STEVE HOLLINGSHEAD

I suppose you could blame/thank Steve Jobs for all this: before 1993, a darkroom (in which deadline-facing Graphic Designers could use clunky great machines to enlarge/reduce/duplicate chunks of text and half-tone images for desperate last-minute amendments) was an essential element of most design studios. Almost overnight, thanks to the arrival of the Apple Macintosh, this ‘room’ became redundant. also thanks to the Apple Mac, a number of my clients realised they’d save lots of money by doing the work themselves, so I became (partially) redundant as well.

The upside was, with a lot more time at my disposal, I could indulge my increasing interest in street photography & utilise this now vacant space to start processing and printing my own b/w photographs – something not undertaken since art college days over a decade earlier.

The first Grand Projet idea came following a slideshow presentation of hundreds of local images as part of a Totally London Bankside Weekend event in Autumn 2003. Why not go one step further, with an attempt to celebrate London’s unmatched cultural variety in a single display presented as a ‘wall’ of images? Why not indeed.

So, The London Wall Project was born. Launched in Summer 2004 as a 300-image presentation at the recently opened TeaSpace Gallery in Shoreditch. It then spent a month at City Hall before transferring to Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital for a six-month display. A second phase (now 400, larger images) came to the Spitz Gallery in Spitalfields in 2006 and again transferred to City Hall before moving to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital for a few months. A third manifestation, Event: London’s Rituals, Festivities and Eccentricities became the closing exhibition at the much-missed Spitz venue late 2007, accompanied by a limited edition publication of the same name.

1001 Days in London could be seen as a logical successor to the London Wall Project, only now with several more years’ experience and a couple of extra thousand films on the shelves for material. So far, this project has had three physical manifestations in the Southwark/Southbank area with the digital/blog version currently resting at just over half completion. a further, final update is in the pipeline,
it’s just that I’ve been a bit distracted with other things lately …

And so we come to these current distractions: London In Common and the London Archive Projects – interlinked undertakings resulting from a thorough(ish) lockdown-inspired reappraisal of an archive now consisting over 150,000 London photographs. The former presents the city in terms of its tribes, cultures and social events, the latter taking a more lateral approach, focusing on recurring themes and abstract ideas that emerged during the long process of reappraisal.

As you can see, only the first of these has so far reached the unveiling stage. I’m on the case with the other project(s) &, all things being well, hope to have something more to show sometime in 2022