Londonist Behind The Lens: Herschell Hershey

By Lindsey Last edited 128 months ago
Londonist Behind The Lens: Herschell Hershey

A series celebrating the talent of our friends over in the Londonist Flickr pool who make our site look pretty with their fabulous photographs. Here, they introduce themselves and share their favourite London shots.

This picture was taken in July 2006, just over a year before the New Piccadilly café closed. I was hovering outside taking the picture, when the owner Lorenzo Marioni burst out of the door, and surveyed Denman Street as if he owned it. Which, sadly, he didn’t.

I’m a freelance journalist, living in Upper Holloway, and my London largely consists of greasy spoons, cycle rides round East London to take pictures of graffiti, and masochistic trips to watch West Ham every second Saturday.

I first dabbled with photography at university in Aberdeen when I used to drag my Olympus OM10 along to gigs, and then make terrible black and white prints – some of which I published in my fanzine, Alternatives to Valium. That was it, really, until I read about Lomography, and got interested in the idea of carrying a camera at all times. Sadly, the Lomo had attitude problems, and couldn’t be relied on to take pictures when I asked it, so I got a great little digital Nikon instead, which was small enough to fit inside a trouser pocket. It worked brilliantly until I got overexcited trying to photograph a skateboarder, and dropped it on the asphalt.

Farina: This was taken at lunchtime in the Farina Café, Leather Lane, in Clerkenwell. This man doesn’t look very happy, but I like to think that he’s looking forward to that ice cream.

Moving to London four years ago was the real catalyst. It was unfamiliar place, and everything was new. I was living off the City Road, watching Banksy rats appear on the walls, and bumping into George (of Gilbert and George) buying alcopops in the corner shop. I got a new Nikon, a P1, and started taking pictures of graffiti, and of football crowds; particularly West Ham, where I have a season ticket. The great thing about the P1 is that it’s small enough to take pictures quickly, without anyone noticing, and it works well in low light. I’ve only ever been challenged once, when a very large man in the Bethnal Green café, E Pellici, took objection to my camera. I got the picture I wanted, but I had to talk myself out of getting thumped too. I have a new camera, a Canon EOS 40D, but I tend to save it for special occasions. I try to capture people’s natural expressions, and you can’t do that with a big camera.

Gilbert and George had given me a tour of Brick Lane for an article I was writing, and I asked if I could take their picture. They chose the background because they liked the graffiti, and choreographed themselves. I got an email from the guy who did the "Deth Kult" tag, saying how proud he was that they posed in front of it.

I’m now adjusting to living in a new area, Upper Holloway, but I find myself drawn to the East, for the graffiti, the football and the greasy spoons. It feels like a disappearing world.

For more, explore Herschell Hershey's Flickrstream.

If you're a Flickrist don't forget to join our group and tag your quirky London photos "Londonist".

Last Updated 17 May 2008