ONE HUNDRED YEARS Portraits of a community aged 0 – 100
Sometimes bustling urban centres confer anonymity. The rich variety of lived experience is lost in the crowd. Jenny Lewis’ most recent project interrupts the teeming legions of Hackney folk to take, to make, a photographic pause, a moment to reflect.
Lewis started the project with a zero to one hundred grid of ages on her studio wall and over three years proceeded to substitute the numbers with portraits of local individuals. Some subjects came recommended, a couple self-selected, mostly it was a case of Lewis spotting a person she liked the look of and persuading them to take part. And despite her infectious enthusiasm for the project and proven record of making remarkable photographic essays it wasn’t always plain sailing. “Who’d be interested in me?” said Dave (79) on being invited to take part, “Why would anyone want to look at my photograph?”
Alongside a career working as an editorial photographer One Hundred Years is Lewis’ third major personal project following the much admired One Day Young and Hackney Studios. This latest work is reaching the public through various iterations. One Hundred Years is a sumptuous and engrossing book published by Hoxton Mini Press and the entire series has also been installed at Britannia leisure centre in East London. A selection of thirty portraits grace the walls of Shoreditch Park Surgery. On Regent’s canal, behind the Lewis’ studio, seven three metre tall prints can be viewed from the opposite towpath. Lewis said she’d calculated that seventy-two thousand people had walked past these works in the last few months and added “The way you look at them, how you feel about the portraits can change depending on what mood the viewer’s in, what’s going on with the sky that’s enveloping them.”