Magic Gallery

The Royal Photographic Society is running a collaborative series of exhibitions that will showcase the work of students and emerging artists alongside that of the Honorary Fellows of the Society.


Himmelstrasse by Brian Griffin Hon FRPS and Sebastian Bruno

The current exhibition brings together Brian Griffin's haunting images of the railway lines to the death camps with Graeme Weston's "Mostly Left Turns"

Himmelstrasse runs until the 30th September and  "Mostly Left Turns" will run from 8th until 17th September 2016: 

Opening times

  • Thursday 16:00 to 20:00

  • Friday 11:00 to 17:00

  • Saturday 11:00 to 17:00

Other times by appointment.  Please email


Image © Jonathan Taylor

Magic Gallery, Charing Cross Underground Arcade (Map Below)

The Strand
United Kingdom

The best way to access the gallery is to take the entrance on the Strand between Starbucks and Paperchase.  Go down the stairs to the arcade and follow the signs to Davenports Magic Shop.


Brian Griffin Hon FRPS - Artist Statement

As my train journeyed from Warsaw to Lodz in 2014 I drifted away into creative dreamland. This landscape that passed me by outside my carriage window was new to me so was fascinating. This railway had features that were so different from the railways in the UK from the ladies in charge of the level crossings, the sidings and parked locomotives to the rail tracks going away into the forests. I had never seen rail tracks making there way through the trees quite like this before, it was if someone had said “Put it through there!” and just built it without any thought apart from connecting A to B. I fell in love with this railway aesthetic, which in turn through spending time led me to fall in love with Poland and its people.

My work at times had recently been inspired through accepting my own mortality, especially after reaching sixty years old. I saw these railway tracks being a pathway to Heaven my “Heaven Street”; I decided this would be the project working title. I would stand between the rails and photograph them at head height going away into the distance, travelling to infinity. A road to heaven. Little did I realise at the time the later significance of this title

Returning to London I was determined to return and photograph the railway lines that thread themselves through the forests of Poland. A pure landscape project with no hidden meaning until I met a close friend of mine Anne Braybon who pointed out to me “Oh the railway lines that ferried the prisoners to the Death Camps”. This had never occurred to me, I was excited, now I really had a worthwhile and powerful project.

Using Google Maps and Streetview I explored all the railway lines in Eastern Poland, especially those that would lead to the camps. I then spent the majority of the 2015 Polish winter driving to the locations and walking what seems like tens of kilometres mostly alone up isolated railway tracks.

I was shocked when visiting Treblinka and in the museum peering down into a model of the camp. Adam Kozlowski who understood German, who was my companion, looked at me and pointed to the sign “Himmelstrasse” above the model pathway leading to the gas chambers. He informed me that when translated into English means “Heaven Street“.


Duelos y Quebrantos (Grief and Losses) : Artist Sebastian Bruno

The fifth show in our series of emerging talent to exhibit alongside Honorary Fellow Brian Griffin’s Himmelstrasse will be Sebastian Bruno's "Duelos y Quebrantos" from 20th to 30th September

Wherein is told what Sebastian Bruno saw when he visited Castilla La Mancha.

Duelos y Quebrantos is the name of a traditional dish from Castilla la Mancha, made of bacon, chorizo, lamb brains and eggs. Historically it was fed to those who had recently converted to Christianity. The meal symbolized a break from their former religion. Miguel de Cervantes refers to this dish at the beginning of Don Quixote.

Considering the complexity that prevails in human relationships, and the many factors that converge to generate a vision of the social and moral universe of this Spanish region, I seek to inquire into values and traditions that reflect the virtues and vices that are to be found in the monotonous reality of the people of this territory.

Castilla La Mancha is the central region of Spain. It is historically stagnated, the soil is dry and eighty percent of its surface is flat. It is inhabited by an aged society conditioned and determined by the persistency of values and traditions that transcend the passage of time, coexisting within the alterations on its immeasurably arid and flat landscape, surviving in the dualities and contradictions of everyday life.

The project is determined by the extent of Don Quixote’s route in Castilla La Mancha. The trail is 2500 km long and covers the five provinces of the region. In order to create a timeless parallelism between Cervantes’ description of life in this area and its contemporary reality, and to see, interpret and assimilate this place I positioned myself as Don Quixote. The result is an interpretation of an often misunderstood and ignored land, a personal journey that delves into the lives of the inhabitants of Castilla La Mancha.



Mostly Left Turns:  Graeme Weston

The fourth show in our series of emerging talent to exhibit alongside Honorary Fellow Brian Griffin’s Himmelstrasse will be Graeme Weston's Mostly Left Turns, which will run from from 7th to 17th September

About Graeme Weston

Graeme Weston is a photojournalist living in London, working with film and photographs to tell local stories.

In 2015 Graeme won the Lens Culture “Visual Storytelling Award” for his project “Mostly Left Turns” documenting the locations and circumstances of the eight cyclists killed in London in that year, and the Financial Times “London and the World Photo-essay Competition” for his study entitled “The Hill” on the vestiges of Clerkenwell's once 12,000-strong Italian community.

Graeme holds an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication, University of Arts, London. His work has been featured in international publications and media including the Sunday Times, Financial Times, Independent on Sunday, London Evening Standard, Metro, TimeOut London, BBC Online, and exhibited in the UK and US.

He has just completed a residency at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) in central London documenting staff at work.  His work can be seen at an exhibition entitled "Our Working Lives" at the The Street Gallery, University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BU.

Artist Statement

“Mostly Left Turns” is a project visually documenting the locations of all cycling fatalities in London during 2015. It consists of a series of photographs depicting the last movements of the eight cyclists killed that year. The title reflects the fact that all but one of these deaths were caused by left-turning lorries. The one exception being the death of Clifton James in Harrow who was killed by a car. Of the seven cyclist killed by lorries it’s notable that six of these were women.

The eight fatal accidents presented are in chronological order. Each photograph is taken at the site of the accident, and a light trail depicts the last moments of the journey of the cyclist. Where the light trail ends is the spot the cyclist was struck, and more often than not, killed instantly.

The light trails were created by a cyclist riding towards the camera set to a long exposure, their bike fitted with a very bright, but commonly available, bike-light. It seemed important somehow that a bicycle be used as an integral part of the making of these images. In every instance myself and a friend, Tim May, rode to the scenes at dawn in order to take the photographs without any traffic present.

Year on year more cyclists are taking to the Capital's streets making over 23 million journeys by bike each year.  And the rise is expected to continue.  There have been five cyclists killed in London so far this year.

“Mostly Left Turns” won the Lens Culture 2015 Visual Storytelling Award.

For more detals and images about Graeme's Exhibition, see here.

The animals were beautiful: Carla Borel

The third show in our series of emerging talent to exhibit alongside Honorary Fellow Brian Griffin’s Himmelstrasse was Carla Borel's "The Animals Were Beautiful". from Thursday 25th to Saturday 3rd September, during normal opening hours of The Magic Gallery (see above)
The animals were beautiful is a series of haunting and ethereal portraits of strangers travelling on the London Underground. Using figurative gesture and reflection, as well as elements of the train itself, The animals were beautiful depicts the people, textures, poetry and abstractions of subterranean London life

.The series began in response to a sense of loss and aloneness I felt at being out of work for the first time in 20 years and the isolation of not being surrounded by colleagues and daily work life. Taking the tube here, there and everywhere all over London, meeting with friends, going to the cinema, and so on, gave me the pleasant illusion that I had a routine once again. Instead of reading a book, I would use my iPhone to record the moments of poetry I came across on these journeys. What started as a way to pass the time, soon became a compulsion. And the strange sense of loneliness that comes from being surrounded by a group of strangers actually made me feel less lonely.

The layers of life that came through to my phone screen were exciting and curious. Not only was I fascinated and delighted by the people I was capturing – a peaceful solitary woman looking at her phone; two lovers engrossed in each other; a child hugging his grandmother – but also intrigued that posters on the platforms were adding topical or twinning elements; or that the doors and barriers of the tube itself created abstract shapes in my compositions. The photos are almost all of reflections, and so the people were not really aware that I was photographing them, and as I was using an iPhone, I believe they thought I was taking photos of myself.

I had been wanting to leave London for a more distant and far-away place to discover but in the end everything was already here. While researching the other very famous photographers who had previously photographed the underground life, I came across a video of Bruce Davidson discussing his Subway project and how he was searching for something to do after a loss, and ended up shooting in New York on his doorstep - he "didn’t need to go to the Serengeti plains, the animals were right here and they were beautiful

Kym Cox - Grace Series

The second show in our series of emerging talent to exhibit alongside Honorary Fellow Brian Griffin’s Himmelstrasse is Kym Cox’s ‘Grace’ series. 

The 'Grace' series is rooted to traditional art symbolism which associates soap bubbles with the uncertainty of life expectancy and the unexpected loss of something cherished. The narrative emphasises an awareness of the present because the future is uncertain and unpredictable, in essence who knows when the bubble is going to burst?

'Grace' represents memories of the past through a series of chronological episodes: Conception, Infancy, Childhood, Teenage, Young Adult, Family, Retirement, Old Age and Death. The bubbles in this series have not burst, each slowly deflated to leave a membrane skeleton. Foregone events, experiences and people influence and transform the journey to the present. Memories are like Grace bubbles, trace elements of an existence in time and place; a reminder of what went on before which ultimately defines who we are and what we have become.

The random order of presentation for each photograph is deliberate; to emphasise a particular stage in one's life and not as a chronological timeline. Memory recall is always random and according to the moment.

'Grace' is the final body of work from Kym’s BA (Hons) Photography degree, (graduated 2014, First Class), Arts University Bournemouth. - 

See more at: 

Kym has also created a video for the show, the result of a two year ArtScience collaboration with Professor Stefan Hutzler, Leader of the Foams & Complex Systems Group, School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin.


Sam Peach - Efflorescence (shown with Himmelstrasse)

Efflorescence is a series of diptych portraits featuring young
unknown male models paired with cut flowers. The series was made
in response to hedonistic, care-free depictions of youth often
constructed by photographers for fashion and style magazines.
The young men, modern day Adonises, are juxtaposed with flowers
- symbols of ephemeral beauty that intimate a fragility rarely
associated with male youth. Although others have explored links
between men and flowers these images are usually sexual in nature
and depict youth as a period of vitality, extroversion and celebration.
In these diptychs the two photographs align in subtler and more
tenuous ways: a model’s armpit hair, the curve of a lip or the arc of
his back are reflected in the flower. There is a melancholia which
reflects on what will fade rather than what will reproduce.
In creating these images the models were asked to retain fixed
positions for extended periods of time with very few captures taken
during the shoot - a counter-process to the fast moving and
energetic photography common in the fashion world. Placed under
physical and psychological tension, their insecurities are
foregrounded. The images might catch the teenagers during their
moment of blossom, but their bodies are drained of vitality,
commenting on the transience of beauty within the fashion industry.


Precious:  Jane Hilton Hon FRPS

Precious is Jane Hilton’s nude photographic study of Nevada working girls. Jane first encountered Madam Kitty’s Cathouse in 1998 and in 2000 she was commissioned by the BBC to make ten documentary films in this brothel and the Moonlite Bunnyranch, both situated in Nevada, USA.

In 2010 Jane decided to return with her plate camera for her latest book, ‘Precious’, a collection of intimate nude portraits of working girls. Prostitution is one of the oldest professions and although legal in Nevada, is not socially acceptable. In these portraits the viewer has an opportunity to leave behind any preconceptions. The women are from different cultural backgrounds, ages and body shapes which also challenge the traditional idea of beauty.

By choosing to photograph the girls with a plate camera that took hours of patience, it became a bonding experience. As issues about their own body shape became apparent, so did their feelings about their journey as a working girl.

Jane's website is


Post Vitam:  Einar Sira

“I already knew he was dead because there was a dead bird on the front porch this morning. These were the words of my mother after being informed that her brother had passed away.”

Despite working in isolation, artist Einar Sira is well known in his local area as a collector of dead things. Sira works mainly using natural light, his garden pond serves as his studio, sitting for hours at a time waiting for the right mood and atmospheric texture.

His work connects him to the passing of time and his humanity and vulnerability. Water is a metaphor for the river of time that runs through the underworld, but also for the beauty, truth and finality of life.

“One day I found a dead bird in my garden. When I touched it, it still felt warm in my hands. At the time I was battling depression so subconsciously I was drawn to images of death. I placed the bird in my small garden pond and began to photograph it. The resulting images affected me profoundly; speaking to me of mythology, of death and serving as a reminder that many birds were important storytellers in Norwegian mythology.”

Einar Sira lives and works in Sandnes a seaside town on the west coast of Norway.  His website is


Possessive and Possessed:  Rakesh Mohindra

The dynamics of possession are explored via the enigma of covered objects through the photography of Rakesh Mohindra. By covering an item, we remove the signifier for the object and thus the associated signified meaning. The specificity of the object is lost and the relationship with it is all that is left. This evokes a presence of something that is withheld from view, yet present nonetheless, in these beautifully finished and presented works. Photography itself can be thought of as a form of possession. The work asks the viewer to consider what is really precious. By blocking the gaze is something else revealed?

Rakesh is a visual artist who was born and brought up in London. He holds an MA in Photographic Studies from the University of Westminster. His work has been exhibited in group shows in London and the South East, including the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery.


A series of exhibitions spotlighting the homeless from:

Café Art

David Tovey

Nigel Tooby FRPS