Daniel Harrington’s Without a sense of caring there can be no sense of community

Daniel Harrington is a documentary photographer and recent graduate of the Manchester School of Art based in North London. Combining landscape and portrait photography, his work is concerned with the notion of community and the issues faced by those in neighbourhoods undergoing rapid social change. Having grown up in Hackney, Daniel has witnessed this change his own area throughout his lifetime, an experience which has drawn him to document the people and places caught up in a cycle of privatisation and gentrification which has seen the relationship between communities and the space they occupy change and erode at an unprecedented rate.

Photography By Daniel Harrington
Words By Edward John

His latest body of work and book, ‘Without a sense of caring there can be no sense of community’, sets out to portray this relationship, with Daniel sticking close to home to capture his subjects. An intimate portrayal of inner-London communities, ‘Without a sense of caring’ places those the marginalised and disenfranchised at the centre of the project, using 120mm film to offer a gentle-hued documentation of their lives and experiences. The decision to use this film in his work, Daniel says, was a conscious one, allowing a slower and more considered approach; one which enabled a greater connection with the people and issues the book portrays.

Hackney itself offers a stark representation of the issues Daniel’s project grapples with. In the last two decades alone, the borough’s housing prices have seen an increase of 568%, while the number of those in need of council housing is not only already in the tens of thousands but increasing year in, year out. A direct reaction and resistance to an obvious social cleansing of the area, Daniel uses his work to shed light on the faces and places frequently ignored and devalued by a socioeconomic system which prizes profit over people.

As well as offering a visual insight into these communities, ‘Without a sense of caring there can be no sense of community’ pairs images with excerpts from conversations between Daniel and his subjects, affording a deeper representation of those usually all too readily forgotten in the face of the changes around them. As with a lot of photography taken during times of social upheaval, ‘Without a sense of caring’ may one day offer a telling archive of the history of an area which has changed drastically in recent years, as well as the issues which caused its transformation.

“There is something strange about this country and its obsession with home ownership. It is different in most of continental Europe. This home ownership fetish only extends the gap between those who have (even if by their fingertips) and those that do not.” – Hackney resident, 2018.