Daily Grind Of A South London Vicar Captured In Photos

Rachel Stoplar
By Rachel Stoplar Last edited 29 months ago
Daily Grind Of A South London Vicar Captured In Photos
A meeting of faiths. Good Friday, courtesy of Jim Grover.

Chances are that when you think of a vicar, your mind leaps straight to a peaceful village in the Home Counties, and possibly to a neat table laid out with biscuits in the church hall.

Photographer Jim Grover captures a rather different world in his series Of Things Not Seen: A Year in the Life of a London Priest, now on display at the Oxo Tower.

He followed his own local vicar Kit Gunasekera round his south London parish for a year, observing an oft-overlooked aspect of our city. It's a frequently prosaic story, encompassing bus stops and care homes, food banks and community groups.

Grover shot the series on his Leica Rangefinder in black and white, a nod to the pioneering photo-essay Life of a Country Doctor by Eugene Smith (1948). His portrait of Gunasekera visiting a bed-bound parishioner recently won a prize chaired by titan of photojournalism Don McCullin — recommendation enough for us.

We love the ambiguity here: while the camera angle tilts upwards in hope at the church and the bright sky, Gunasekera looks down to the pavement, weighed down by the cello case. Going To Work, courtesy of Jim Grover.
Grover balances the juxtaposition of the sacred and the ordinary: the elaborate stained glass in the background is foregrounded by Frosties cereal, Typhoo tea and Iceland carrier bags. Foodbank Collection, courtesy of Jim Grover.
A fish and chips bulk buy. Quiz Night, courtesy of Jim Grover.
Day Centre, courtesy of Jim Grover.
The prize-winning shot: With Floris, courtesy of Jim Grover.

Of Things Not Seen: A Year in the Life of a London Priest is at gallery@oxo until 20 March 2016. Admission is free.

Last Updated 02 March 2016