“This summer was just a dream, and I hope that these images help to capture a little bit of that,” says photographer Max Miechowski of his latest series Burgess Park. “After moving to southeast London in 2017, Burgess Park became one of my favourite places in the city,” he continues. “The atmosphere there is like nothing I had experienced before, and I felt drawn to spend time in the park and to photograph the space and its community.”
Having documented the area since his move in 2017, it wasn’t until this summer – one of the hottest on record – that the project really took off. On one of his first visits to the park, Max took a portrait of a young woman called Shantelle and a wider shot of the park’s barbecue area; two images which are now some of his favourites from the series. “They helped me to see what potential there was in the work,” he recalls. “The portrait of Shantelle is representative of the park community, but also of something much bigger. The light on her is beautiful, she looks confident and powerful, and happy. She appears optimistic about the future, and I hope that when people look at the image, and the rest of the work, they do too.”
Throughout the series, intimate portraits are scattered among images of the sun-beaten grass and surrounding area. “I take the time to talk to the people I photograph, developing a relationship before taking out my camera and making these honest and intimate portraits,” Max tells It’s Nice That. “It’s only after spending time with someone that I know if I’ll be able to make a good portrait of them or not.”
A stand-out factor of the series is clearly Max’s use of light. Photographs appear as if washed with an orange glow, rendering Max’s subjects in a perpetual summer where the sun never seems to set. “There are a few things I look for when deciding who to photograph, but the main thing is the light,” he says. “Fortunately the long days provided lots of beautiful light to work with, so then it was just a case of talking with different people and going from there.”
Ultimately, however, Burgess Park is a portrait of one community which in turn represents something much bigger. Not only does it communicate the strength and importance of community, wherever you are, but it advocates for diversity and multiculturalism within such communities. “The park is a truly special place and is made so by the people that use it,” Max concludes, “The local community is diverse and multicultural, and for me, Burgess Park is a perfect example of the benefits of adopting a positive and inclusive attitude towards belonging to a wider community.”
Burgess Park will be on show at Printspace in London for two weeks following a private view on 13 December.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.