• Img_0664

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

Publication

A touching tribute to east London from Martin Usborne and a philosophical pensioner

Posted by Louie Zeegen,

Usually preoccupied with photographing and/or saving animals (check out his good deeds on his Twitter feed), Martin Usborne has taken a break to launch a series called Hoxton Minipress. Its first publication, I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years‘ focuses (perhaps unsurprisingly) on Joseph Markovitch who has lived in east London for 85 ½ years.

It’s an extended hardback version of a paperback Martin first produced in 2008, and at a time when east London is under the ever watchful eye of the global media during the Olympic games, it provides a hugely endearing, touching and ultimately humorous point of view of the East End from one of its longest-term residents.

  • Usborne_markovitch_-_03

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

As Usborne writes in the introduction about his first impression of Joseph: “My intentions were selfish, I thought he was amusing, I thought he was drunk” and readers might be forgiven for initially feeling the same. But Martin learned, and we learn that Joseph is a marginalised man with a unique take on the modern world.

From its cover you could be fooled into thinking it was just another selection of portraits of “old and interesting” people, but what’s inside is a fantastic photographic documentation of one of Hoxton’s most interesting residents, intercut with conversational quotes from Joseph which read like poetry.

Dealing with quintessential subject matter such as childhood, art and religion in a playful and comical way, Joseph unknowingly provides a thought-provoking commentary on the state of the world.

On the future he says: “Pavements will move, nurses will be robots and cars will get smaller and grow wings…I also have an idea that in about 50 years Hoxton Square will have a new market with amazing plastic rain-cover. So if it rains the potatoes won’t get wet. I don’t know what they will sell. Maybe bowler hats. Nothing much changes here in the end.”

“Pavements will move, nurses will be robots and cars will get smaller and grow wings.”

Joseph Markovitch

The book serves to show the side of Hoxton and east London that isn’t uber-trendy but is genuine and in many respects unaffected by east London’s ever-changing identity.

Although the text in the book is pretty profound, the photography is faultless and never tries too hard. Each photograph is as refreshing and poignant as the last and every page gives pause for reflection.

In all, the book as a whole is a moving experience starring an original ‘Eastender’ who at no point fails to make you think, laugh or just simply appreciate how first impressions aren’t gospel. Martin and Joseph have made a pretty delightful book and half the profits will go to the subject.

Martin plans to release a new book about east London every year under the Hoxton Minipress series with the first 100 sold including a print. Having set the bar so high, we can’t wait to see the next offering.

  • Usborne_markovitch_-_01_

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Usborne_markovitch_-_02

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Usborne_markovitch_-_05

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Usborne_markovitch_-_06

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Usborne_markovitch_-_07

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Usborne_markovitch_-_08

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Img_0666

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Img_0667

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Img_0671

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Img_0673

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Img_0675

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Img_0677

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

  • Img_0679

    Martin Usborne: I’ve Lived in East London for 85 ½ Years

Posted by Louie Zeegen

Most Recent: Photography View Archive

  1. Namsa-leuba-khoisan-int-list

    In the past we’ve spoken about Namsa Leuba’s work only in the context of her fashion shoots for WAD magazine and Comme des Garçons, but these commissions came about because of her personal exploration of Guinean culture in a series called Ya Kala Ben. She’s also explored the traditions of a tribe called the Khoisan, one of the most divergent peoples in the world. As with many of her projects these images seek to subvert traditional perceptions of African culture by experimenting with anachronistic costumes and environments, and as ever they’re incredibly striking.

  2. Bodiam-sa-int-list

    Most of the time you’ll find Michael Bodiam hunched in his studio, carefully manipulating lighting and sets to achieve perfectly balanced, perfectly lit compositions for fashion and editorial clients. He’s great at this, but well aware you can’t spend all your time indoors. So a few times a year he jets off to far-flung corners of the world with his camera to apply everything he knows about photography to sprawling landscapes and foreign cities. In this instance he’s found himself wandering through South America capturing the diversity of rural and urban life to be found there.

  3. Tomas_werner_dolphins-int-list

    When Tim Berners Lee invented the internet, surely, SURELY he had images like these in mind. Perhaps he had loftier aims, but today this is the sort of thing we’re really after online: pictures of a small, cute, fluffy dog, sitting on things we don’t expect, shot beautifully. The man behind these images is Slovakian photographer Tomas Werner, who took more than 100 pictures of the little Pomeranian in Miami, which have now been drawn together in a book called A Handbook for Dog Walkers published by Gost.

  4. Laurel-golio-dancexplosion-int-list

    After Little Miss Sunshine I feel like the world of American pageantry is something I understand implicitly. Young girls travel the country with their drug-addled grandparents, suicidal uncles and mute brothers desperate to prove their worth as dancers, cheerleaders, singers and acrobats. I assumed that Laurel Golio’s series of photographs at Dance Xplosion might dispel these cinematic myths but it seems this is a fiercely competitive world of high drama and emotion. Laurel’s photos show just how much these kids, as well as their parents, are focussed on success, twerking, tapping and tangoing their way to middle American superstardom.

  5. Andreaslaszlokonrath-neilpatrickharris-int-list

    Photographer Andreas Laszlo Konrath hasn’t been on the site for far too long but there’s two good reasons to rectify that now. Firstly he’s just shot Josh Brolin for the new-look, newly biannual Port magazine and secondly because this year marks a decade since he upped sticks and moved to New York. Andreas has a diverse practice that flits between self-initiated projects and commissioned portraits and he’s equally confident working in either milieu. We’ve decided to focus on his celebrity shots here and his Port covers (both Josh Brolin and Sam Rockwell) are good places to start. There’s something unflinchingly intimate about the eye contact Andreas often captures (see also Ewan McGregor, Kendrick Lamar and a half-naked Neil Patrick Harris) but he’s no one-trick pony, and from Bryan Cranston peering into the middle distance to the top of David Byrne’s head, he has a real talent for making us feel connected to these stars in a very visceral way.

  6. Morganlevy-int-list

    The “commissioned” tab on Colorado-based photographer Morgan Rachel Levy’s website is a pretty diverse place. It spans a project about public schools, a series made in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown and one collection about a map maker for Monocle among others, and nestled happily into the mix is this absolute stonker. 

  7. Farah-al-qasimi-int-list

    Photographer Farah Al Qasimi lives and works between Dubai and New York; her series The World Is Sinking depicts the areas of Dubai that prosperity forgets, all decayed McDonalds signs and bright murals surrounded by detritus. They’re great, I’m not sure if Farah uses high-saturation film or if Dubai is just consistently this sweet shade of saccharin – either way, I’m into it. She captures sand sculptures, bins and empty foyers with real aplomb. Farah graduated from Yale in 2012, and has since exhibited at Fotofest Abu Dhabi, New Yorks School of Visual Arts and the Meridian Art Center in Washington DC.

  8. List

    British photographer Carl Bigmore is living out a childhood obsession with the USA. The Londoner has just rounded off a project called Between Two Mysteries that’s seen him trawling the Pacific Northwest documenting the daily lives of its inhabitants; using personal pop culture references to contextualise the people he meets. “Since settlers followed the perilous Oregon Trail in search of prosperity in the 1800s,” he says, “the American imagination has left its imprint on the landscape. Oregon is forever haunted by the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s The Shining and its chilling analysis of the nation’s conflicted soul.”

  9. Gilesduley-legacyofwar-int-list

    A few months ago I had a beer with Giles Duley and conversation turned to what he was up to work-wise. He was relaxed, breezy even, when he told me he was hoping to launch a multi-faceted, multi-platform exploration of the ongoing effects of conflicts after they’ve supposedly ended. It sounded insanely ambitious; it also made whatever my professional plans were at the time seem pathetically puny. But on Friday, Giles’ project Legacy of War became a reality as it reached its £20,000 Kickstarter goal.

  10. Ohpearch-id-4-int_copy

    While casually knocking out impressive videos for Jungle, Oliver Hadlee Pearch has also been building up a fine portfolio of editorial photography. There’s a great atmosphere to his work; humour, poise and the impression that Oliver and his models have their tongues firmly in their cheeks. Even while performing incredible feats of synchronised dancing and photographing golden babes amongst Memphis furniture there’s an enviable sense of ease to his work, or rather confidence in the set-ups and their outcome. It’s refreshing to see someone with such a singular aesthetic running with it, and maintaining it so successfully.

  11. Avblp-ally-capellino-inty-list

    Fashion photographer Agnes Lloyd-Platt’s new lookbook for Ally Capellino’s SS15 campaign is an ode to bathroom dye jobs and co-ordinating your hair with your outfit colour at all times. She paired models with candy-coloured hair in all the best shades – peach, silvery grey, cobalt blue, and mint green – with accessories in corresponding colours.

  12. David-ryle-int-list-2

    It’s rare that mere mortal people can be made to look like superhumans without the aid of some fancy dress, but this series Skihopp (which is Norwegian for ski jump) by photographer David Ryle does it effortlessly. It follows a professional ski jumper as he ascends to the top of an impossibly high structure, pauses for a moment at the top to contemplate what he’s about to undertake, and then jumps, soaring effortlessly through the sky.

  13. Claudialegge-int-2

    Just off the coast of Cancun there is an area of ocean floor that has been transformed into a mysterious sculpture park. Aside from the occasional tourist and bull shark, it’s pretty deserted but for the stone figures scattered in the white sand, placed there by artist Jason deCaires Taylor back in 2009. Claudia Legge, a London-based photographer with a passion/addiction for shooting underwater, found out about this creepy tranquil sculpture park when she was in Mexico and wasted no time in getting below the surface with her camera to check it out. We spoke to her about the pretty breathtaking results of her dive, and the technical difficulties of doing such a shoot.