The Birth of the Shard

If you take a stroll down Farringdon Road, from Exmouth Market towards Clerkenwell Green, you will come upon a magnificent sight-line into the City of London. It is not until you reach the Betsey Trotwood and the Free Word Centre that St Paul’s Cathedral emerges on the skyline, but from further up the road, a new landmark is emerging – Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers’ Shard of Glass, currently under construction.

Since I work at the Free Word Centre, I regularly happen across this view.  I often take a quick snap with the camera on my phone. Below is an example that has been filtered through Instagr.am.

Birth of the Shard, by Yrstruly on InstagramA better attempt with an SLR and telephoto lense is on Flickr:

Birth of the Shard
Birth of the Shard by yrstrly on Flickr

I have found that the damp and foggy days when the building emerges from midst are when the Shard looks most interesting. The giant looms on the horizon, and one’s sense of scale is confused and compressed, which reminds me of the famous photograph by the Liverpudlian photographer E. Chambré Hardman, ‘The Birth of the Ark Royal’, taken in 1950.

Birth of the Ark royal
Photograph of the HMS Ark Royal, taken from the top of Holt Hill in Birkenhead, by Chambré Hardman.

See also the weathered early photographs of Tower Bridge and the Eiffel Tower under construction.  Watching The Shard rise, I have a strong sense of being embedded in history. I know that it will become a symbol of London, like Gherkin and Millenium Wheel, or the pointy Transamerica Pyramid in San Fransisco.  Watching it grow makes me feel like I am sat inside an iconic, historical image.