Shoreditch Bridge Portraits

Shoreditch Bridge Portraits is a series authored by John Perivolaris.

This discussion and screening will address the issues raised by ‘Shoreditch Bridge Portraits’ and the role of photography and the photographer in twenty-first century cities.

The 300 images that comprise this series of photographs present a portrait of one location in a great city at a significant juncture in London’s history. Photographed under a concrete railway bridge in Shoreditch since 2011, the images that make up the series capture passers-by who are both anonymous and transient, in a fleeting moment as they move between places. This moment of stillness, particularly in the enormity of a city, is crucial and raises several questions, such as: “Where do we find stillness in cities and what does stillness mean in our continuous transit through, or between, public, marginalised, and increasingly corporatised urban spaces?”

Then, there’s the bridge itself, heavy in both material and shadow, weighing both literally and metaphorically over the local landscape. These photographs are all about the taking of place, both in terms of the photographer’s artistic appropriation of a utilitarian urban space and the performative interaction between him and the subjects of his photographs.


Prof Giuliana Pieri (Introduction)
Professor in Italian and the Visual Arts, Head of the School of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Dr John Perivolaris (Photographer /series author)
John Perivolaris has received commissions to work on major photographic projects in the UK and internationally. Often collaborative, his projects use photography, text, and related media to reflect on diasporic states of being. Revealing how places are layered by time, his work is concerned with how the past is regenerated, the existential use of knowledge and memory, and how meaning is formed through migration, travel and our attachment to specific locations. His last exhibition, entitled City of Ghosts: A Dialogue with George Washington Wilson, was shown in the gallery of the Sir Duncan Rice Gallery, University of Aberdeen, between 15 October 2015 and 21 February 2016.

Dr James Kent
Lecturer in Hispanic Studies (Royal Holloway, University of London)
James Kent is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London (September 2015-present). He has taught film, Latin American & visual culture studies at various institutions across the UK and abroad at the Universidad de la Habana, Cuba. He has curated exhibitions of his own photographic work both in the UK and Cuba and his Arts Council-funded exhibition Memories of a Lost Shark toured in 2013-14.

Dr Cecilie Sachs Olsen
Lecturer in Cultural Geography (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Cecilie Sachs Olsen is a lecturer in cultural geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the co-founder of the urban performance collective, zURBS. Her work is practice-based and revolves around developing creative methods for urban research and exploring how artistic practice can be used as a framework to analyse and re-imagine urban space and politics.

Image credits:
Main promotional image: John Perivolaris
James Kent image: Marissa Chen
John Perivolaris image: James Kent