Photo Journal: Looking for the One in Notting Hill, UK

I think I might be a hoarder.

It started out small and innocently enough: collecting little trinkets and mementos at holiday fairs, street markets and secondhand shops. I remember the sense of adventure that filled me as I would sift through endless arrays of knickknacks looking to be treasure in someone’s eyes. Dusty retro tin lunchboxes, no; faded black and white TIME magazines, no; yellowed pages of an old classic, no; vintage manual-wind pocket watch, yesss [pupils dilate, heart skips a beat].

But it was never about the object itself and more about the curious hunt. It was about the wonder over the individual journeys that each and every item took to get to the present location, their temporary ports. And it was about imagining where their next stop would take them and how they would be curated in their new homes.

Of course I didn’t always find something to take home, nevertheless relished in the hope of finding “the one” through collections of curiosities. When that special something does find its way into your hands, well, it’s a very special moment.

Through the years, I’ve managed to compile a great deal of happenstance finds ranging from vintage costume jewelry and hand carved antique mirrors to gilded French chairs reupholstered through countless generations. And pretty soon, a handful became a pile, a pile grew into a heap, and the heap is now a bag lady’s fun house that is my apartment.

Since a few people have made that comment, I’ve introduced a mental decision-tree to help me filter between undeniable lust or absolute need, which has helped to limit new additions to just a few… here and there.

But that hasn’t stopped me from grazing through markets and shops with hungry eyes. And during our trip to London, Lilia and I couldn’t help but stop through Notting Hill’s Portobello Road Market to have a peak at the eclectic street’s random finds. Throughout the 4-hour stroll, we eyed them with admiration, imaginatively pondered their past lives and carefully chatted with their temporary owners for more color. We sifted through antique toy soldiers, sniffed the pages of notable early-edition novels, mock-punched with vintage boxing gloves.

While there were so many glittering curios that caught my eye that day, I only left with customized gloves and a creepy photo of me peering through Hugh Grant’s residence in the film, “Notting Hill”.

Only because fitting Hugh in my apartment would’ve taken up a lot more space (and would probably be under illegal circumstances).

Oh well…
Baby steps, right?


Corinthia Hotel London
1 Whitehall Place
London SW1A
United Kingdom
+44 20 7930 8181



  1. Lisa, your images are stunning as always, and your words grab me and take me on a mini-vacation. I love reading about your experiences and then seeing the journey unfold through your lens. Truly remarkable. You have an undeniable gift with words and a camera. And thank you for the journey through Notting Hill.

  2. Amazing photo edits Lisa! Your contrasts are clever and definitely eye-catching. My favourites are the food markets, but all of the images take me back to my Notting Hill explorations during a stint living in London. Have you been there during the colourful Carnival?

  3. great article (i have the same habits)…but wow – even cooler images!

    how do you do the black and white / color photography? I’ve always wanted to be able to create images like that!!

    keep up the great work and the great photography

  4. I love the photos here! I’ve travelled to London a few times but never noticed the small details of things the way you photograph them. I am sentimental as well and love picking things up on my travels, but hold on to the thought that by clearing them out you’ll be making space for new travels and adventures!

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