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Nicholas Sack, Lost In The City

April 27, 2013
by the gentle author

Aside from the four thousand that dwell within the Barbican, almost no-one lives in the City of London anymore – it is a place designed entirely for the purpose of work. The other week, in my first selection from the photography of Nicholas Sack, I showed you his pictures of the men in suits who go there to work. Today, I publish a selection from his pictures of everybody else – those of us who are perforce outsiders in this curious environment.

For tourists who wander the dense web of narrow streets, the City exists merely as theme park for their amusement. Like a world designed by Charles Dickens’ character Mr Gradgrind, everything is for utility and weary clerks struggle vainly to find places of rest, perching on ledges and architectural outcrops designed not for repose but to encourage them to return to work.

With irony and sly humour, these astute photographs expose the contradictions of the human presence within this locus of power – where children and families have no place, where displays of affection are anachronistic and where women are automatically at odds with the environment simply through the fact of their gender. Nicholas Sack’s vision recalls William Shakespeare’s lines as appropriated by Aldous Huxley, we see the City of London through his eyes and wonder –“Oh brave new world, that has such people in’t.”

Photographs copyright © Nicholas Sack

“Uncommon Ground,” Nicholas Sack’s new book of photography is available here


You may also like to look at

Nicholas Sack in the City

Richard Jeffries in the City

9 Responses leave one →
  1. April 27, 2013

    Enjoyed looking through those wonderful photographs, thank you

  2. Katherine permalink
    April 27, 2013

    How lovely to be able to take a moment and see people as they really are, in this city. Makes me want to be more observant. Thank you, Nick

  3. andrea permalink
    April 27, 2013

    Some of these office workers, esp. the woman in the third-last one, remind me of Pina Bausch dancers. Look at the woman on a ledge with her feet sticking out, in heels, and the young man in a suit behind her. Suddenly they would get up and begin a stiff sort of dance.

  4. Brad permalink
    April 27, 2013

    Like very much.
    Slightly voyeuristic, strangely intimate and very human.
    The people contrasting with the concrete, steel and glass. Some pictures even suggest a freezing of time as someone hurls a “Magic Boomerang” (anybody remember that ?)
    Order your t shirts now.

  5. April 27, 2013

    More of the City seen through Nicholas Sack’s always keen eyes. It is as if, consciously or inadvertently, his figures are taking part in an urban performance, an on-going street choreography. We never know when we may be players.

  6. April 27, 2013

    they are gorgeous – esp the one of the shadows cast inside the hoardings. but even with london’s curving roadways they are all about the grid, aren’t there. it would make my brain crazy.

  7. Martin Gore permalink
    April 28, 2013

    Sacks eye for the wonders of the City streets is enhanced by his ability to sieze the moment and not disturb the subjects in his shots. Nearly all his work is devoid of
    traffic or irrelevant street furniture and thus creating the eerie atmosphere.

  8. Chris Lewis permalink
    April 30, 2013

    I do like the sharp contrast between light and shadow especially on a bright sunny day, so technically difficult to achieve. And the chance placing of the little figures as they go strutting about their business. Must take a lot of patience to get exactly the one shot that works visually.

  9. April 30, 2013

    It amazes me that no one else has commented on the total isolation of all the people photographed. No one is speaking to anyone else. This is truly chilling photography, a terrifying vision of urban life. Solitary automatons marching purposefully through a grid of iron and steel. Blank expressions….

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