Bumper issue

5th October 2017

I hang my head in shame as I’ve missed a week so here’s a bumper post for my crapness.

I’ve been shooting my local neighbourhood for what seems like years now but as Liberty and I sit amongst a sea of archive boxes I notice only a few are marked ‘Purity’.

7 years? Why so little images? The pile stands coyly next to the immense proud Jenga tower marked YWALWD and I begin to analyse why I have so little to show.

I first began the project when I moved to Clapton about 7 years ago. The area is densely populated with Hassidic Jewish families lining the streets of Stamford Hill. As the buses pass through the shift in demographic is hard to ignore. It is like stepping back in time for part of your journey. After living there for a few months I began to feel extremely isolated from the Jewish community. I felt negated and ignored as the prams whizzed passed me and the busy roads tested my patience. I am Jewish, why do I feel like an outsider?

I wanted redefine my initial prejudice and speak to people. After years of stopping people on the street, attending groups, classes and festivals I began to feel connected to a handful of people I had met. They welcomed me into their homes with warmth and generosity. They were patient and tolerant of my ignorance. I knew when I am embarked on this journey it would be full of rejection, frustration and failure but I also knew it was an unsolvable puzzle I was strangely committed to. Despite not having the access to photograph I would share meals with families, play with their children and volunteer at festival events.

Patience has never been a natural characteristic I possess but in order to explore this project further it was the only way I also knew I didn’t have the time to commit to lots of families. I needed to dedicate my time to one or two in order to build that relationship.

This is turning into an essay which is not what I intended but I wanted to reveal a little more about this in the hope that I can understand more about why I am still shooting this without an end in sight. It has also taken me to parts of Israel and NY that I haven’t even began to touch. Here’s an image from a family who I have worked with them most closely.

Photographing Dad is still a little activity when we meet up and each time I am reminded of his patience and creativity. He is a curious soul and it’s wonderful to spend time with him and see how he sees the world.

oao x