The images of Spitalfields


The library is a wonderful place to discover people and places. Photographs of Spitalfield, England were “rediscovered” at the Bishopsgate Institute’s library by The Gentle Author, a publication of Spitalfields Life Books. A photographer by the name of CA Mathew captured the images of Spitalfield in April 1912 as he wandered the streets. The pedestrian images give us insight into the people and community as well as an historical snapshot of the day.


If pictures are worth 1,000 words, then these photographs are a novel. The stories that are woven through each image have built a tapestry of tales that can only be seen as you survey the images. Although we do not know the purpose behind the images, the information they contain offer us a glimpse into the eye of the photographer and his life. As a casual photographer, my lens captures the ordinary and everyday life. What story will my images tell one hundred years from now? Will there be an historical significance that will enlighten the viewer? Does purpose or intent give greater meaning to the images or can we, as the viewer, infuse our own purpose behind the image?

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