For the sake of posterity.

In the future people will look back and smile, or laugh, at the things that have come before, at how primitive it all was, when we were younger - the fashion, the shops, modes of transport, architectural styles, even the street signs and traffic lights of our built environment - just as we did of our parent's time, or the archaic age of our grandparents. But there is a banal beauty in all these things, if you can see it, and I do, and so I document it.

Looking east along Commercial Road in the East End of London, obscured by a passing vehicle.
Commercial Road. c.2018.
Published: 15 Jul 2018 | Updated: / by Evan Skuthorpe

With the explosion of amateur photography at the very dawn of this millennium, thanks to the emergence of affordable mass-market digital compact cameras, followed closely by the birth of social media, and the almost-overnight sensation of smartphone technology a couple of years after that, our contemporary photographic age is now largely a cacophony of visual photographic noise - often overwhelming and underwhelming all at once. And all for the wrong reasons.

Suddenly, photography was cheap, figuratively and literally, becoming nothing but a flash-saturated record of shit drunken nights out, blurred poorly framed generic holiday 'snaps' of some crap statue somewhere shit - these scenes inadvertently also capturing other stupid tourists taking pictures of other crap - at first with cheap digital cameras with resolving power less than that of a budget roll of film put through some crappy Russian camera - and in contemporary times, with their telephone cameras. Meh.

Ultimately, nothing was being said and no stories of value were being told. But at least it was cheap, and thanks to social media, everywhere...

A bus stop scene on Aldgate High Street.
Aldgate High Street. c.2016.

Once-upon-a-time photography was a novelty, and photographers were too. Straight photographs from the 19th century would typically reveal a then-contemporary locale - a business frontage, a store, resplendent with a plethora of typography-based signage advertising the proprietor's various wares, a kind of shop signage long-since gone. Here, the townsfolk gather in front to pose and posture in the knowledge that they'd be captured on glass plate for posterity. It was a novelty for both the subject and the viewer of the photograph. By contrast, these days we're more likely to see a 'picture' of some dick's dick or some other dick's plate of shit food. Or some dick posing in front of his plate of shit food in some wanky restaurant catering directly to those kinds of dicks.

Anyway, this work is shot in analogue, in part for its archival qualities, but most pointedly because I prefer the medium to the clinical, intangible and soulless nothing of digital photography. Aptly titled 'For the sake of posterity', the body of work is an informal and long-term project that seeks to record our (my) contemporary time and age, but also the ongoing layered history of London's urban environment, and life within it.

Looking south down Berwick Street in Soho in London's West End.
Berwick Street. c.2018.
The demolition of the Fruit Exchange and White's Row car park seen from Commercial Street.
Commercial Street. c.2016.
Demolition and construction works along Middlesex Street and Goulston Street in London's East End.
Goulston Street. c.2018.

With a nod to the future and wink towards said posterity, this is a personal work to satisfy my desire to record a lived experience. As I build upon this project - through exposing the rolls of film, in the beginning traipsing back-and-forth to the lab and later developing the film myself, not to mention finding the time and motivation required to sit and scan negatives, to selectively edit which frames to scan, and the later post-production of chosen images ... then there's the financial costs of everything. All in all, I slowly build a body of work that will one day take photobook form. Or ... if I'm dead before then, it'll sit in a box until someone with a similar drive has the gumption and time to do something with it all.

The past is the future and I've always been an historian at heart and photographs that incidentally document a time, whether conceptually or otherwise, have always held fascination for me, and so, I too document the urban environment out of a passion for what is and what will, given enough time passed, have been. Contemporary photos will be old too, one day, stupid kids ...

The work is being shot on 35mm and medium format film.