A Time And A Place… For Everything will demonstrate Soho as a never ending, constantly changing organism which lives, grows and breathes through its community. This being both the people and places you see.
In collaboration with the Museum of Soho and specific local photographers we aim to showcase a selection of archival images, from past to present taken around Soho, aiming to represent its history by celebrating the consistent diversity and long standing community of the area. All photographers have lived and worked prolifically within Soho standing the test of time, understanding the intricate qualities and livelihood of the outstanding subjects they chose to depict. Each one provides us with an insight into moments within an area of overwhelming dynamism.
All three artists, Robert Stallard, Strangeways and Damien Frost, are amateur photographers, simply members of the community capturing their own personal moments. Sharing with us the viewer their perspective and experiences whilst living and working within Soho.
In the early to mid-1970’s Robert Stallard, Architect lived in Gerrard Place Soho London W1. An architectural student during this period, Robert decided to document Soho for his final dissertation to discuss and analyse his thoughts and ideas on how growth and development could take place in Soho without losing its unique character, - “in 1972 the area had been described by the Chairman of Westminster Planning Committee as a ‘down-at-heel-neon-lit-slum’!”
“Living in Soho, a square mile still barely touched by modern development in central
London, one became very aware of its cosmopolitan character, its sizeable community
living and working in affordable accommodation, its smells, its network of ancient streets
and buildings - everything that was uniquely the ‘village’ of Soho. Neighbouring Covent
Garden was being redeveloped with apparent lack of respect to its community and
character, and ‘grand’ schemes were afoot for Piccadilly Circus. There was an awareness
among the Soho community that this type of insensitive development would be a
catastrophe for Soho.”
Strangeways holds a strong fascination with the human condition, his creativity being driven by his curiosity. Providing a raw composition of the subject, as if the viewer has stumbled across the scene, S Ways wishes the viewer to encounter the subjects with as many safety nets removed as possible. When photographing his subjects, S Ways relies on capturing the moment within one shot. With a roll of film consisting of 12 images as well as the nature of the circumstances, he would either get the shot or not. Motivated by being confronted with the unknown, it demands quick responses and acting intuitively with the situation or subject. In order to obtain these images it required remaining open and nonjudgemental.
These images were a way of S Ways challenging himself. Through his curiosity with others
it transpired that he was more curious about himself and who he is. Through confronting others, he confronts himself.
The images presented have been shot within Soho from 2013 onwards, erratically. Each image is 11x14 inches. Shot on tri-x (sometimes HP5) and developed them in Rodinal. Printed at home on Adox or Ilford fibre multigrade paper, using Ilford paper developer in a split-grade printing method, and archived with selenium toner.
Damien Frost is a graphic designer currently working in Soho. His work is centred around the ‘random encounter’ being ‘attracted to people on the fringes, whether that be on the fringe of fashion or gender or just what is considered mainstream’. All Damien’s subjects have been photographed on the streets of Soho. Over a period of one year Damien went through this meticulous process of capturing a unique sitter as part of his ‘A Photo a Day’ series, really immersing himself in the culture of this microcosm we call Soho. There is a distinctive juxtaposition between the nature of the subjects, being eccentric outsiders on the fringe of society, and the structured photography using a similar format for each photograph. Characters, who inevitably can be ostracised within mainstream society, appear dignified and at ease. Since the closing of the infamous Madam Jojo’s, a central hub of the Damien’s archetypal subjects, he argues that
‘a culture is more than just a venue and shouldn’t feel defeated just because a venue closes… while it may become a bit more fragmented for a while the culture lives on and grows and you can’t kill this by shutting down a venue.’
All three of our photographers are diverse in their approach to this grand subject. Stallard provides us with a unique snapshot into a particular era of time when even in 1973 development was looming. Strangeways takes you on a journey, bringing the viewer into a personal relationship with his subjects, being a master at capturing the unknown. Damien glamourizes and celebrates the bizarre and eccentric within this unique pocket of London.