The people of Finsbury Park are a diverse and interesting bunch, and one photographer has captured their essence beautifully in his new collection of work known as ‘The Finsbury Fifty’.
A Norfolk boy who moved to the big city, Rob Cartwright has recently taken residence in Finsbury Park and was so inspired by the area that he decided to make it the focus of his latest project.
Using a 50mm lens, Rob has photographed 50 Finsbury Park people, to build up a colourful and vivacious collection of portraits.
“I think often photographers look to exotic or famous locations for subject matter when actually, there’s often amazing scenes to capture right on your doorstep.
“Snapshot of London”
“Finsbury Park is such a vibrant and diverse community – like a little snapshot of London as a whole.”
Rob has currently completed 40 of the 50 portraits of ordinary individuals, who he has simply approached in the street, and luckily has not had a single hostile reaction to date, although almost half declined.
As for getting them to agree to a photo, 40 “Yes” and 35 “No” responses is much better than he originally hoped for.
“I would have never expected people to be so receptive to a complete stranger asking for their photo.
“When I was planning this project I was primed with a robust defense of what I was doing, in the expectation that at least one person would take me to task, but I’ve not has to use it at all. People are generally really warm to the idea.
“I guess in the middle of another average day, someone saying they’d like to take your picture rather than anyone else around at the time, is quite flattering.”
Subjects with the X-Factor
Rob says it is hard to define what exactly he looks for when choosing whom to photograph, but ultimately he is looking for characters.
It may be down to their clothes, make-up, and piercings or simply because they work with a particular background, but whatever it is, Rob says, “you know it when you see it!”
The portraits, which aim to convey the diversity of the community, feature an eclectic mix of people, from a youthful woman with bright blue hair to an older man with a fantastic, speckled beard.
Rob, who is now a professional photographer, got into the art just four years ago.
Some of his previous work includes a 365-day photography challenge and various, distinctive pictures of events such as Notting Hill carnival.
A fan of old archive pictures, Rob believes that “The Finsbury Fifty will be a fascinating collection of portraits to look back on in fifty years time.”