A & P Research | Martin Usborne

I’ve Lived in East London for 86 ½ Years


“It all began a few years ago when photographer Martin Usborne saw 86 1/2 year old Joseph Markovich wandering the streets of Hoxton Square. Appearing strangely out of place among the masses of East London’s youth, Usborne was compelled to take Markovich’s photograph. What started as a simple request to snap a quick portrait, ended with an entire photography book dedicated to the native East Londoner and an unexpected lasting friendship between the two. After numerous interviews and years spent cultivating a friendship, Usborne self-published I’ve Lived In East London For 86 1/2 Years, a book encompassing the story of a man who was born just beside the Old Street round-a-bout and lived an entire lifetime in East London. Only leaving the area once in his life to visit the seaside with his mother, Markovich is an eclectic character who loves Nicolas Cage, took five sugars in his tea and would have married a six foot two Hispanic woman but had bad chest catarrh and never had a girlfriend. His story is one of a man who truly witnessed the ever-changing East End through generations of growth and transformation. Once considered the most impoverished corner of the city, today’s East London has never been more vibrant and eccentric. And Usborne’s series of photographs highlight the fascinating juxtaposition of an 86 1/2 year old man living in a world of cafes, hipsters, large graffiti murals and the flourishing eccentricities which make the backdrop of the East End. All the while, Markovich offers his humorous and heart-warming viewpoints on everything from religion, to the future and Jennifer Lopez.” ( http://paper-journal.com/interview-hoxton-mini-press/ )

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-17-29-36I personally really like this collection of photos, I think that Usborne has captured the personality of Joseph Markovich perfectly. I am going to use his work to inspire my Prosperity and Austerity story because my Great Aunt is a similar age to Usborne’s subject and also lives in an ever changing part of the UK. Many of Usborne’s photos are taken out and about in East London providing him with a  wide variety of backgrounds. One of my favourite photos that I’ve seen from the collection is of Joseph Markovich facing a bright pink car, it summarises so well the differences between his generation and the current one. The bright car contrasts with the plain background and Markovich’s clothing.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-17-29-52As well as photographing Joseph Markovich he also photographed his belongings. This is something that I could definitely take inspiration from. My Aunt’s house is full of many old and strange objects which I think could make interesting photographs. It would also be good if I can talk to her about the meaning of the objects and where they came from.





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