One hundred intimate portraits of East Londoners – between the ages of one and 100 – capture the universal moments of life’s triumphs and sorrows.
Hundreds of pictures. Four years of work. Three separate lockdowns. For all one, the only, soul-raising, hope-giving celebration in the fullness of life.
Kindness, Happiness, Friendship, Trouble, Flexibility, Loss: Hackney-based photographer Jenny Lewis explores the full range of human emotions and life experiences during her latest project.
The initial idea was simple: to photograph a hundred people between the ages of one hundred and one. Apart from his age, the second condition was that he lived in the same East London borough.
His point of view depends more on biography than science. He found a handful of articles through friends. Some were sent through it (Hackney’s mayor assisted in the callout on Twitter). But most of Lewis got out and collided with him.
As she notes: “It’s incredible how generous people are with their time and their stories. I came back from the twigs feeling like I was going to get a shot of adrenaline.
Its colorful cast partly testifies to Hackney’s inner diversity: every race, color, gender and, of course, age, show. But it is also a reflection of his artistic eye, which, as evidenced by the images, brings out the strange in the ordinary.
“My past is fine. I married a gangster who thought he was Humphrey Bogart, ‘says Renee, 100.
‘Common’, of course, is a misnomer. One reminder of this project is that people come in all shapes and sizes. There is no ‘ordinary’ Hackney resident. Lewis notes that everyone is surprisingly, welcome, undeniably different.
Our life’s journeys are nothing but “linear”, she says: “We don’t just turn the page, we get a little older and smarter and move towards the end. It’s, well, quite tumultuous.” There is no one: “Do it this way and it will happen.” Life is different for everyone. “
The short biographies that accompany each photo (click on the gallery below to read them) prove Lewis to be a talented listener as well as a photographer. With care, photography is an intimate art. “People are open,” she says. They share. Pensioner who did skydiving. A 30-year-old mother diagnosed with bowel cancer during pregnancy. The value of a 100-year-old former gangster
Notably, it’s easy to “forget”, Lewis observed angrily: “They’re all just my neighbors – it shows you don’t have to look far to be impressed by people.” “
For the next five years, prints of 100 separate photographs will be hung on the wall of the three-story high atrium at the Britannia Amusement Center in Shockdach Park, Hackney. As Lewis notes: “Everyone is there.”
One Hundred Years: 0-100 Years Community Photos. Published by Hoxton Money Press.
Photography by Jenny Lewis