The Narrow Way

The Narrow Way is a small road beside Hackney Central train station and The Tesco supermarket, which forms the epicentre of Hackney shopping. At the time these Photographs were taken the Narrow way was already a non-road allowing only access for a stream of buses, on route to the bus garage at the foot of the strip. Since then it has been fully pedestrianised. The selection of shops has not changed greatly yet, despite the rapid gentrification of Hackney. Although perhaps the Marks and Spencer supermarket seems busier than before, but then so to does the Primark. The McDonald’s is different too, it’s slowly becoming automated. Customers now order at a machine and collect from slightly confused counter staff, who have to try to match an order with its consumer, via a sequence of rapidly changing numbers on a screen. It’s certainly a lot busier on The Narrow Way overall, but you couldn’t say that the gentrification is that visible – maybe there is a better range of food and clothing to be had elsewhere in the borough. There used to be a few drunks and bums congregated around the widest part of the street, opposite the graveyard entrance, and in front of McDonalds. They’re still there and don’t seem put off by the CIA looking doorman, all wired up in black attire, that guard the entrance to the hallowed eatery. In fact it looks now like the drunk, begging, ranting and bemused have increased in number.

When these pictures were made it was really still just a downtrodden street (not for cars) which was frequented mainly by locals. convenient  outlets included but were not limited to ; a pound shop, several phone and phone repair shops, two building societies, a post office, an old fashioned bakery , a good charity shop and a post office. I can only imagine that the individuals who populate these images where on their way to, or from any one of these stop-offs. The Photographs were mostly shot from the hip,  and it was snowing – either just before or just after christmas. I’m glad I made this body of work as I  used to go there a lot, but it’s not really for me anymore.

 

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