With The Gentle Author / by Simon Mooney

I recently took a few pictures of a lecture at The National Portrait Gallery in London. It was given by The Gentle Author, the writer behind the outstanding Spitalfields Life blog, and covered the work of some of its contributing photographers (of which I'm pleased to be one). It reminded me of the half a dozen or stories I've had the pleasure to work on for the blog so I've published some of the highlights below with links to the original posts.

So Long, General Woodwork Supplies

I've always liked hardware shops and this one, near my office in Stoke Newington, was a beauty. Sadly, it was closing down after over 60 years serving the local community so I asked the owners if I could photograph it for posterity. They said no, and that photographers were always asking, so I bought an old ladder for £30 and asked again. This time I got a yes and spent a wonderful afternoon there hiding in corners with my 14mm lens. I emailed my pictures to Spitalfields Life wondering if they were taken too far north to qualify for publication. Luckily they weren't.


At Gaby's Deli

Good pictures were harder to find on this one but it was threatened with closure after nearly 50 years so I persisted with a couple of visits. It helped that I like falafels and Gaby apparently introduced them to London.


Nazir Tanbouli, Painter

I photographed some beautiful, if neglected, 1950s flats near Haggerston Park which featured this really striking artwork. The Gentle Author was much more interested in the artist responsible and invited me to cover an interview with him and site visit. The buildings are now being demolished.


Together We Are Stronger

These portraits were taken to be used at the East End Trades Guild launch event and I photographed about 20 of its founding members for the project.


City Reform Group

This was effectively a press conference and I can't remember how many of those I've covered. What made this one attractive was its location - Christ Church in Spitalfields on the edge of the City of London.


At London's Oldest Ironmongers

From the outside, this place looked like almost any other hardware shop. Once inside, some of its incredible history revealed itself in the old products, fittings and graffiti I found.


At Repton Boxing Club

Another place with a spectacular past. I'd photographed the exterior, while learning the streets around Bethnal Green, and thought I'd like to see the inside one day. Then I got the call from The Gentle Author.