Julian Lass

In May 2009 I often sat at the mirrored tables of a small café under railway arches. This was in the Elephant and Castle, and I would sit with my coffee gazing at the derelict and soon-to-be-demolished, 10-storey Heygate building opposite, the tiny figures of the few remaining tenants creeping along long shadowed terraces.

In those early summer months I carried the Elephant with me inside a small box, my camera, knowing that lingering here was the only way I could photograph this part of London, a multitude of chance encounters flickering before my eyes. More than once, people plainly indicated that they did not want to talk to this chancer-photographer and would ward me off with outspread hand, or would turn their backs.

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