The woman who took the same view from her kitchen window for a year

Self-portrait on Highgate Road. Photo: Mish Aminoff
So who are you?
I’m a photographer and painter with a passion for visual culture. I lectured at the Open University and spent many years teaching art history and film studies in adult education, but now focus on my own creative work and visual culture journals.

14th December 2016: ‘The most intensely colourful sunrise.’ Photos: Mish Aminoff

When did you move to your flat-with-a-view?
I’ve always been a north Londoner and did my A levels at Camden School for Girls. I lived in the Highgate area for over 20 years before moving to Dartmouth Park more recently.

15th October 2016: ‘I was struck by the combination of the ruby red leaves and the graffiti; I love that combination of nature and urban imagery. The autumn colours are really vibrant, whereas the skyline is neutral and misty with the exception of the dominant chimney just off centre.’

Why take the same photo over and over again?
The photographs in the Changing Views project were taken consistently over a year but at irregular intervals. It’s a passion-driven project in that I would reach for the camera to try and capture a fleeting moment.

30th January 2017: ‘I look out and discover a sudden snow flurry so I open the window to take the picture. Swirls of white surround me and the camera, a layer obscuring the modern high rises and construction. It’s reminiscent of a 19th or early 20th century northern industrial landscape; a Lowry painting, even.’

Tell us about the first photo you took.
It was 15th October 2016, noon, and there was a particular light that made the autumn leaves really stand out. I loved seeing that combination of urban nature with the graffiti on the bridge.

20th March 2017: ‘I love the way the early Spring light is defining the architecture and skyline. It all looks very 3D and the white facades on the right are dazzling. The overground train is also bright and colourful, like a geometric Mondrian painting.’

And after that?
The images were taken at different times, but each occasion had some kind of inspiring trigger like an amazing cloud, eerie light, or sudden snow flurry that I felt I had to record. The images are all taken with the same camera and lens, and most of them include the bridge with the graffiti, which I find inspiring.

The view at sunset and at night can sometimes look like something out of a science fiction film, lots of red glowing light. I find it such an exciting view; I feel immersed in the city and never tire of it.

14th July 2017: ‘A hot summer’s evening, all colourful geometry and cubes in as well the profusion of text; the orange, yellow and red containers and the word HOPE. I’m reminded of playing Brio railways with my kids when they were young.’

Did the view change over the course of the year?
As the project progressed so did electrification work on the Gospel Oak to Barking overground; more men and machinery appear in the images as well as the overhead cables above the tracks.

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5 more things Mish likes to photograph

‘Still life at my favourite local.’ Photo: Mish Aminoff

1) I enjoy finding beauty in the everyday – for example stepping out of Kentish Town station you often see incredible skies and light over the very industrial Regis Road.

2) I’m also interested in photographing different signs; you get some great handwritten ones in Kentish Town Underground Station. One of my favourites is their warning sign about windy escalators and platforms.

An angel at Highgate Cemetery. Photo: Mish Aminoff

3) I love Highgate Road and all the carpet shops. My late grandparents were originally from Persia and I was brought up surrounded by Persian rugs. I have been working on project entitled Persian Kentish Town; it’s a fusion of documentary, surreal and poetic street photography.

4) I’m currently photographing lots of angels in Highgate Cemetery.

5) I enjoy sneaking the odd fashion shot or still life at my favourite local pubs, the Southampton Arms and The Bull and Last.

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See the full year-long Changing Views project and more of Mish’s work here.
  • Group editor and publisher of London Belongs To Me, a family of cultural guides to London neighbourhoods

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