Val's In. Are You?

09 May 2014

Region: London

“I live in Caterham, Surrey but spend a lot of time in London at galleries, theatres and museums - and taking photos  of course. I'm an avid fan of street art which combines very well with taking pictures. I've been taking photos since I was about 10 and hope to take better ones any day now. A day without a photo seems a day wasted to me and the mobile phone + camera is my favourite invention. Now I've retired I'm determined to really concentrate on quality rather than quantity (and get to grips with Lightbox).

Joining the RPS was the best thing I've done - it's already helping me improve I think and also to understand what sort of photography I want to concentrate on (probably street photography thanks to the DVJ group).


I loved the idea of Bleeding London as soon as I heard about it, as I spend a lot of time just walking in the city and now my walking has a purpose. I also liked it because some time ago I read a fascinating biography of Phyllis Pearsall, the lady who probably devised the idea of the London A-Z, and who also claimed to have walked every street. She took her completed drafts to WH Smith to publish, and the building she went to is now the LSE Library, where I worked for 13 years (pictured below). I used to sit in meetings in what was the old WHS Boardroom (now refurbished), described in the book as the place where Phyllis discussed her book in detail with the directors. So I feel as if I'm following in her footsteps and contributing to an original new project as well.


I have become obsessed with documenting the small streets and alleyways as well as the more famous thoroughfares. I also do like to try to include the street name in the photo.”

Images:  (Top) Selfie; (Bottom) Portugal Street, WC2 © Val Straw

See more from Val on Flickr