The five winning photographers of Dark Corners have now been selected from a shortlist of 20. The competition, organised by the Museum of London in collaboration with British Journal of Photography, invited practitioners to submit work exploring London at night. From an intimate shot of Skepta, mid-performance at an underground club in Dalston, to a surreal still of brutalist buildings in Croydon, each winning image captures a different corner of the capital after dark – East, West, North, South and Central London.
The five winning photographs will be exhibited at the Museum of London as part of London Nights – a major, upcoming photography exhibition which will explore the capital’s nocturnal happenings through the work of 50 renowned practitioners. The winners will also receive coverage from British Journal of Photography and Museum of London, and bespoke framed prints of their exhibited works.
Below, the five winning photographers reveal the story behind each of their images.
East London – Jordan Curtis Hughes
Jordan Curtis Hughes is a London-based music photographer who works across editorial, advertorial, touring and press photography. From Taylor Swift to A$AP Rocky, he has photographed some of the biggest names in music. For the past three years he has been documenting London’s rapidly burgeoning grime scene, determined to capture this seminal moment in music history.
“A couple of years ago I made the decision to start documenting the grime scene. Grime has been confined to the dark corners of the music scene for years, with so-called ‘tastemakers’ determined that it should not become mainstream. By remaining true to themselves and believing in the age-old quote of ‘if you build it, they will come,’ artists like Skepta have brought grime into the light on their own terms.
This photo was taken of Skepta and his friends in an underground club called Visions in Dalston. I want kids to wish that they had been born early enough to see Skepta at a tiny underground club in Dalston, in the same way that people of my generation wish they had been at King Tuts in Glasgow to see Oasis.
Skepta wholly embodies the grime scene; unapologetic and authentic – a little like London itself …”
North London – Robert Waddingham
Robert Waddingham is a London-based photographer with an interest in photographing people and cultures. He has worked on projects around the world including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. His book, Peoples of Ethiopia, is due to be published in 2017.
“This photograph is part of a series documenting London’s alternative nightlife scene, provisionally entitled At Night We Take Over The Land, which involves the daily publication of images to an Instagram feed.
None of the portraits are titled or captioned. The only information provided is the time at which they were taken, in this case, 00:03. This image was shot at the night AntiChrist, an event describing itself (accurately) as an ‘industrial fetish gothic mayhem.’ It was held at Electrowerkz Angel, a multi-room venue with a grimy, warehouse feel, which only hosts alternative events.”
West London – Richard Burniston
Richard Burniston is a Brighton-based visual artist whose practice is primarily concerned with ideas about landscape. Burniston’s working process involves patient and repeated explorations of each location he works in. Human presence is implied but never depicted. Burniston’s work had been exhibited widely, at institutions including the Royal Academy of Arts, Somerset House and the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art.
“I had returned to my childhood home, the Sunray Estate in Tolworth, located on the edge of London. This encounter with my past stirred intense nostalgia within me; not a sentimental ache, but something that extended more to its root, nostos (homecoming) and algos (pain). This pain arose from fragmented memories that returned spontaneously, uncontrollably, demanding attention, but never offering comfort.
I responded by making work. Some memories – of walks home on Spring nights past cherry blossom trees transformed by the streetlights’ yellow glare – held promise. Sadly, my trees were felled but, nearby, I found a pristine tree in bloom, which is captured in this image.”
Central London – Valentina Casalini
Italian-born Valentina Casalini has always had an interest in architecture. Over the past few years she has lived in different cities and developed a deep interest in the poetics of urban landscapes. Her work has been exhibited internationally, most recently as part of the show Cityscape, at the CICA museum in Korea.
“My photograph, taken nearby Holborn station, is from an ongoing project that examines the relationship between London and its urban landscapes. The series attempts to understand how the capital’s geographical environment influenced the tastes and poetic visions of its resident writers and artists, particularly during the Victorian era. This period of history saw the emergence Gothic fiction; a genre unique for its synthesis of fiction, horror, death and romance. London provided the setting for so many of these Gothic stories and I want to rediscover the unique atmospheres found in the capital, which inspired them.”
South London – Christopher Hope Fitch
Christopher Hope Fitch is a London-based architectural photographer who regularly contributes images to RIBA and Getty Images.
“This shot of two classic, brutalist buildings in East Croydon is part of a wider project I’ve undertaken that aims to show brutalist architecture in a new light. Taking advantage of the huge amount of colour detail that digital sensors are now able capture, along with the lights that illuminate modern cities and the deeply textured façades of brutalist buildings, I have been able to capture great contrasts within my photographs.”
Dark Corners is a Museum of London competition supported by British Journal of Photography. The Museum of London’s new major exhibition, London Nights, will fuse archival, conceptual and modern photography to reveal the city after dark. With photography from the likes of Rut Blees Luxemburg, Tish Murtha, Nick Turpin and Bill Brandt, London Nights takes visitors on a dramatic, nocturnal study of the capital.