16 Photographs of London Strangers

Some Londoners photographed around the city for your Tuesday morning:

The People of Soho: The CreativePhoto: Artist, designer and composer it’s Jerome in Tyler’s Court, Soho by Pete Zelewski

stranger # 135
Photo: This is Berry having a coffee at Maison Bertaux on Greek Street in Soho by Stretch1000

That Forties Look
Photo: That Forties look in Covent Garden by John Kortland

stranger # 139
Photo: Nilu just off St Giles High Street by Stretch1000

Why Ride When You Can Walk
Photo: Why ride when you can walk, St. Mary Axe by John Kortland

stranger # 46
Photo: Christina works for a dance music and clubbing magazine. She was photographed near Regents Canal, Hackney by Stretch1000

Call Me
Photo: Advertising agency receptionist Melanie in Grape Street, Bloomsbury by Pete Zelewski

Brick Lane Street Style
Photo: Brick Lane street style by LLO

stranger # 47
Photo: Strangers under a bridge in Hackney near Kingsland Road by Stretch1000

London Street Portrait
Photo: London street portrait by 67Jewels

Fringe Benefit  [Explored #109]
Photo: Fringe benefit by John Kortland

stranger # 49
Photo: Peter, a painter, on Kingsland Road by Stretch1000

Photo: Abby by Paki Nuttah

London Street Portrait
Photo: London street portrait by r3cycl3r

Stranger # 37
Photo: Satara is a half-Italian, half-Thai graphic design student from Central Saint Martin’s Collage of Art photographed by Great Titchfield Street by Stretch1000

Country Girl
Photo: Fashion marketing graduate and budding entrepreneur, it’s Stephanie in Floral Street, Covent Garden by Pete Zelewski

Stories and Photographs: Homeless London

I may have told you once, the story of a guy who used to sell the Big Issue outside of M&S in Notting Hill. I walked by most days on my lunch break. He always smiled at me, genuinely. Occasionally I bought a magazine. Then one cold December day, he was standing there dressed as Santa, with a big red belly, beard and a floppy hat. Made me smile, the effort of it all, and it stuck with me for a long time. I offered him a jelly baby and he pulled down his beard to pop it in his mouth. We got to talking.

Once in a while I would bring him a smoothie and spend my lunch break sitting there outside the shop or standing under an umbrella with him out there. He told me his life story, the way he suddenly lost everything, found himself on the streets, living in hostels when he could afford to. Not by any fault of his own. Then one day, he invited me for a coffee. We sat in Cafe Nero looking out the window on the first floor, watching the cars and the busses and the people pass through Notting Hill Gate.

I won’t share his story here, but we became friends. And he turned his life around. He no longer sells the Big Issue. He’s in Afghanistan now proud in his uniform.

But London is full of people who have fallen through the cracks, unfortunate souls who wrap themselves in old blankets and suck up the shame of it all. It’s easy to make quick judgments sometimes, to walk by blindly, to feel indifferent. I met another guy once, also in Notting Hill, who used to sit outside reading novels. I used to give him my old ones when I finished, have a chat now and then. He disappeared suddenly, I hope for good reason.

When I met Stik, the street artist who I’m sure most of you know about by now, he told me his story of being homeless and how his art has helped to pull him out of it. He’s turned his life around now as well, thanks to his creativity.

This post isn’t about the politics of homelessness. Only stories and images of Londoners who happen to know what it’s like to touch the bottom.

These photographs were taken by John Kortland. (Interview with John here).

Dropping Off

Night Safe

Moving Out

Life At The Bottom

Bag Man

Travelling Man

And a final image from Shando.

19/100 'I Love Lynne'

A note from Shando about the above photo:

“This picture is #19 in my 100 strangers project. Was with some friends shooting around South Bank and stopped to chat to this dude. We chatted about how busy this spot was during the daytime and despite his apparent predicament he even had the cheer to crack a joke about xmas day not being so busy! When I first saw him and thought to approach him for a shot I recalled seeing a documentary on TV where a homeless dude mentioned that the lack of acknowledgement from people passing by as he begged was most disheartening and made him feel sub-human. Share a few words with these people ;)”

If you have a story of someone homeless who has touched your life in some way, leave a story in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.

PS – A little slice of shameless self-promotion – I was interviewed on Girl Habits yesterday!

Londoners: Interactions

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
– Elliott Erwitt

For today, I fished through the Flickr pool for a selection of photographs showing Londoners interacting. Last weekend was a weekend of interacting and it fascinates me endlessly to look at street photography of people who are together for whatever reason and how they behave around one another. I start to wonder how long they’ve know each other, perhaps whether it is the first time they met, whether they’ve just argued or where they are going. There’s always a story. Here’s a few shots of Londoners interacting taken by a few talented street photographers.

Book Lover by Sabine Thoele

How much longer? by John Kortland

Strictly lizard dancing by John Kortland

Tarot in Spitalfields Market, London by Where the Art Is

Te quiero by Graham F Kerr

Risky Business by John Kortland

Pull by Finger by John Kortland

Game, Set and Match to the Met by John Kortland

We Fear No Foe by Buckaroo Kid

Going Home by Sabine Thoele

And that’s all, folks! Add your own photos of Londoners interacting to the Flickr pool.

London Event: Where Three Dreams Cross

Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh presents the work of more than 70 photographers who have captured aspects of these three countries and their people in striking images. It explores the ways in which the art of photography has developed over time on the subcontinent.

The exhibition is divided into five themes as explained on the gallery’s website: “The Portrait shows the evolution of self-representation; The Family explores close bonds and relationships through early hand-painted and contemporary portraits; The Body Politic charts political moments, movements and campaigns; The Performance focuses on the golden age of Bollywood, circus performers and artistic practices that engage with masquerade; while The Street looks at the built environment, social documentary and street photography.”

Check it out at Whitechapel Gallery now until 11 April, 2010.
Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX
Tube: Aldgate East
Cost: Tickets £8.50/£6.50 concessions
Website for more info is here

Photo Scavengers: October

Have a camera? Feeling creative? Need a good excuse to go for a walk? I posted a page here called Photo Scavengers Project, something I started on another blog site. Check it out and see if you want to get involved. If you do, here is the list of key words for October: (Usually these are posted at the beginning of the month.)

1.   Cosy
2.   A stranger
3.   An icon of your city
4.   Childhood
5.   Something red and green
6.   A pattern or texture
7.   Street art
8.   An image that could be a book cover
9.   Old
10.   New
11.   A shadow or silhouette
12.   Language
13.   Music
14.   Autumn
15.   An animal
16.   A place to contemplate life
17.   Something that begins with the letter O
18.   A reflection on water
19.   An interesting perspective
20.   A self-portrait