A portrait of our High Street

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Photographer Russell Boyce has used a vintage film camera to create a historic visual record of Wanstead High Street’s shopkeepers, accompanied by their thoughts on the future

I live in Wanstead and I’m a documentary photographer. Throughout most of 2021, I was working on a picture story about the small business owners in Wanstead. My inspiration for this project are the formal pictures taken from the Victorian and Edwardian period of proud shopkeepers standing outside their stores.

Over the year, I photographed more than 30 local business owners and their staff. The project is quite simple; I used a 1966 vintage Rolleiflex film camera to shoot black and white pictures. I photographed all the staff outside the shop as well as the owner or manager inside. I then asked the owner about their business and, crucially, what they think about the future of our High Street. The owners are a diverse group with a wide range of answers – mostly very positive, which is quite uplifting during these tough times.

The portraits and shopkeeper quotes will be displayed outside the Temple in Wanstead Park in March (sponsored by The Stow Brothers).

To watch a video of the views of local shopkeepers, click here

For more information and to contact Russell, visit wnstd.com/boyce

To watch a video of interviews with those viewing the exhibition, click here

A book of the photos is available from wansteadbookshop.com

Author: Editor