A beautiful new photo-book lifts the lid (or creaky door) to a number of studios in Hackney, east London, presenting a fascinating insight into the lives of these creative types for all those voyeurs who prefer to be carefully ensconced behind their coffee tables.
The images were shot over four years by Jenny Lewis, who has worked in the area for 20 years and found her subjects through the organic process of one artists recommending the next in their tight-knit east London community. The book, titled Hackney Studios and published by Hoxton Mini Press comes at a tenuous and critical time for artists in this strange and multifarious little corner of the capital: wider concerns around rising rents and gentrification are rife, of course; and highlighted by the recent battle to stop Vittoria Wharf in Hackney Wick being demolished.
Alongside the imagery, some of the snapshots are accompanied with little text-based insights into these people's lives; and as ever, it's intriguing to hear about the various working methods people employ. Sculptor Kevin Francis Gray, for instance, works 9 to 5 every day – "I need routine" – while Graham Rawle, an artist we very much like the sound of, declares that "Seven o'clock is Martini hour... It's a little moment of sophistication among all the squalor of my life."
Perhaps one of the most insightful quips comes from animator Mikey Please."The best work happens when I allow myself to take an absurd idea seriously," he says.