Chris Kelly’s Columbia School Portraits, 1996
It is my pleasure to publish Chris Kelly‘s portraits of an entire class at Columbia Primary School, Columbia Rd, Bethnal Green. Distinguished by extraordinary presence and insight, these tender pictures taken fifteen years ago are the outcome of a unique collaboration between the photographer and the schoolchildren. Chris has been taking photographs for education and health services, and voluntary organisations in the East End for almost twenty years, and these astonishing timeless portraits illustrate just one aspect of the work of this fascinating photographer.
I like myself because I am smart and cool and my name is Rufus and Rufus means red one and I really like to play with my friends.
My name is Abdul. I am eight years old. I was born in 7.10.88 and I like trainers called keebok classic.
When I grow up I want to be a singer and travel around the world. My name is Jay and I am eight years old.
My name is Imran. I am eight years old. I like going to school. I like drawing. My sister Happy gives me sweets.
Hello my name is Salma and I was born in 1988. I am eight years old. I like to go to Bangladesh. At school I like Art. I go to Columbia Primary School. And my teachers name is Lucy.
I like myself because I am smart and cool. My name is Ibrahim. My age is eight years old.
My name is Jamal. I go to Columbia School and I am eight years old. I enjoy reading and art and the new book bags. I am special because there are no other people like me.
I’m eight. I like to play. My mummy loves me. My name is Shumin.
I am special because I am good at reading and maths. I am good at running. I am eight years old and I am year three. My address is London E2. My best friend is Rokib. My name is Kamal.
My name is Kamal Miah. I like chocolate cake with chocolate custard. I love computers at home. I learn at Columbia School. Before school I drink fizzy drink and I eat chips. My date of birth is 13.10.88. My best chocolate bar is Lion. My best colour is dark blue. I’m good at maths. Speling group is C.
I am eight years old. My name is Nazneen. I like doing maths and I like doing singing. I have three sisters. And I have lots of friends.
My name is Paplue. I like football and I like fried chicken because they give me chicken. I am eight.
My name is Rahima. I was born in October the eleventh. I’m eight years old. I go to Columbia School. I live in number thirty.
My name is Halil. I am eight years old. I like to play with my three game boys. I like to see funny films.
My name is Litha. I like chocolate. I was born in London. I am eight years old. I live in a flat. When I grow up I want to be a hairdresser.
My name is Robert. I am eight years old and I live in London E2. I like where I live because I have lots of friends to play with.
My name is Rajna. I’m good at running. I do writing at home. And I’m the middle sister.
I am eight years old. I go to school. I play in the playground and my name is Dale.
My name is Sadik. I’m eight years old. I am quite good at football. I practise with my uncle.
My name is Rokib, I am eight years old. I am special because I can read and write and I can do maths and I can be thoughtful and helpful.
My name is Shafia. I am eight years old. I have two sisters. My big sister is called Nazia and my baby sister is called Pinky.
My name is Shokar. I like kick boxing and swimming and I like football.
My name is Urmi and I like going to Ravenscroft Park. I have a black bob cut, browny skin and black eyes. I am eight years old.
My name is Wahidul. I am eight years old. My favourite prehistoric animals are dinosaurs and I like reading and science.
My name is Yousuf. I want to be a computer designer. If I want to be a computer designer I have to be an artist as well.
My name is Ferdous. I am eight years old. I go to Columbia School. My favourite thing is playing games. My date of birth is 10.12.88.
My name is Akthar. I like to go to Victoria Park. I am eight years old.
Hello my name is Fahmida. I am eight years old and I was born in 1989. I like to play skipping and Onit. I like going to school. In school I like Art.
I go to play out with my friends. I go to the shops with my mum. I go to my sisters new house. My name is Ashraf and I’m eight years old.
My name is Fateha. I go to school. I like art. I am eight years old. I am lucky that I’ve got a good art teacher.
Photographs copyright © Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly hopes to make contact with the subjects of these pictures again, now twenty-three years old, for the purpose of taking a new set of portraits. So, if you were one of these children, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
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