‘You forget how remarkable people are’: photos reveal the colourful lives of ordinary folk

One hundred intimate pictures of east Londoners– aged in between one and 100– commemorate the extraordinary lives of common individuals

One of the jobs takeaway suggestions is that individuals come in all shapes and sizes. Our life journeys are also anything but “direct”, she says: “We dont simply keep turning the page, getting slightly older and smarter and moving towards the end point. People open up, she states.

For the next 5 years, prints of the one hundred different images will be displayed on the wall of the three-storey high atrium of The Britannia Leisure Centre in Hackneys Shoreditch Park. As Lewis notes: “Everyone exists.”.

Compassion, joy, friendship, hurt, durability, loss: Hackney-based professional photographer Jenny Lewis satisfied with the complete gamut of human feelings and life experiences throughout her latest task.

Hundreds of photographs. All for one, single, spirit-lifting, hope-giving celebration of life in all its fullness.

Ive got a previous alright. I married a gangster, he thought he was Humphrey Bogart, states 100-year-old Renee

Ordinary, of course, is a misnomer. One of the jobs takeaway suggestions is that individuals come in all shapes and sizes.

The brief biographies that accompany each image (click the gallery below to read them) show Lewis to be a gifted listener as well as photographer. Done with care, photography is an intimate art. Individuals open, she says. They share. The pensioner who took up sky diving; the 30-something mom who was diagnosed with bowel cancer while pregnant; the centenarian previous gangsters moll.

Her technique owed more to serendipity than science. A handful of her topics she satisfied through buddies. A few were sent her way (the mayor of Hackney assisted with a call-out on Twitter). However many Lewis simply bumped into while out and about.

Numerous photos. Four years of work. 3 separate lockdowns. All for one, single, spirit-lifting, hope-giving celebration of life in all its fullness.

Our life journeys are also anything however “linear”, she states: “We dont just keep turning the page, getting slightly older and wiser and moving towards completion point. Its, well, rather troubled. There is no: do it in this manner which will happen. Life is different for everyone.”.

As she keeps in mind: “Its incredible how generous people are with their time and their stories. I d come back from shoots feeling I d had a shot of adrenaline.”

The initial concept was easy: to picture one hundred individuals aged one to a hundred. Apart from their age, the only other terms was that they lived in the very same east London borough as her.

It is easy to “sort of forget” how impressive individuals are, Lewis observes ruefully: “They are all just my neighbours– it reveals you do not need to look really far to be influenced by people.”.

One Hundred Years: Portraits of a neighborhood aged 0– 100 is published by Hoxton Mini Press.

Her colourful cast is partially statement to Hackneys intrinsic diversity: every race, colour, gender and, obviously, age, is on show. Its also a reflection of her creative eye, which, as the photographs testify, draws out the odd from the normal.

Photography by Jenny Lewis.

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