East End Project – Current Photo Edit

Posted on January 11, 2014


Well the trip to 5 Fournier Street went pretty well, if very exhausting…getting up at 5 am every morning and keeping busy all day!

I learned a number of things from the trip.

  1. At this time of year twilight is too late for the streets to be empty. I will need to return to re-do some of the shots in the Spring when twilight is about 5 am. Then for example I might be able to capture Brick Lane empty.
  2. The sodium street lights are a nightmare from perspective of both avoiding flare and most especially the colour of the light. I need to work on how to deal with this to get a consistent approach to colour balance which keeps the colours in the sky true but avoid excessive and horrible red colour casts on the buildings.
  3. Five days in a row is hard going. My motivation was flagging towards the end. More shorter stays might be more productive.
  4. I made contact with a local photographer who has offered to act as an intermediary with possible subjects for the portrait series and to introduce me to key people in places such as Toynbee Hall where I would like to photograph the interiors. He also suggested I think about an exhibition of the work in Spitalfields where there is always lots of interested in exhibitions of local interest. I have started to think about this and am wondering if I might stage a week long exhibition at 5 Fournier Street – an exhibition of photographs/texts which investigate  the question of immigration staged in a place previously occupied by one of the first foreign immigrants living in the area sounds like an interesting proposition. I would do this on the basis of selling prints with the net proceeds going to a local charity such as Toynbee Hall. Lots of questions and issues arise from this – cost, feasibility of venue, how to promote it, how viable is it and so on.

I have now put together a small portfolio of 15 images which are of a quality that I would consider using them – although they are by no means a final edit. This will allow me to consider if the series appears cohesive. I am going to allow the dust to settle a little before forming a judgement on this and also I will be submitting this mini-portfolio along with texts to my Tutor in April. In the meantime I will be making a few more one day morning trips to London as there are a few more locations I have yet to complete.

What is also beginning to emerge in terms of the theme is that my photographs/texts seem to be dealing with the ephemeral nature of immigration in the area and particular issues and struggles faced by immigrant communities – prejudice, racial violence, religious and state intervention, poor employment and living conditions and so on. I will probably re-examine my artist’s statement to reflect this once I have confirmed on the photo/text combinations I plan to use.

For now I have presented below a contact sheet of my current  ‘selects’. I will post more on these and my thoughts on how they hang together and the texts I plan to use in future posts.

East End Project - Urban Landscapes 10th January 2014 ©Keith Greenough 2013

East End Project – Urban Landscapes 10th January 2014
©Keith Greenough 2013