LUTON IS HELL
Arriving in Luton on the new guided bus way on a wet and miserable day, I passed many boarded and part ruined buildings during the journey. The area around the railway station (and new bus terminus) has undergone major works in the last few years as the land has been cleared and redeveloped. The old buildings struggle to remain as many have been swept away by the new. A slow walk away from the town centre finds you heading in the direction of High town, a relatively undeveloped and in parts very run down Victorian fossil. The boundary between the shining developments of the ‘new’ town could not be more in contrast with the remnants of this old town, and a casual glance in any direction reveals pieces where the old has been chipped away to make way for the new. This slow erosion has left many tumble down wrecks waiting for the inevitable day when they too are finally cast into history. Add to this picture the dark clouds, rain, litter and mud and the beginnings of my Luton Hell set were taking shape.
In total contrast to the ‘heaven’ photographs I focussed on the dark corners, the boarded windows and raindrops hanging from a fist sized padlock. I looked into derelict buildings, the litter on the floor and the complete irony of a ‘for rent’ sign right above a dirty, smelly over stuffed wheelie bin – a des res for the less privileged perhaps?
As my journey continued the rain increased adding to that living hell feeling. The peeling paint, the broken windows, the rusty signs all facing the latest attempt to sweep away the old as workmen struggled in ankle deep mud on the building site opposite.
I plan to return to photograph this new Luton when the old really has been taken away and the new fresh faced buildings play their part to try to re invent this ancient town.