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My East End Photography Competition

July 3, 2010
by the gentle author

Spitalfields Life was one of the winners in the My East End Photography Competition – for this portrait of Gary Arber the third generation printer, that I took in February in the comp room of the printing works in Roman Rd, opened by Gary’s grandfather Walter Francis Arber in 1897, where once the Suffragettes’ handbills were printed. “I’m here under duress because I’m an airman,” Gary told me when I first met him, because he sacrificed a career flying Lincoln Bombers to take over the printing works when his father died in 1954. Presiding over this print shop of a century ago where the twentieth century passed through like a whirlwind, Gary still retains the nonchalant professionalism of a flying ace.

On Thursday night, I went over to meet Gary when he shut up shop at five thirty and we sauntered casually along together down the Roman Rd to the Four Corners centre for film and photography, for the opening of an exhibition of the winning photos, where at a small ceremony Gary graciously accepted the award on my behalf. Among over four hundred entries, there were a large number of interesting photographs that add up to an impressive panorama of the East End at this moment. After searching through all the entries, it is my pleasure to present this small personal selection of works that caught my eye. Other notable inclusions were pictures by Spitalfields Life contributing photographers Sarah Ainslie and Jeremy Freedman, Sarah’s portrait of John Wright in Shadwell and Jeremy’s picture of Sandys Row Synagogue at dawn.

The judges of the competition were Martin Parr, photographer, Steven Berkoff, actor, and Kate Edwards of the Guardian. Speaking for the judges, Steven Berkoff said, “The pictures that stuck out for me were the pictures that expressed the deepest humanity. There is something eternal about the East End – a toughness and sturdiness, a tremendous amount of tolerance to difficult times.”

Yilmaz the tailor, Leyla Guler

Ann & Kitty eating jellied eels at the Eid party, Micahel Jones

Family in Lounge, Mary Cavanagh

Meat Trolley, Ridley Rd Market, Dalston, Agnes Sanvito

Old Sailor in Brick Lane, Johnny Pitts

Hasidic jews blessing the sun at dawn in Clissold Park, Olivia Harris

East London Line workforce, Scott Cullen

Working Nights, Bella Felling

I worked on the locks at the docks for twenty years,Vince Felice

Looking East from Canary Wharf on a snowy day, Shamir Sangrajka

Scattered thoughts, Jourdan.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. July 3, 2010

    Great pictures of east london, i know the place well, spent most of my life living in the east.

  2. July 3, 2010

    It’s great to see the photos in this post as the actual website for the competition (given in your link) could probably win prizes for being one of the most clumsily designed, inaccessible and uninformative websites I have ever seen for a photography competition.

    I’ve looked at very many websites over time re competitons involving images and this one is the worse by a very long way!

    Such a pity to make people’s contributions so difficult to see.

  3. July 3, 2010

    Katherine Tyrrell – Your comment makes me smile.

    Who ever conceived that website deserves never to have the opportunity to do one again!

  4. July 3, 2010

    o and congratulations gentle one!

  5. Scott Cullen permalink
    July 5, 2010

    I really appreciate you taking an interest in my photograph (East London Line Work Force) and took the time to put it up as a picture that you liked. Thank you for mentioning my picture and congratulations, it is a deserved winner.

  6. Leyla Guler permalink
    July 8, 2010

    Thanks a lot for the heads up… :) Loved your image of Gary Arber, it stood out as soon as I saw the entries. The story behind it is great too.. true east end. Well done!

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