Artists have a way of reimagining a place, retelling its story and rewording the preexisting dogma that surrounds it. Romantically, the struggling artist moves to where ever she is drawn, anywhere that will allow her to create and survive. Artists attract other artists and soon their influence begins to reshape the landscape, by being forever associated with “the cool” others are soon drawn in. What started as a change to the symbolic architecture of a place soon begins to impact the physical architecture, somewhere previously ignored now contains the trendiest clubs, restaurants, bars and stores around. Maybe this is a little like what’s happening to Hackney Wick, maybe it’s not?
Too busy gallivanting in Europe and Asia, it’s been a while since we took to the streets of London with a commitment to capturing its heart and soul. So it was a welcomed surprise when New Amsterdam Vodka, a new premium vodka imported from the US, threw us back into the familiar streets to capture not one but two transitory London districts for their new campaign. #ItsYourTown is ultimately a celebration of your city, from a brand that’s all about modern city nightlife. Peckham was our first stop, and whether it’s constructed by episodes of Only Fools and Horses, Giggs lyrics or your “trendy” friends anecdotes, everyone has a picture of this South London district. So what is it really like?
The second installment of our London’s Portrait series takes us to SW, and into the heart of Brixton. Bob Dylan, a man who everyone should find a moment to quote once a week, once sang: Don’t stand in the doorway/ Don’t block up the hall / He that gets hurt / Will be he who has stalled / There’s a battle outside / And it is ragin / It’ll soon shake your windows / And rattle your walls / For the times they are a-changin’. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Ol’Bob was talking about Brixton, 2013. Times they are a-changin, and a battle is indeed ragin’; and on one side is regeneration, and on the other, gentrification.
On a cool Saturday afternoon in spring, Team Yin&Yang and I set off with a camera in our hands, an oyster card in our pocket, and the never say die spirit of DCI John Luther in our hearts, and decided to document London and its people, through a series of portraits and articles. First up, East London.