Photographer Chris Dorley-Brown’s latest book, The Corners, is a portrayal of London which does what it says on the tin. Meticulously positioned, Chris’ images are of street corners many London dwellers will know well, shooting the buildings recognisable from early morning commutes to drunken stumbles home.
Chris has lived and documented East London — an area of London It’s Nice That is nestled within which makes these images particularly pleasing to us — for over 30 years. In turn, he knows the tropes of these streets, the neighbours you’d spot and the rising development which regularly shapes the area. Due to his understanding of the area, the photographer’s images aren’t ones he waited hopefully to happen, he’s staged them.
Shot digitally, each image is composed of lots of smaller ones. Chris would snap away when he saw something interesting happen, return and shoot again, and then merge the scenes together into one cohesive whole. As The Corners’ publisher, aptly the East London-based Hoxton Mini Press writes, “These ultra-sharp street photographs of corners in East London are composed from multiple exposures, a technique that enables Dorley-Brown to play out different arrivistes simultaneously, creating surreal, dream-like scenes,” explains the publisher. “An Orthodox Jewish family and a woman pushing a pram appear on the street corner of a half-demolished building, passing each other by, when in reality they were never there at the same time.”
As a result, Chris’ images are so perfect it would either fool photography novices or, those in the know about the medium will try to spot how on earth he’s managed such a clean image in the big smoke. “Akin to film stills, these images show the street corner as a location in flux, a place of intersection and momentary interactions, and a metaphor for the ever-changing face of East-London.”
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