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“Individually these photos represent the moment that we crossed paths, but collectively they represent my portrait of London – a confident city, a city of the future, a city I call home,” says Niall McDiarmid, who has been shooting portraits on the streets of Britain’s capital for the last six years.
McDiarmid is showing a selection of these portraits in an outdoor exhibition at the Museum of London this summer, helping kick off the institution’s year-long City Now City Future programme. Rarely shooting more than a few yards from where he meets his subjects, McDiarmid notes the date and place of each encounter, building an archive of work that stands as a collective portrait of the metropolis.

Battersea Rise, London - April 2014
Battersea Rise, London – April 2014 © Niall McDiarmid
Originally from Scotland, McDiarmid is now based in London but has won acclaim for the street portraits he takes across the UK. His first book, Crossing Paths, A Portrait of Britain, was published in 2013. A second book, Via Vauxhall, followed in 2015.
McDiarmid’s show opens alongside two other exhibitions focused on London – a series of newly commissioned interactive films by artist collective Blast Theory, and a month-long residency by Lady Lucy, who will paint watercolour portraits of members of the public who have offered services, gifts or favours to other museum visitors.
Still from My Point Forward © BlastTheory
Still from My Point Forward © Blast Theory
“This is a really exciting time for the museum,” says Lauren Parker, lead curator of the City Now City Future programme. “By launching our first ever year-long season, City Now City Future, we have the opportunity to commission work from artists in a way we haven’t before.”
Here and Now: London portraits by Niall McDiarmid is on show from 18 May – 15 October. www.niallmcdiarmid.com www.museumoflondon.org.uk
Surrey Street, Croydon - January 2016 © Niall McDiarmid
Surrey Street, Croydon – January 2016 @ Niall McDiarmid
Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia, London – October 2016
Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia, London – October 2016 © Niall McDiarmid
Neal's Yard, Covent Garden - Sept 2015
Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden – September 2015 © Niall McDiarmid
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy

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