RIOTS – ‘THE BEFOREMATH’

After the events of the weekend and the stories, rumours, and commentary manifest on Facebook, in anecdotes and personal experiences relayed to me by firiends and loved ones,  I decided to venture out onto Portobello Road, around the corner, which was the scene of some smashing and grabbing on Sunday and Monday night. I wanted to see how the promised police presence was panning out and frankly – reclaim the street – as a resident I was fed up of feeling like I was under an enforced curfew and should stay cowering behind my curtains from evening til morn.

I was interestsed in capturing the expressions of anxieties; nervousness, excitedness, that feeling of ‘something in the air’. Photographically speaking it was a strange experience, simply as there were virtually no cars on Portobello. Having the roadway free of cars meant that it became a promenade, similar to that of a Market Day but with no stalls, I got a sense of how the ‘geometry’ of street photography – the possible shapes and angles, viewpoints and textures had changed through time because of the modern day obscuring factors of cars and traffic. I took the following shots, as people sat in the road, chatted nervously, in anticipation of something unpredictable, talked to Police Officers and swapped stories of other areas of London supposedly up in smoke, while checking up and down to see if any mobs might be approaching. Some shops had decided to board themselves up and most had shut earlier in the afternoon. This ‘Beforemath’ of the event has not – so far – become an ‘Aftermath’. If it does I shall record it.

They are saying that Notting Hill Carnival may now be cancelled, the irony being that we are used to riots round here: On August Bank Holiday you can pretty much count on it: Anger, flash points, madness and rioting have been a part of the peculiar history of Notting Hill for a while now, from the 1950’s onwards. For more reading see: http://portobelloblogger.blogspot.com/2011/08/mini-looting-spree-hits-portobello-area.html?spref=fb

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