evidence against one of the basic presumptions around CCTV: Big Brother is watching you. In making my photos what I revealed (for myself at least) was that CCTV culture in Central London is not only about the projection of state power in the format of Foucauldian disciplinary power (i.e., cowing the masses). The state's cameras are just some of them. The majority of the cameras that a wanderer through Central London encounters are independently owned--by every shop large-and-small, every food outlet, every company headquarters, banks, art galleries, and all the rest. London is a "nation of shop-keepers"; and a nation intent on putting its customers under surveillance; a nation of videoing-voyeurs. What my photos revealed was a scene of CCTV cameras that was not homogeneous in terms of physical hardware but actually amazingly diverse: hundreds of different types of CCTV cameras in every condition of (dis)repair from brand-new to patently dilapidated.

(12 January 2019)