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New book documents the diversity of faces in Shoreditch

PUBLISHED: 17:48 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:48 07 March 2017

Mick Taylor, local resident. Picture: Barbara Asboth

Mick Taylor, local resident. Picture: Barbara Asboth

Barbara Asboth

Photographer Barbara Asboth took pictures and interviewed residents and visitors, creating a visual cross-section of the area

Tanya Peixoto, owner of Bookartbookshop. Picture: Barbara AsbothTanya Peixoto, owner of Bookartbookshop. Picture: Barbara Asboth

Faces of Shoreditch (Amberley), the new book by Barbara Asboth, is documenting the variety of people who inhabit and walk the streets of Shoreditch, from bookshop owners to residents and music students to community workers.

“I think there are enough books about artists and hipsters,” says Asboth. “I did try to get a good variety because when I started to research a bit into the area to get an understanding of the history of it, I did realise that it is quite a working class neighbourhood still and there are a lot of residents who lived there before it became trendy.”

Photographing and interviewing each person, she has managed to take a cross-section of the area – some love it, some are just passing through, some miss what it used to be and some are excited about its future.

A local resident, Wesley, says: “I’ve lived here for 25 years and just love it. Oh it’s changed. My street now is upmarket, beautiful houses. They say the east end is all lowlifes, but that’s bulls**t; it’s right up there.”

Richard, former lorry driver. Picture: Barbara AsbothRichard, former lorry driver. Picture: Barbara Asboth

Tom, who has also lived here for more than seventy years is less enamoured with the changes: “Things used to be different, and they were mostly illegal. There were the so-called lock-ins – everything else closed at 11pm so you went into one of these places after that and only crawled out at maybe 4am the next morning. That’s all gone now, sanitised. It’s a real shame.”

In general, people have a positive view of the place, and are proud of its variety.

Asboth arranged to meet some of the subjects, including our Gazettes editor Ramzy, but used the traditional method of approaching people when walking around the area.

Not everybody agreed; half of the people she asked weren’t keen to have their picture taken.

Anoushka, music student.  Picture: Barbara AsbothAnoushka, music student. Picture: Barbara Asboth

“I think when you do this sort of photography you’ve got to be prepared for people to say no and it’s not personal. If you took it personally I don’t think you’d get very far!”

There are around 80 people profiled in the book, but she took several hundred pictures: “I’d love the do an exhibition...if something comes up!”

Faces of Shoreditch, Amberley, £14.99, amberley-books.com/faces-of-shoreditch.html

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