Thursday, May 04, 2017

No Resting Place



At the beginning of this year, prompted by what seemed to be a recent significant rise in the numbers of people sleeping rough in central London, I set about documenting some of the many dark doorways and uninviting corners in which anxious, disturbed or destitute men and women now spend their days and nights.

I decided to focus on the places, rather than the people who use them, in order to highlight the harsh locations in which rough sleepers find themselves, without identifying the often vulnerable individuals who use them.  Not all the photographs succeed in doing this - parts of faces are visible in one or two. 


 
The pictures were taken on and off from January through March, and now the Greater London Authority has released figures for the numbers of rough sleepers recorded in the capital during that time. I was not surprised. They showed an increase of 7% on the same period last year - to 2,751 individuals over the three months. Nationally, rough sleeping has risen by 37% since 2010.

Each person has their own story, but together the bodies trying to keep warm on cold hard pavements are the most visible symptoms of the current crises in housing and adult social care provision in one of the richest countries in the world.  Shameful.  More pictures here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Waste Land

 End of the day on London Bridge 2016
Unreal city,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent,were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street...
(from The Waste Land, 1922)

These pictures, recent additions to my London in 50 project, were inspired by TS Eliot's description of commuters crossing London Bridge and dragging themselves to their deathly work in the City of London.  Re-reading The Waste Land, written in 1922, I imagine them in black & white, ghostly shadows in the "brown fog".  But although my pictures were taken on a sunny evening as the financiers and their clerks walked in the opposite direction, their day's work done, nothing much seems to have changed in almost a century.  They still look miserable.

 End of the day on London Bridge 2016