Children dangling their feet above the water in Lee Valley Park on a warm sunny day, photograph by Polly Braden & David Campany
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East London Photo Stories book review

Hoxton Mini Press celebrate their fifth anniversary with the publication of East London Photo Stories, a fascinating photography-book documenting the ever-changing face of the East London.

The book features stunning images from 14 photographers documenting the faces and places of local neighbourhoods including Columbia Road Flower Market and Lee Valley Park. It includes a map showing the area in which each project was photographed and has original text by Rachel Segal Hamilton.

The people of East London

The book opens with a story about local resident Joseph Markovitch who has lived in East London for over 86 years. The photographer follows him on his daily journey through the busy streets of Hoxton and Shoreditch, amid new coffee shops, graffiti-covered walls and fashionistas sporting newest trainers. The photographs highlight the contrast of old and new, and serve as a metaphor for the ever changing face of East London. Photographs are supported by contemplations from Markotvitch on his life in East London.

Photographer Chris Baker documents communities that come together around at East London’s most established leisure venues, including the iconic football pitches at Hackney Marshes.

Photographer Jenny Lewis has been documenting the moment women become mothers with a series of photographs of Hackney women with their new born babies photographed within 24 hours of birth. Women from a multitude of cultural backgrounds are united with the same shared experience.

Dougie Wallace, a street photographer who lives in Bow, is widely recognised for his long-term social documentary projects and a distinct direct style of expressive street photography. In the book he explores the wild night-life in Shoreditch in the early nineties, capturing youths in flamboyant outfits in the middle of the dance floor.

The places of East London

Several photographers explore parts of East London that don’t receive a second glance from passers-by, their beauty lost in the rattling speed of every-day life. The neighbourhoods are depicted honestly, finding beauty in the grittiest of places.

Photographer Freya Najade has created dream-like images of the lush greenery surrounding Regent’s Canal.

Columbia Road, famous for its Sunday flower market is one of the most photogenic markets in East London. Yet, the photographer Johanna Neurath decides to take a different take on capturing the beautiful flowers. She points her camera to the ground and snaps the rubbish-strewn pavement where cigarette buds mix with crushed rose petals in muddy puddles.

Photographers David Campany and Polly Branden are also inspired by East London’s dirty underbelly. They cycle through the Lee Valley and capture the area before the 2012 Olympic Games when it was industrial area full of scrap yards, dirt bikes and travellers.

Zed Nelson’s photograph of a couple kissing on a boat floating on an algae-covered Regent’s Canal is featured on the cover of the book.

The photographers of East London

As much as this book is about the people and places of East London, it also represents the personal stories of the photographers who captured them.

The photographers featured in this book have all lived in East London for some time and feel a special bond with the area they chose to capture.

Zed Nelson, the author of the cover picture, moved to Hackney when he was three years old. After many years travelling around the world, he came back to photograph the area he grew up in and to celebrate its and clash of cultures, from people and streets to swans and parks.

Andrew Holigan moved to Dalston from New York in 1984 to start his career as a photographer. While hanging around his neighborhood waiting for work calls, he discovered a whole new world on the bustling streets around Ridley Road.

East London Photo Stories captures East London and its people at a moment of great change. Its range of topics and styles of photography offers something for everyone. Not only will it appeal to photography enthusiasts, but it will also appeal to those who love social history and the human story behind a picture. A beautiful visual archive that is a must-have for the East End lover’s coffee table.

three boys with bikes
Three boys stand with their bikes in a park in Hackney by Zed Nelson
Flowers on the ground
Flower-strewn pavement on Columbia Road Flower Market by Johanna Neurath


an old man, woman with a buggy and a young man stand on the street in front of a tall building
Joseph Markovitch and a stylish woman and man stand in front of a tall estate building in Hackney by Martin Usborne


Printed by Hoxton Mini Press, this book will be published on November 8 2018.

You can buy the book East London Photo Stories on the official website of Hoxton Minipress.

If you liked this article, you might also like David Granick’s East End in Colour.

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Dominika Kubinyova

Sun worshipper, coffee freak and a full-time plant parent

One thought on “East London Photo Stories book review

  • Ah, old Joe. He lived opposite me for a while just off the Roman. Is he still going strong??


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