Tag Archives: map

Tube Map Photograms

Last week I spent a few hours in a darkroom experimenting with photograms. As the title suggests, the idea was to create a representation of the London Underground, and ultimately to show growth of the network.

On this occasion I used plasticine to show the map on the photographic paper. This was the attempt – the extent of the map is the Circle line to the north, south and west, and Bank station to the east.

London Underground Photogram

With the second photogram, to show growth of the network I exposed the scene for a short time after adding each of the lines. (This only shows basic growth, with each line being added to the image in the order that they opened.)

London Underground Photogram with growth

Both images suffered from the fact that plasticine is very sticky and finger prints ended up all of the photo paper. This could be partially reduced by placing clear perspex or similar between the plasticine and paper. The strength of plasticine also meant that the lines ended up being different widths.

For the second image the exposure times for each stage were 0.5 seconds, I think this could have been reduced so there wasn’t such a big jump in colour levels between the stages.

I’m not sure that plasticine is the right material for creating these, but am yet to come up with a better solution – something that’s just as pliable, but more solid. I will be going back to create more photograms, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions then please do say.

The UCL Hand-drawn Map of London

This is about two months late, but better late than never surely.

At the end of November I spent a week hanging around various places on the UCL campus with Alistair Leak (@Alistair_Leak / cartopedia.co.uk), and by the end of that week we had a collaborative hand-drawn map of London.

We started with a canvas that we had traced the outline of Greater London, the Thames, the Lee and a few of the larger parks on, to give people something to relate to. We then spent about 15 hours over the course of the week inviting passers-by to add something to the map. This could be anything we said – something famous, their favourite place, where they live, anything. The map ended up with all those things and more, including many pointers towards other countries where international students and tourists had come from.

A very nicely drawn South Korea, just outside Romford
South Korea

Cologne, Munich, Poland, Austria
Munich, Cologne, Poland , Austria

One of the things I really enjoyed about was seeing where people placed things. There were those who were very confident, and got things very wrong, and then those who spent so long thinking about it just to make sure they got it right. And then what happens when one person gets something wrong? In the case of Hackney Empire people then, understandably, added things in relation to that. And a new Hackney appeared, about 5 miles away from the old one. (You can see the, traced, River Lee just to the west of it.)


In the case of UCL we ended up with two of them.


I also learnt things I didn’t know about London, like Lewisham being known as the blue borough. It’s because all the bins are blue.


You can have a look round the whole of the map at Cartopedia

We’d love to do another version of the map and have been given many suggestions including at the main train stations of London or in other cities. Both are ideas we’ve thought about doing, if anyone else is interested in this please do get in touch.

Some more about the map:
From Alistair
Mapping London
Directions Mag
CASA’s GlobalLab Podcast