Blue fence, empty land behind…I’ve been watching and photographing this fence for at least a year now. Wondering how it can remain unoccupied when so many people in London face a housing crisis; Suspecting that would be property developers were holding on to it, watching their investment rise… Over many months, the blue fences have been broken down, patched up again, repainted. They’ve warped in the sun and rain, they’ve been decorated with sherbet coloured graffiti. Someone installed a peephole with a convex lens. A poster nailed to the fence reads, “We’re full of business ideas?” above the heads of a crowd of people. They are without feet as the bottom half of the poster is missing. I’ve heard dogs barking, playing somewhere across the far side of the land, and birds singing in the shrubbery. Now I see that a development is planned, and that 65% of properties will be at market rate. We all know the market is inflated beyond even the average earner, let alone the marginalised and impoverished. So goodbye fence, goodbye blossom tree, goodbye someone’s hope for a home.
After writing this, I found out that there is a petition. The page also contains information about the planned development – Lewisham Council: Develop Besson Street for Local Housing Needs
I have an ongoing love affair with disposable cameras – the cheap kind with cardboard housing. I’ve used them for years to photograph my environment and things I see when walking around, but I wanted to see what would happen when I used them in the hectic and peopled world of the backstage of a catwalk show.
The beauty of the disposable for me is that they are so unassuming. Most people don’t notice you are taking a photograph when you use them, and even if they see the camera, they think it looks so simple and unprofessional that it must be meaningless. This means their reactions don’t change too much.
Also, of course, I love their limits: the grain, the faded or warped colours, the blurs and blocky depth. They are everything that an Instagram filter wishes it was.
The joy of handing in another disposable camera for processing – usually having forgotten what is actually on the film – is a fizzing, sherbert kind of excitement. When I pick up the prints, I consume them immediately – standing in a Boots, or on an elevator into an underground station.
But it’s mainly all about the clicking – the little plastic shutter button just going click click click – consuming the world with my eyes.
It’s my way of connecting with the joy of making a photo.
Disposable camera, Paris 2014.