For the sake of posterity.

In the future we will look back and smile, or laugh, at the things that have come before, at how primitive it all was, when we were younger, or from our parent's time, or even from the archaic age of our grandparents - the fashion, the shops, modes of transport, architectural styles, even the street signs and traffic lights of our built environment. 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 drunken nights out, blurry poorly framed snaps of people's offspring, generic holiday 'snaps' of some crap statue somewhere shit, inadvertently also capturing a scene filled with other stupid tourists taking pictures of other shit with other cheap digital cameras. Ultimately, nothing was said, and no stories of value were 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 usually reveal the locals (complete with at least one person turning their head just as the exposure fires), having come to pose and posture in the knowledge that they'd be captured on glass plate for posterity. In doing the same these days, you're more likely be approached by some jobsworth 'security' guard insisting that you can't photograph this or that, but that is for another day.

Shot in analogue, in part for its archival qualities, but mostly because I prefer the medium to clinical and soulless digital nothing, my aptly titled 'For the sake of posterity' body of work is an informal and long-term project that seeks to record our (my) contemporary time, and the ongoing layered history of London's urban environment, and life within it, with a nod to the future and wink towards said posterity. This is a personal work to satisfy my desire to record life for the sake of posterity and is shot on analogue 35mm, medium and large formats.

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.

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.

As I build upon this project - through the rolls of film, traipsing back-and-forth to the lab, endless self-scanning of negatives and post-production work, not to mention the financial costs, I slowly build a body of work that will one day take photobook form. After all, the past is the future.