Exhibition Review: Elefest Photography Exhibition

Elefest Photography Exhibition
Subways two, four and six,
Elephant and Castle, London, November


It’s not often I get to see art on show close to my workplace, so it was a welcome surprise to find an exhibition in the subway system beneath the tower block in which I work, writes Mark Drinkwater.

The exhibition kicked off the annual Elephant and Castle film and photography festival in south London.

Some photographers had drawn on the monstrous local architecture for inspiration. But the most inspired work came from a group of photojournalism students from the nearby London College of Communication who documented those who live or work in the area.

Zane Mellupe’s study of funeral directors, all dour and detached, contrasted wonderfully with Nicola Dracoulis’s ultra vivid portraits of the local Latin American community.

But it was Dana Popa’s project that stood out as the most innovative. The only images to carry notation in Braille as well as print, her seemingly mundane photographs, with only the foreground in focus, imaginatively captured landmarks that Alf, a local blind man, has used to orientate himself around the area for the past 20 years.

This exhibition provided a fresh perspective on how other people perceive the area, and served as a reminder that it is the diversity of communities that makes an area so rich and fascinating, not the buildings.

Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in Southwark, south London

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