These portraits are selected from two Photobooth projects made by the photographers Rod Morris and Heather McDonough for the Museum of London and the Hackney Museum. The work was originally one of many projects undertaken by London Transport Museum for the exhibition Overground Uncovered: Life along the line, where photographs were taken of people along the route of the six boroughs of the new London Overground extension. (Depicted here are people from the stations and local markets of Dalston Junction, Haggerston, Hoxton, Shoreditch and Whitechapel.) This process allowed the Museum to investigate how transport regeneration impacts on London and its people, exploring notions of identity and the shaping of communities. Subsequently, Hackney Museum commissioned the Photobooth Project to record the faces of Hackney residents at various public events as part of their Mapping the Changes project, shown at Hackney Town hall 2012.
The photographers invited members of the public to pose for their portraits in temporary photobooths, which utilised available light and a black backdrop to isolate the sitters from the chaos of city life. The work references the automated photobooth convention of direct head and shoulders shots, a mode particularly used formally for the purposes of identification. However, in this work there is no detached officialdom present; the details are clearer and sharper, and the images, frequently printed larger than life, reveal the sitters’ humanity. Seen collectively, the portraits are not only indicative of demographic changes within the region but a celebration of the diversity of the communities they represent.