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Winners of Roman Road Market photography competition [photoessay]

After weeks of submissions, two judging sessions and hours of deliberation, our panel have decided on the winners of the Roman Road Market Then & Now photography competition.

Our entrants took inspiration from archive photographs of the market from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. We received a huge range of entries – from little white dogs to dustbin men clearing up at the end of the day.

The first round of judging was done by the market traders themselves, who cast their votes on their favourite images. The following day we met for our second round of deliberations with three professional photographers who live locally: Andrew Leo, Katinka Herbert and Robin Forster.

After lots of debate, the judges decided on the winner, two highly commended entries, and the remaining seven shortlisted photos that will be exhibited at the Idea Store Bow.

Along with the winners, you are all invited to the exhibition launch on Thursday 31st May at the Idea Store Bow. Speaking at the event will be Melanie McGrath, author of Pie & Mash Down Roman Road.

Roman Road Photographer of the Year

Linda Savini
Older lady walking down Roman Road market in the winter
Roman Road market on an ice-cold winter’s day

Savini: ‘Roman Road market stands resilient in its vibrant colours on a rainy ice-cold winter day. Roman Road Market mirrors its people: histories of the past intertwine with the present and enrich the future of the diverse and thriving East End communities’.

The judges were impressed with Savini’s composition and thought the moody skies were brilliantly atmospheric. They particularly liked the silhouette of the woman against the light. The wind, the rain and the cold didn’t stop Savini persevering with her camera – something the judges were really impressed with.

Highly commended

Massimo Lannetti
Shoppers buy jewellery at roman road market
‘Urgency yet not haste’

Iannetti: ‘I’d title this picture ‘urgency yet not haste’. In fact, besides the iconic locality portrayed by the background, what I was interested in was the ability of this neighbourhood market to partially give up on its main characteristic, haste and consumeristic sense of take-over, to leave a more peaceful and familiar urgency, much more in accord with the locality, not with the fast-pace typical of this environment and London as a whole.’

Both the panel of professional photographers and the market traders loved this image. Again, they were really impressed with its composition with the shoppers crowded around the stall.

They picked up on its energy and action, commenting on how it made the market look bustling, exciting and optimistic. Finally, they were impressed with the old-fashioned aspect of the market Iannetti managed to capture: the old Wheelwrights cart.

Samantha Jane
Rubbish collectors after Roman Road Market
Samantha Jane’s unsung market heroes

Jane: ‘This photograph captures some of the other people, other than the traders and other market staff, who have to be involved with the Roman Road Market for it to run successfully. One the traders leave there is still work to do.

‘With the increase in packaging materials since the archived photographs were taken, today in 2018 it’s even more important to have proper waste procedures in place. This happens soon after the market finishes.’

Our professional judging panel thought this photo had serious impact. Jane’s technical skill is apparent in the composition and the sophisticated use of perspective.

They loved how the image was backlit and thought the grading was beautiful. In terms of subject matter, they thought this image was the most unusual – the rubbish collectors are the unsung heroes of the market.

The other shortlisted exhibitors

The following images may not have been winners, but all showed outstanding qualities and were chosen as our shortlist of ten images to be exhibited at the Idea Store Bow from Thursday 31 May to the end of June.

Casey Smart
‘Kids awaiting their dinner, “Come on Mum”‘ by Casey Smart
Sukaina Huq
Couple walk arm-in-arm down Roman Road market
‘Community cohesion’ by Sukaina Huq


Claire Davis
Market trader points through the clothes on Roman Road Market
‘If you buy something you can take a picture’ by Claire Davis
Ioana Dragomir
Mirrors for sale at Roman Road market
‘Collapsed Reflection’ by Ioana Dragomir
Claire Davis
Colourful dresses for sale at Roman Road Market
‘Hanging dresses’ by Claire Davis
Rosie Vincent
Metal clips on the trade stand at Roman Road Market
‘Market mane’ by Rosie Vincent
Lara Ingle
Woman in a wooly hat walks down Roman Road market
‘The crafty cobblers’ by Lara Ingle


We would love to see you at the Then & Now gallery launch night on Thursday. Click here to find out more.

Since you’re already here, why not check out our gallery of old coloured pictures of Roman Road market.

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