Young Tufnell Park photographer overcomes the odds to launch first exhibition

An aspiring young photographer overcame the odds to begin her artistic career.

Jess Norgrove, 26, who grew up in Huddleston Road, Tufnell Park, launched her first solo exhibition last week despite battling with mild ataxic cerebral palsy ever since she was born.

Jess wouldn’t let the condition, which affects muscle co-ordination and balance, stop her from following her passion for photography.

“I didn’t start walking until I was three,” Jess explained. “It still affects me now, but not as much as when I was younger.

“I have just learned to live with it. I’m not as strong as other people, my back isn’t too good and I think it will never go away, but I have learned to adapt myself to it.

“It’s quite incredible that I have managed all this.”

Jess, a former pupil at Yerbury Primary School in Yerbury Road, Upper Holloway, and Acland Burghley School, in Burghley Road, Tufnell Park, says Uncovered reveals a hidden world of off-limits locations. She said: “It’s scenes that I have come across in abandoned places. You see all these abandoned buildings and I wonder how many people actually get to go inside.

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“It’s about showing to the public places that they don’t really get to see.

“I go in with friends, but we never break in. We always find an access point through either an open window or a hole. It does take courage.

“I tend to go wherever I can because it’s about finding places and seeing them, and recording them before they get destroyed or turned into something else.”

The show was held at Space 54 in Rivington Street, Shoreditch, last week, and includes scenes from abandoned psychiatric hospitals and warehouses, railway stations, quarries and air raid shelters.

Jess discovered her passion for photography while studying A-level art at Acland Burghley. “My art teacher said that I had a good eye because of photos I had taken of a car rusting in the sea,” she said.

“He suggested that I took a photography lesson and it was from there that I fell in love with it. I have never looked back since.”

Jess, who now lives in Derby, added: “If someone 10 years ago had said ‘in 10 years time you’ll be a university graduate and have your first exhibition in London’, I would have told them not to be so stupid. But here I am.”

Jess’ photographs can be seen at