This Artist Photographed Old Kent Road In Its Entirety... Before It Changes For Good

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 12 months ago

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This Artist Photographed Old Kent Road In Its Entirety... Before It Changes For Good

It is one of the oldest roads in the country; once part of the ancient trackway Watling Street, running from Canterbury to St Albans. Later on, the Romans paved it. In 2019, the Old Kent Road is on the cusp of sizeable change. One artist has captured it before that happens.  

And when we say 'captured it', we mean the whole thing. Matthew White set a camera up, poking it through the sunroof of a pick-up truck, and driving up and down the 1.8-mile stretch of road, shooting with a remote as he went along.

White then pieced the images together, constructing them into an 11-metre-long concertina fold, that takes in every building on the Old Kent Road.   

The work is a homage to Ed Ruscha who did the same thing along west Hollywood's Sunset Strip in 1966.

Every building on the north side of the Old Kent Road
Every building on the south side of the Old Kent Road

White tells Londonist:

The image taken was quite a mechanical process and this is what is exciting about the work. I tried to rule out conscious decisions along the way (i.e not having control over composition). This makes the work a more thorough documentation of the road as it was in May 2019.

The work is really about documenting a historic and famous road as it stands. The Old Kent Road is soon to be under a huge change in its character and streetscape, but it's up to the viewer to take away from the work what they feel it means.

White at work

Every Building on the Old Kent Road, Anise Gallery, 13A Shad Thames, SE1 2PU, 10-14 June, 11am-5pm; 17-21 June, 11am-5pm. Entry is free

Last Updated 11 June 2019