EXTRAORDINARY PHOTOGRAPHS OF LONDON STREET PEOPLE, 70S-90S.
The street is my chosen space (and therefore my studio). My preoccupation with making portraits of the homeless and depicting aspects of their lives is deeply personal and my camera is the medium through which I have built rare and extraordinary friendships. I view photography as a celebration of life. My photographs are also self-portraits, inasmuch as the photographer is always present in each photograph, hidden only by the limitation of the lens; a 360° angle would show the complete picture. In the physical sense I am very much a part of each picture and acutely conscious of this when “reading” my images. Photographer-viewers would also be aware of this; the non-photographer onlooker perhaps less so.
In his core essay to my published photographs, John Berger quotes the cogent words of Simone Weil. “To love one's neighbour is a question of being able to ask simply: What is your torment? Of knowing that affliction exists, not as a statistic, not as an example from a social category labelled ‘underprivileged,’ but as something which happens to a human being, exactly comparable with us, who one day was struck and marked down with a mark that is like no other, by affliction. And to know this it is sufficient - but indispensable - to be able to look at this person with recognition and attention.” Berger continues, “The photographs are close-ups not in the photographic but in the human sense of the term. Yet the men and women who are their subjects, are normally in everyday life ignored, or passed over, as if they were not visible, not there. When we encounter one of them in the street, we tend to look away. In certain cities the authorities of so-called law and order forbid the homeless access to the most frequented parts of the city.”My entire archive from the '70s to the present day is a memory bank of those I have known and those friends I have lost. people.virginia.edu
All images © Moyra Peralta