During June and July 2015 Alexandra Palace commissioned me to run a photography course ‘Give Your Future a Shot” for young people 16-25 as a part of their ‘War on the Home Front’ exhibition. This project, inspired by the use of Alexandra Palace as a refugee and internment camp during the First World War, was aimed at teaching participants how to use photography to give themselves a voice, uniting and intertwining this interesting period of history with the lives, experiences, and stories of young people today. Read more here.
The London Radical Bookfair 2015 in their second year running championed radical publishing – from its independent bookshops and publishers to its DIY-ers; the small press, self-publishers, and zinesters.
The LRB took over Bishopsgate Institute last year as the first event of its kind to bring together UK’s radical publishing and self-publishing communities. It was a joy and a privilege to be asked by Nik Górecki from Housmans Bookshop to document the fair once again, this time in a renovated Victorian warehouse at 47/49 Tanner Street near Tower Bridge.
Alan Gilbey, curator/guide, BAFTA Award-winning writer and East End guru:
‘Tales From The Ditch’ is an anthology of tales less told from London’s ‘little bit of rough’, as narrated by an eclectic selection of local authors, historians, storytellers and musicians, who were hidden in all the nooks and crannies of the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall. Each of these performances is a miniature, lasting five minutes, before bells are rung and you have to move on to find the next one. It’s a bit like speed dating, except you don’t have an awkward bit at the end where London history tries to get your phone number.
© Asya Gefter
There was a pub and a bit of a sing-song. An opium den clouded with myth. A musical melodrama about ‘A Child Of The Jago.’ A clinic where you could feel the health giving powers of electricity and sunlight.
Who created the Ditch? Perhaps Shoreditch Council just sheered the tops off a lot of Victorian houses and dumped an Edwardian Town Hall on top? With its winding corridors and sudden dead ends, secret staircases and non-sequiter windows, it is the perfect geophysical venue for a myth defying night of Eastside stories.
‘It’s the rich wot get the pleasure and the poor wot get the rich.
All of us are lying in the gutter, but some of us are dreaming of The Ditch.’
Yesterday we got the news that the film made the competition’s official TOP 15 list and will be screened this Saturday afternoon at 1.30pm as part of a special programme at One Stop Film Shop, being held in partnership with Little White Lies in Old Street Station.
Hope to see you there for screenings of Top 15 short films about London!
‘You’ve got to grower a thicker skin’, many of us hear all too often. Horrible news pour from everywhere and so we empathise in small dozes, immunise ourselves and carry on.
Fortunately, these Nigerian girls do not live in the north-east where abductions take place. I am so grateful to have met them. Now when I feel powerless and angry at what is going on in the world, I look at their faces and remind myself that the news are about real people.
© Asya Gefter
Rowan Arts have asked me to photograph the annual May Day gathering on Camberwell Green for their Clerkenwell History project. The Muscovite in me had mixed feelings on the day when a display of Soviet-era-like ceremony took place on Red Square, for the first time since 1991. But Britain is Britain, and here are the many beautiful faces of Londoners.
© Asya Gefter
Although Alan Gilbey currently doesn’t run regular walks, he does create very special events; strolls through the side streets of East London to secret venues where a dozen of local writers and performers await to tell you tales less told.
These ‘Speed History’ events happen several times a year. This year’s March event took place at the 19th century Bishopsgate Library and i was invited to follow Alan and the gang.
© Asya Gefter