PHOTO BY ADRIENNE PITTS
When Waltham Forest was named London’s first Borough of Culture this year, it may have come as a bit of a surprise. The residential neighborhood on the city’s northeastern outskirts can seem sleepy, out-of-the-way, even a bit gray. Hidden in an industrial estate on unassuming Shernhall Street, however, is a luminous find: Europe’s largest collection of neon signs.
Opened in 2013 by neon artist Chris Bracey, God’s Own Junkyard is a tribute to all things fluorescent. Some of the signs inside were salvaged from movie sets, circuses, and advertisements. Others are original creations by Bracey, who before he passed away in 2014 was often called the Neon Man, thanks to works that appear everywhere from clubs in London’s Soho to the sets of Batman and Blade Runner.
While God’s Own Junkyard is dazzling in person, the magic can be tough to capture on camera, according to photographer Adrienne Pitts, who took this shot. “I made sure to bring my tripod and shutter-release cable,” says Pitts, who “concentrated on areas which had depth to them” in order to maximize “all the raucous, riotous color.” The resulting image surely conveys her affection for the gallery. “It is one of my favorite places in London—truly one of the happiest places on Earth,” she says. “You can’t help but burst into a wide grin when you walk in.”