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Paul Trevor, photographer

October 17, 2009
by the gentle author

Paul Trevor photographed these children playing in Fournier Street one afternoon in 1974. “Much of it was derelict. It felt abandoned,” he says, describing the neighbourhood at the time, “yet from this unlikely location I was gifted a vivid story of a community surviving considerable hardship with resilience, humour and hope – none more so than the kids.”

Since the nineteen seventies, Paul Trevor has been taking pictures here whilst going about his day-to-day business. The result is an important body of work by a photographer of stature that now exists as a record of the social change that has come upon this place, and five hundred of Paul Trevor’s photographs of Spitalfields are collected in the London Metropolitan University East End Archive. Currently, there is also a well chosen exhibition of his photographs of children, at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green until 29th November.

Paul Trevor’s beautiful and empathetic pictures record the daily lives of people here with an acute eye, while also recording the vast physical changes and witnessing the social tensions too – manifested particularly in the demonstrations by the Anti Nazi League against the National Front. It was at one of these in 1978, that he photographed this audacious brat gleefully waving his toy gun behind a policeman’s back at the corner of Brick Lane and Quaker Street.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Kate B. permalink
    October 18, 2009

    Just found your website- I love it, please keep up the good work! I’ve just moved to the neighbourhood from New York, and just browsing your entries for 10 minutes, I’ve found so many things I want to go and try. (I can see from your dedication to St. John’s Bread and the flower market that we must have similar taste.) Thanks!

  2. i.shlain permalink
    February 6, 2011

    nice to see your work.your cousen

  3. June 8, 2011

    Hi – just came across this because of my interest in street play. If anyone is keen to get children playing on the streets of Spitalfields again (unfortunately, because of cars, in a more contrived way than happened in 1974!) please have a look at our website or get in touch: http://www.playingout.net. We’d love to help that happen.

  4. tony gallagher permalink
    October 9, 2013

    Hi Paul Trevor

    I have access to a copy of ‘like you’ve never been away’ and I am very moved by the images you have captured. I attended Campion Boys School in Salisbury and Shaw Streets and I could well be in the images taken from Haigh Heights walking across the tarmac or in the annexe school building yard in the circle doing PE. I know the teacher was a Mr Murphy as I still remember his general presence. My point is I have mixed feelings regarding attending that school and I have expressed them in two poems. So you can imagine my astonishment when my emotions rooted in that time were reinforced by your work. I would be very interested to talk to you more about your experiences of the time and if you are interested I’d be happy to send you copy of the poems.

    Regards

    Tony Gallagher

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