PHOTO STORIES

26.06.2017

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"Midsummer’s night, when these photos were taken, was the end of the hottest June day in London for 41 years. In 2017 it was also a month that saw a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the city: unexpected election results, a Brexit situation that no one seems clear about, and the appalling, tragic fire in West London that claimed 79 lives. The atmosphere is strange and very tense. It feels as if things are changing and that tensions could overspill.

I was working with my writer colleague and frequent collaborator, Laura Barton. We wanted to travel across the city on the shortest and hottest night of the year and take its atmospheric temperature.

Starting at midnight, we walked through Notting Hill Gate where, despite being mid week, many office workers continued drinking on the streets, and lovers lingered not wanting to go home to their hot apartments. There were also hints of the recent, terrible fire in the ubiquitous ‘missing’ posters seen in every shop and pub window.

Then we walked towards the devastated remains of Grenfell Tower. The mood was somber. Survivors were on the streets unable to sleep, haunted by what they had seen.

Later we crossed town towards Camden and Hackney where, in the early hours of the morning, late night drinkers were more relaxed enjoying the unusual warmth.

As dawn approached at 4am, we caught a bus towards Westminster Bridge to watch the sunrise from the same spot where William Wordsworth wrote his famous poem Lines composed upon Westminster Bridge. By that time, the hard-working, working classes who have to rise before dawn to get to their jobs were already crossing the city. I was moved by an Afro-Caribbean woman on the bus, quietly engrossed in her bible.

Working with the M10 was a joy. I shot these images mostly with the 50mm 1.4 lens. There was very little light and I had to set the ISO as high as 8000, which would never have been possible on the earlier versions of the M. In my opinion, the M10 is the perfect rangefinder."

Sarah Lee

After studying English literature, Lee decided to turn her photography hobby into a profession. She was given free-lance assignments as a photo reporter for The Guardian, and later also worked as a photographer for The Observer. Lee lives and works in London.

www.sarahmlee.com
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