Next Summer, all eyes will be on London for the Olympics and with the recent riots on the streets, the world may well be wondering how much the city has really changed since Thatcher’s Eighties.
Throughout that decade, Berris Conolly photographed Hackney’s streets and open spaces, from Dalston lane to the River Lea. His black and white images showed a Hackney full of empty stillness and fly-tipping. Over twenty years on and despite now living in Sheffield, he has collaborated with Alex Pink, a young urban photographer, to show the ways in which the area has changed and stayed the same. Despite the two photographers having never met, Hackney: Revisited is a fascinating insight into the changing urban environment.
Twin asked Alex about the project…
Are you both from Hackney?
I am from East London, but lived in Hackney for a short period. A lot of my time is spent in the borough. Berris lived in Hackney in the Eighties but is now in Sheffield.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves?
I am a local photographer who spends much of my spare time photographing London & Hackney, mainly for my blog snapshotlondon.co.uk Berris is a commercial photographer, who 30 years ago documented the streets in his spare time.
Where did the idea for the project come from?
I brought Berris’ book for my girlfriend’s birthday. I was instantly taken by the unique collection of powerful photographs and knew that they had to be updated.
How would you sum up the changes?
I have long been fascinated by the urban landscape and how it effects our everyday life’s London is an inspiring place, Hackney in particular. The changes in some cases have been quite subtle, simply changes to the street furniture or buildings. Others are no longer recognisable and show the scale of redevelopment in the area. Many old beautiful buildings are being replaced by modern ugly flats, and once they are gone, they are gone forever.
Your pictures don’t tend to have people in them – why is that?
The focus of the pictures is the urban landscape, people would divert the viewers attention from this and completely change the scene.
What’s next for the project?
I have an exciting project lined up after this which ties in with the Olympics, but that’s all I’m going to say about it at this stage.