100 Faces of London
Part One of the London Trilogy
BY MILAN SVANDERLIK
Text Editor: Gerald Stuart Burnett
“London: a nation, not a city.”
“Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace,
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free,
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all the adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.”
“The face the index of a feeling mind …”
“Faces are but a gallery of pictures ...”
London is truly an extraordinary place and the thing that makes it most extraordinary is the people who have been drawn here and who have made their home in the capital: they have brought with them the most amazing diversity of traditions, cultures, and habits, of faiths, expectations and hopes, and these are reflected in the appearance of each and every sitter.
100 Faces of London features portraits of one hundred of these Londoners, reflecting the huge diversity of people who make up this great city of ours. All photographed within a twelve-month period, mostly during 2010, the youngest sitter was 20 and the oldest 100, with every effort made to embrace a broad range of ethnic backgrounds.
From the very outset, the aim was to invite only ‘ordinary Londoners’ to join the project (ie Londoners who were not famous, who were not familiar personalities, politicians, or well-known actors, all of whose faces have been frequently photographed and exhibited). However, once the photography was completed, not one of the sitters, any of whom might have been seen in the capital’s streets, parks or theatre foyers, could have been accurately described as an ‘ordinary Londoner’; they all proved to be quite extraordinary personalities and, perhaps inevitably, a few of them did have significant profiles in the life of the capital.
It must be emphasised that this was an artistic, not a commercial project. All the sitters were volunteers who kindly travelled to the project's temporary studio in Chiswick, where they were photographed just as they were, or as they wished to present themselves. Clothing, hairstyle, make-up, jewellery were left entirely at the discretion of the sitter, with the least possible influence from the photographer. The portraits were deliberately formal, designed to reveal the character and spirit of those who so richly illustrated the astonishing and delightful diversity that was the underlying inspiration for the project.
Images were uploaded to this gallery as they were captured, but once the 100th sitter had been photographed, it was then possible to proceed to the next stage of the project, the preparation of a ‘Heritage Book’.
The Heritage Book
Two copies of this ‘Heritage Book’ have been produced: they comprise high-quality prints of all 100 portraits, printed by the photographer, using archival paper, printing inks that incorporate high-density pigments, and with a binding designed for longevity. Epson UK has generously part-sponsored the production of these ‘Heritage Books’, with the kind donation of the printing materials.
One of the volumes has been accepted by the British Library at St Pancras and has been lodged within its photographic collections, to be retained for future generations.
An exhibition of ‘100 Faces of London’ was mounted in the Crypt Gallery at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, for a period of 5 weeks, from 11 June 2012. This coincided, as envisaged, with the London Cultural Olympiad.
Page Modified: 5th February 2019
© The copyright of all the images and designs related to the 100 Faces of London project and to the Heritage Book lies with Milan Svanderlik, London, UK.