The Thames is always moving. Many Londoners don’t even realise the River Thames is tidal, changing direction roughly every six and a half hours, as millions of tonnes of water flows first one way, and then the other.
In the centre of town, the Thames rises and falls by as much as seven metres throughout the day. Gulls hitch a ride on this conveyor belt through town, while London’s river traffic either slides with the current or must push with blunt force against the flow.
All that movement means that anchored boats don’t stay still, but drift around their anchor points, shifting as the force of the tide pushes against them. Google’s satellite imagery captures the ghost-like images of these boats and ships as they wheel and turn around their anchor points. These jumbled satellite snaps distort and warp through multiple exposures. These are the shadow ships of the Thames.