Photography By Cameron McFarlane
Human Geography and the complexities of space and place are what initially developed Cameron’s interest in photography. During his studies he focus his attention towards understanding community with hopes of understanding how history and landscape mould the character of a population.
After moving to London from the Midlands, Cameron spent every moment he could exploring the sprawling expanse of this new city. He journeyed beyond Canary Wharf and stumbled across a remarkable landscape. One in which industry had long established itself on the banks of the Thames, and residential housing had then been built in close proximity to the sizeable factories littered across the land. It was a desolate and remote enclave of London. Somewhere not to be romaticised and ill remembered.
This juxtaposition of industry and community was the moment in which his interest in Silvertown & North Woolwich was piqued. In the year that has passed, Cameron met with many people, all with a vested interest in the locality. Some have lived there their whole life; others have adopted the place as their home. Communities are changeable, constantly fluctuating with the times. After generations of decline the community here has changed, but it is still as strong as ever.
“This community is not immediately evident if you find yourself passing through. If you scratch beneath the surface a community is thriving, coming together regularly for the betterment of the masses. Local charities such as Fight for Peace have become a figurehead here as they seek to promote non-violent futures for the youths of East London. As well as doing this, they provide pathways to success that were only available here decades ago.
The loss of industry is one factor for the severe decline felt in E16. A loss of employment saw people moving away from the area. The shops and businesses that once did so well began to permanently close their doors, leaving acres of empty factories and many empty shops. On Albert Road, even the local Betting Shop (a plague of the high street) has closed its doors.
The worry now for the area is that it will change beyond recognition. Following the formula of many London Boroughs in accepting the short-term economic benefits of gentrification over sustainable community planning. This is just another way in which residents of North Woolwich have been let down. The high rises continue to protrude from the empty pockets of land, and the airport threatens to expand its deafening operations. The benefits of this property boom will not be abetting the locals.”