For the last three years London photographer Jenny Lewis has been shooting the various artists and makers populating Hackney in their East End studios. Home to more artists than anywhere else in Europe, this isn’t the first time Hackney has been mined as a creative hub and in all likelihood, it won’t be the last. So far Jenny, who has lived in the area for 20 years, has captured over 80 subjects in their work environments, including Martino Gamper, Anna Lomax and Michael Marriott.
During her time shooting the ongoing series, Jenny has noticed a shift, and what started out as a celebration has taken on more of an elegiac tone as her subjects have begun to sell up and move on, by choice or more often, by necessity. The story is a familiar one: artists pushed out by rising rents and development schemes. “The borough’s creative community is struggling and it feels like an important time to stick together,” she tells us. Increasingly, people are giving up their studios and working from home.
Stripped-back, revealing and intimate, there’s something of the anthropological in Jenny’s photographs, and given the borough’s changing landscape, also an air of vulnerability. Whether or not the steady creep of gentrification can be slowed, the series largely continues to celebrate the borough as the city’s creative centre.