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David Truzzi-Franconi’s East End

August 20, 2023
by the gentle author

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Photographer David Truzzi-Franconi sent me these pictures that he took in the seventies.

“While I was working in the City of London as an heraldic artist & calligrapher, I discovered on my lunchtime walks that a few paces from the bustle of Bishopsgate led me to another world. I combine a love of the drawing and writing of Geoffrey Fletcher with the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Eventually I bought a Rolleiflex camera and spent my days off exploring the East End with a few rolls of film in my pocket. ”  – David Truzzi-Franconi

Derelict House in Bethnal Green

Gunthorpe St, Whitechapel

Shop, E1

Chicksand St, E1

Derelict House, Spitalfields

Knife Grinder, Wilkes St, E1

Street performers at Tower Hill

Three legged dog

Meths drinkers on a bomb site near Brick Lane

Meths Drinkers at the Peabody Buildings

Blending ‘Red Biddy’ – wine and methylated spirits

Blacksmith’s Arms, Isle of Dogs

Thames Foreshore at Low Tide

Three Mills Island, Bow

St Paul’s, Covent Garden

Photographs copyright © David Truzzi-Franconi

6 Responses leave one →
  1. August 20, 2023

    Another fascinating but slightly depressing set of photographs. My dad often used to speak to the meths drinkers when he was working at night. He was fascinated as to how they got to be where they were. Many had held successful jobs until they lost them, marriage breakdown, PTSD and all sorts of other reasons led them to that place. Meths mixed with Tizer seemed to be the tipple of choice in his experience. I don’t know what services were available to attempt to rehabilitate people but meths has a devastating effect on the body. These lost souls found their kind and at least this gave them some companionship.

  2. August 20, 2023

    Magnificent moving pictures of a past era. Perhaps the saddest may be those of the street performers standing on their boxes or stool. The meth drinkers, yes, but any addiction is awful to see.

  3. August 20, 2023

    Oh, the story telling aspect of these photos! OK, bear with me. After spending quite a lot of time looking at the man at the piano, and the lady sitting on the beach ………. patience, patience, …….I’ve decided they will make a loving pair. He will serenade her, and she will have someone to talk to.

    The humanity of these photos provoked many reactions, and I couldn’t help but root for every person in every frame. Amazing composition, contrast, lighting —- and incredible stories.

    Thank you, GA, for shining a light.

  4. August 20, 2023

    Fascinating and sad at the same time. I think that these poor people were just more visible in those days. Today they still exist, but they are more or less invisible.

    From a photographic point of view, these black and white images are of course brilliant. Thank you!

    Love & Peace

  5. Cherub permalink
    August 20, 2023

    The photos of the alcoholics, meths drinkers and rough sleepers really distress me. My father was born in Belfast in 1917 and he used to tell me about seeing people like this in the back streets of Belfast as a young man. It was one of the reasons he always donated to the Salvation Army when they were out door knocking or collecting in pubs. He used to say every one of them had a reason for being in those circumstances. and you should never kick people who are down on their luck, wise words.

    I am not religious, but to this day I give to the Salvation Army both in Switzerland and Britain, it reminds me of my father. Where I am based it Switzerland they run 2 hostels along the Rhein for men and women and they help assist young women leave a life of prostitution in the red light district. In Britain I give so poor, distressed and lonely people can at least have some food and comfort, especially at Christmas when they may feel nobody cares.

  6. Jill permalink
    August 23, 2023

    Enthralled by these photos of humanity of (for me) a time not long ago.

    (Always always enjoy readers comments)
    Thanks Gentle Author

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