It’s Nice That has teamed up with Kodak following the release of its Kodak Ektra smartphone. The phone is named Ektra after Kodak’s famous 1940’s camera, but unlike it’s analogue ancestor, it operates on the Android operating system and offers a camera with DSLR functionality, a 21MP camera, 4K video capture, RAW shooting mode and a DSLR style scene selection dial. In line with Kodak’s manifesto, headed “If the world can see. The world can change,” we handed the phone over to two London-based photographers and asked them to show us the world through their eyes. First up is the photographer lensing grime’s new wave, Vicky Grout.
During the last few years, the name Vicky Grout has become synonymous with London’s grime scene. Vicky has soared into prominence alongside grime’s new wave that’s been bubbling up from the maze of basements which form the underbelly of Hackney’s Kingsland Road. She started off photographing Newham Generals and Novelist at Visions, the same club which has since hosted the likes of Stormzy, Skepta and Drake. Now, despite her age — somehow, she’s only 20 — Vicky is the genre’s go-to girl, boasting a cool 45k Instagram following and a portfolio bursting with the kind of shots we’ll be revisiting for decades to come.
When she’s not taking to the stage with her favourite artists, Vicky can be found shooting editorials for adidas campus and The Debrief, Push, Clash, Sleek, Grind, Riposte, i-D, Hypebae and Time Out London, or commissioned work for the likes of Reebok, Nike and Patta. With such a breadth of experience at her disposal, we handed over Kodak’s first smartphone and asked Vicky to shoot the sights and characters of her favourite neighbourhood, Shoreditch.
Talk us through the moments you captured on film for this feature. Where did you go and who did you meet?
I decided to pick Shoreditch for this feature, as I felt that it would have the most different types of people and also, perhaps, the most interesting ones. I quite like how somewhere like Shoreditch which is known for its street art is also still just like any other part of London, with an abundance of rubbish everywhere. I bumped into some very interesting people, from Cynthia who was visiting London from Germany, to Allan and his dog Storm who was once a photographer himself, he was very pleased with the camera features of the Ektra!
How has London played into your photography practice?
I’m half Polish and was born and grew up there until I was four years old, when my family eventually moved to London — Kingston to be exact! I’m still living at home at the moment so I’ve been living there ever since.I think one of the best things about London is the music. I’ve always loved music which is why I ended up documenting it! I think that London, especially over the past couple of years, has produced so much amazing music, and is finally getting the recognition it deserves. I was probably around 14 years old when I first took my film camera into a gig and started photographing the shows and events I was going to. I think growing up and living in Greater London has always meant that I’ve had to travel further into and across London to do anything as my area doesn’t offer much! From the age of 16, 17 I’d always be going out in either east or south.
What has been the single most defining moment in your career as a photographer?
I’m not sure if there has been one defining moment, but a bit of a gradual process. I think the fact that I was documenting a lot of the grime scene towards the end of 2014 and the start of 2015 when grime was starting to have it’s moment again that it meant people were more likely to look at my work. I think I was quite lucky in terms of timing as I was purely shooting the raves I loved going to at the time!
What, or who, inspires you most about London?
Depending on who I’m shooting, I usually like to shoot my subject around the area that they are from in order to make the images seem a little more organic. Generally though I quite like to shoot in east — Shoreditch or Hackney — as the architecture is often quite industrial and brutalist which I love.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive back in the city from a trip?
The first thing I do when I get back after being away is have a lie down and read a book if I’m honest. I realised I haven’t been reading as much as I used to so I’ve gone and bought a whole load of books that I want to get through!