10 Up-Close Photos Of East Enders In The 70s, 80s And 90s

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 42 months ago
10 Up-Close Photos Of East Enders In The 70s, 80s And 90s
Brick Lane, 1977

Photographer Paul Trevor has never been afraid to get up close and personal with East End life. For decades he has captured poignant scenes of perm-sporting doyennes on Commercial Street, flare-wearing Brick Lane Bangladeshis and kids making their own fun outdoors.

In his latest book, though, he gets seriously up close.

Brick Lane, 1992

In Your Face charts two parallel dimensions of East London — The City and Brick Lane.

Brick Lane 1982

Captured between 1977 and 1992 — but mainly in the 80s — these candid shots embody the gaping cultural canyon that lay between Brick Lane and the neighbouring City back then.

Brick Lane, 1982

In the Thatcherite 1980s, while the City boomed and yuppies chugged bottles of Becks and necked in the street, Brick Lane was still riddled with poverty — and had some right characters roaming about too.

Brick Lane, 1983

The black and white images, says Paul Trevor, were "provoked by Thatcherism and a polarised debate on market forces versus community values."

The City, 1989

Today, the City and Brick Lane remain vastly different areas of east London, but there's no doubt they've levelled out somewhat when it comes to wealth. Brick Lane residents from the 1980s might barely recognise the regenerated neighbourhood.

The City, 1989

Still, In Your Face reminds us of a diversity in London that can be at once something to be proud of, and  — when it comes to wealth distribution — something to be very concerned about.

The City, 1989

As Stephen McLaren says in the book's introduction: "Paul's imaginative leap was to get close, and closer still, and use his lightning-fast reflexes to capture a sliver of time as it passed across a person's face."

The City, 1989

And while the City folk in these photos may ooze excess and flamboyance, you can't necessarily tell which of any of these Londoners are more contented with life than the next.

The City, 1989

In Your Face by Paul Trevor is out now on Hoxton Mini Press, RRP £16.95 Hardback

All images © Paul Trevor

Last Updated 05 October 2020

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