God’s Own Junkyard—where Neon Never Dies

For more photos and videos from God’s Own Junkyard, browse the #godsownjunkyard hashtag or visit the location page for the Junkyard’s previous premises.

God’s Own Junkyard is a little slice of heaven found in Walthamstow, North East London. Newly relocated to a new premises, the unique space on an industrial estate is the workshop and showroom of Chris Bracey, a neon artist who collects and hand-renovates neon signs for art, shows and collectors items.

Chris has been creating and collecting vintage neon signs, old movie props, found objects and waste light for the last 37 years, and his work has developed a cult following. Some of his most famous signs have appeared at Alexander McQueen shows and in Stanley Kubrick films. After a short period of closure, the new site continues to attract Instagrammers from around the world. One of his neon creations is currently on display at Selfridges in central London.

Photographer Adrienne Pitts (@hellopoe) recently visited the Junkyard before it closed to relocate. Here are her tips for getting the best from your photos in the Junkyard or of any neon signs:

  1. "Play with your exposure settings: by tapping on different parts of your screen, you can expose for lights or for darks. Neon is so dramatic and gives off such a beautiful colourful glow, it often looks best surrounded by darkness, so tap on a light area of your screen to make sure the rest of the scene is dark.
  2. "Play with scale and shadow: some of the pieces in God’s Own Junkyard are pretty big! To give a sense of scale, try including people or playing with creating interesting silhouettes against the colourful neon.
  3. "Get in close: a lot of beauty can be found in the detail—the curves of the neon, the hundreds of tiny lightbulbs and the gorgeous colourful glow that the neon gives off can all make for a beautiful image."