East London Portfolio: Some East London Portraits

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The body of work from which these photos have been selected – of which I have published hundreds in weekly instalments over the last few months – is believed to be the largest collection of images by any single photographer covering this period in the East End. In their quality, their number, and their range, they will come to represent the eye of history – but it makes them especially interesting that they were taken by an insider. When he took these photographs, John Claridge was an Eastender looking at the East End. John was taking portraits of his own people.

Excerpt taken from an interview with gentle author, Spitalfields Life, who first published these photographs.
To read the full interview and see the remaining 14 photographs in this series, Click Here.

Caretaker at Wilton’s Music Hall, Wapping 1964.
“It said, ‘Please ring for caretaker.’ So I rang for the caretaker. I said, ‘Are you the caretaker?’
He said, ‘Yes.’ So I said, ‘May I take a photo of you?’ and he gave me this lovely smile.”

My Son, Spitalfields, 1982. “I went along on a home visit with the Salvation Army and I saw this picture on the sideboard. I said, ‘Is that your son?’ and she said, ‘Yes, he was killed in the war.’”

Man and Mannequin, Spitalfields 1965. “This was just off the market. He’s listening to a portable radio on earphones. It looks like he has a mate with him and their bellies are almost touching.”

Mates in Wapping, 1961 - “I think we were going down to the Prospect for a drink. I was seventeen years old, so everyone’s seventeen. It was Sunday and everyone’s got polished shoes. I haven’t been in touch, but they’re still around – I haven’t seen them for years.”

My Dad in the Back Yard, E13 1961 – “He had a deck chair and he sat in the garden with a
cup of tea. I said to him, ‘Just sit and don’t do anything,’ and he’d just laugh. Great times!
There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about him.”

Clocking Off, Wapping 1968.
“He was a neighbour and I arranged to meet him down at the warehouse after work.”

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