The Face of Church Steet
This Collection of images was exhibited in Stoke Newington at the Blue Legum, As Part of photomonth Octt/Nov 2008. The text below was the preface for the exhibition. And the accompanying text to the portraits was correct in 2008.
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The individual faces behind Stoke Newington’s shop counters, bars and restaurants provide the collective ‘face’ of the area. Ages, genders, ethnicities melt and merge providing Stoke, with its own multi-faceted persona.The ‘face’ of Stokey is in a slow state of flux. As some people move away and others unpack their bags, the area’s identity changes. Today it represents a population rich with cultural diversity and differing stories. Yet as chain businesses trickle in, the area’s individuality is altered – most likely for ever.
Independent shops bring a potent feel of the community – those repeated encounters with recognised faces, morning salutes and conversations make us feel known, involved and included in the mechanisms of a small
society. When we shop there we are supporting our neighbors. Often when we shop, we opt for the safety of a brand name. But as we walk through the entrance of a chain shop we’re entering the belly of a homogenous entity – walking down its aisles, it feels wecould be in any region within Britain, perhaps the world. Entering an independent shopkeeper’s shop is like entering their home – the space is filled with the nuances of their life – the chosen décor, their tastes, their beliefs. As customers we are invited inside the life and premises of the shop-owner; we taste, we view, we feel his world. These images celebrate these myriad nuances and explore the complex nature of Stoke Newington’s character.
Special thanks go to Murat at the Blue Legume, Church Street, who is hosting the exhibition (16th October – 13th November). And Jerry Deeney at Fuji film. All the portraits were taken on Fuji professional film and printed by www.genesisimaging.net on Fuji professional paper.