Once again (October, 2015) some of my pix of (a very decrepit) London in the 1980’s are up on the walls of Cafe Kefa (29th and Ford, Jingletown, Oakland). They’ll probably be up for a month or two — and yes, they’ve been up there before, but hey, Gabe and Dina wanted to see them again, so who am I to argue?! For the story behind the photo above, see Featured Image: Hungerford Bridge, London, Mid-1980’s; for a bunch of the photos actually up on the wall, see the London In The 1980’s gallery on HamishReid.com.
I’m not much good at the social realism / street photography thing, mostly because I don’t feel comfortable aestheticising other people’s suffering (in other words, I’m no Diane Arbus or Weegee, and I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be). But I’d been living in London a few years by the time I took this shot (1987?), and I’d seen these two guys around a lot on Hungerford Bridge over the previous year or so, begging from the tourists and the theatre-goers crossing the river. The guy on the right (“Jimmy”) had been chatting with me for a few minutes this particular day about Ireland and Australia and how he’d ended up begging (a long story I’ve told elsewhere) when he saw my camera (which is usually well-hidden; I’m not one of those people who stroll about with camera gear hanging off them or stuffed into camera bags, etc.). He made me take this picture of them so that “the workers in Australia know what Thatcherism is really like”. I’m always nervous about taking photos like this, but I did it anyway; so far this is the only real example I have. I never saw “Jimmy” again; the man on […]