I have been photographing the Chatsworth Road area in Hackney, London, since 2007, but decided to turn it into a more expansive project after the riots last summer. The project aims to honour and celebrate the people of the neighbourhood, giving locals a face and a voice. New content featuring local people, shops and businesses will be added to the new website on a monthly basis.
As part of the project I am doing a series of pop-up studios to photograph the citizens in this part of Hackney. At the end of last year I did the first one on the high street where more than 300 people came to get their portrait and a free print to take home. Some of these photos can be seen on my first blog post and on chatsworthroadmarket.com .
The second pop-up studio took place at Pedro, which is a boxing and youth club on one of the estates. All the photos posted in this post were shot at Pedro. It is run by former European Champion in super middleweight James Cook MBE and Pedro is one of the most important tools in the area to help youth in a positive direction.
The new website www.chatsworthroadmarket.com is officially launching on 3 March 2012. Content will be added twice a month and is a new way for me to work on a documentary project. Usually the proces is something like this: shoot, edit, show work. A process that can take years and it is often frustrating to keep your work locked away for such a long period of time. With this project it makes more sense to continuously publish small stories, especially since I want to involve local youth to help out.
Hackney is a very poor borough and the frustration often comes out in terms of anger, violence and crime. The riots last summer reflected this. It is sad to see the lack of money offered by the government to create places for young people to keep them busy. In my eyes everyone needs to be challenged, given projects and to be listened to. With this community project I am offering and encouraging local youth to work with me on this project. I want to give them the opportunity to handle professional photographic equipment, help organising shoots, events and the site, and hopefully contribute with stories.
The project is still in the early stages and the process is relatively slow because it is something I do in my spare time, but I hope it will contribute to something positive and create a unique historical document of a very interesting and lovely community.
More photos and stories will be posted soon.