Neil Martinson’s Hackney photo archive

Neil got in touch recently to say that he’s uploaded many of his photos documenting working class life in Hackney in the 1970s and 1980s to his website.

There are sections covering protest, Jewish life, work, street scenes, homelessness and more. Well worth a look!


I first saw his work in the second of the excellent “Working Lives” books published by Centerprise. There is a great interview with Ken Jacobs who wrote the text of the books over at the Yeah Hackney website.

Neil mentions working with Centerprise as well as the Hackney Flashers in the brief “about” page on the site:

I first started taking photographs in 1970 around Hackney with a Zenith E while I was still at school. […] By some kind of fluke I went to Newport College of Art to do a Documentary Photography course led by David Hurn of Magnum. It didn’t work for me and I came back to Hackney where I had been working with a local publishing project called Centerprise. I set up Hackney Flashers with Jo Spence and started to take more photographs in Hackney, especially around work. With a group of photographers and local historians we published a book called Working Lives Volume Two, a collection of personal accounts of work accompanied by documentary photographs. It has been very much inspired by A Fortunate Man by John Berger and Jean Mohr and, in a more subliminal way, the work of the Farm Security Administration photographers in the United States in the 1930’s.

I am hoping to get the chance to speak to Neil about his life and work soon.

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