Hackney photographer takes lockdown photos of neighbours
- Credit: Archant
Christian Sinibaldi now hopes to turn his photo essay of Evering Road People into a book, as a testimony to community spirit and to “help us remember these times”
Christian Sinibaldi started taking portraits of his Hackney neighbours during lockdown. “Our worlds have shrunk and our street has become our world,” says the freelance photographer.
As someone used to travelling and meeting people for work, he initially found the idea of lockdown difficult. But his photo essay of Evering Road, a mile-long residential street that links Clapton and Stoke Newington, made him turn his professional attention to the diverse life outside his front door.
Sinibaldi has lived on Evering Road for eight years and as he stopped and talked to his neighbours, he began to learn about its rich past. One revealed their family links to Reggie Kray, who murdered Jack ‘the hat’ McVitie during a party at number 97 in October 1967, another that their house was once inhabited by a Victorian anti-slavery campaigner.
There is also Peter the puppet-maker with one of his creations, ukelele teacher and Hackney Community Orchestra member Steve, who was born around the corner. Colin who grew up on the road, and Neil who came from Trinidad in the 60s and remembers the legendary Blues parties in Hackney’s basements and the neighbourhood street parties.
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“One morning I walked out and started seeing all these people at home,” says Sinibaldi. You can see the traces of people’s lives [through their] windows.”
Taking the photographs has changed his relationship with his street.
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“I’ve made a lot of new friends, and been promised lots of barbecues and beers when we’re all allowed to meet up. London, generally, is a fairly individualistic place and everybody minds their own business. Now, when I walk up and down, people say hello all the time.”
Christian started posting his pictures on Instagram, and has now launched a kickstarter fund to turn them into a book “a tangible object to help us remember these times.”
“I was incredibly surprised by the positive outcome of the project,” he adds.
“I have been a photographer for 15 years and never received so many direct messages thanking me for the project. For some it has been a trip down memory lane, but for many it has been a way of getting to know their neighbours and discovering even more about their surroundings. What started as a personal project has evolved into something for the community. People have used the instagram feed to express their love for our area and hopes for the future.
“The number of pledges to donate a copy of the book to a community member has proved the community spirit is strong in Hackney, it is a place that many people call Home independently of their origins.”