What's the Story? Morning Glory20 years later the place where that Oasis photo was shot is still there
I’ll start this Oasis story with the iconic album that made me, a 14 years old Brazilian girl, fall in love completely with a band from UK. “What’s the Story? Morning Glory” is not my favorite album but it is on the top 3.
If you want to know more about the landmarks for Oasis fans in Manchester, check out this post I did: A Guide to Manchester Bands and Music History
Searching for the oasis in the middle of a desert called Soho
It was a cold and raining morning in London. I had arrived the day before after a few hours inside a train from Manchester. Little did I know that the hotel that I was staying, W hotel in the very heart of London, was just a few blocks away from a street that I spent hours and hours looking to through a photo. That street was Berwick Street in Soho and that photo was the cover photo of “What’s the Story? Morning Glory”.
I did a little digging, did a little search. Downloaded the hi-def cover on my phone and left the room in search of this place. After walking and stopping, looking around and turning, trying to fit the photo into real life, I gave up. I gave up trying to find it alone, I had to ask.
If you ever did a search like this, you know you gotta focus on 1 or 2 elements and from there you start, you know? The album is from 1995 or 1996, so the photo is at least 20 years in the past. London changed so much, right? Could I be searching for that view in vain?
I entered a cafe and got online to see if the name of the street was right. It was. I was confused because I could not find the right angle but I was on the right corner.
I decided to ask a random woman on the street if she knows where the green dome-thingy in that street was because I could not find. She was like “well, isn’t that small thing there, honey?”
And it was!
I don’t know why but I thought that the building was higher, taller, bigger… But eh, I found it!
“What’s the Story? Morning Glory” indeed!
The story is: I found the spot! That April morning was indeed full of glory.
Now all I have to do is figure it out how to take same photo – or at least what was left of “the same” after 20 years right?
The street had changed a lot. The design where the cars go is different, the colors of the buildings are also different and all the shops changed.
But I was there! Standing in the same damn place!
Here’s the 2 images side by side.
Another thing I gotta say is, the photo was taken really early in the morning. Around 5am. There are almost no people on the cover shot.
I lit the lamps on Photoshop to make similar to the “What’s the Story? Morning Glory” cover picture, ok? And as a professional photographer, I can assure you that this cover photo is deceiving. I bet it was way darker in real life.
To get this sense of movement, this blur and the lamps lit and the sky that white, you need a tripod. A tripod and a slow shutter. I recommend a lot the tripod I use because it is light and easy to transport, fits your cabin size luggage, the weight is around 1kg and you can read all about it in this post The Photo Gear List for Travel Photographers.
So if you’re inspired by this post and want to get a photo there, besides the exact location, I’ll help you with camera settings and time frame. You can thank me later.
And speaking of exact location, you gotta be in the corner of Berwick and D’Arblay. The street behind you should be Noel Street (heh) and you should be facing the Berwick Street Market.
Where is Berwick Street?
When to go to Berwick Street?
Think of AM time if you want to avoid a lot of pedestrians. And those street lights usually go on when gets dark, they are light sensitive.
Because of that I assume that this photo was really early in the morning.
The right spot for the right angle is in the middle of the street. So if you get there around 4 or 5 am in the spring/summer, you’ll most probably be able to have time to take your shot.
And analyzing the clothes of the random people in the cover shot, it was not that cold. So I guess I was on the right month but not on the right time of the day.
Another useful hint is to use 50mm lenses or any lens that gives you 50mm option. And if you don’t know why yet, you should be paying attention to our Photography Tips posts, I explained why there. But here it goes again: 50mm are what the human eye sees. Everything more them 50mm or less than 50mm will have distortion on the edges or zoom.
The lens the photographer used was not a 50mm for sure, but the results you get with 50mm are amazing. If you have some cash laying around and is looking for a lens upgrade, consider the 24-70mm from Canon that will get the job done better for this photo.
If you’re like me, a person that loves to hunt for these kinds of spots where iconic musicians played or took a photo for an album, talk to me on Fotostrasse’s facebook group. I know loads of famous spots in London for bands like Clash, Sex Pistols, David Bowie and more.
This post is only possible thanks to the wonderful help of Visit Britain and the most amazing hotel in London, the W Hotel in Leicester sq. From all the times I went to London, I never slept so well. No joke.
This hotel is so fantastic and so well located that I have no words to describe it. Besides, for this 40 year anniversary of Punk in London, W Hotel prepared loads of perks for its guest. If you want a punk themed stay in London, check them out. Click here to find the best price.