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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

24.02.2018

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“I’ve been working very late at night/early in the morning on this series – in fact I’m only really interested in the strange hour between 3 and 4am when the city is definitely shutting down for the night. I saw this dapper guy smoking and looking up to check out the small screen that announces the bus times, while I was on the other side of the shelter glass. I decided to risk it and take the frame. Moments after I’d pressed the shutter he noticed me and came to ask what I was up to. When I explained the series I’m working on he wasn’t annoyed but friendly and gracious. He told me his name was Andy Palfreyman and that he too was a photographer and he currently [in December 2015] had an exhibition in London called Cardboard and Caviar.

When I asked him about it, he explained that he’d been homeless for thirty years after he’d moved to London from the North of England when he was 19, and “things hadn’t worked out as I’d hoped”. He explained that a couple of years ago a kind person had given him a camera and taught him how to use it, and he had begun documenting all the places he slept each night as part of his experience as a homeless man. His photographs were picked up by the newspapers in the UK and the publicity ended up with an exhibition.

He went on to explain that he was no longer homeless, but that he lives in a community of apartments for ex homeless people, and works now as a councillor for people who have just left or are trying to leave their life on the streets. Unfortunately, he told me, someone had recently stolen his camera, and what upset him most about the theft was that he hadn’t realised the importance of backing up all his images; but he was surprisingly sanguine about the loss of such an important tool, saying it was insured and he was confident he’d be back to taking photographs soon.

It was a complete delight to meet him and one of those wonderful encounters that a city as rich and diverse as London can throw up at 3 in the morning if you are open to the connection.”
© Sarah Lee
© Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee

Lee studied English literature before deciding to become a photographer. She lives and works in London. She initially shot the Tender are the Nighthawks series with a Leica M, but now is also shooting with a Leica CL and a  Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm.

You can watch a video about photographer Andy Palfreyman at: Vimeo

www.sarahmlee.com
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