For any civilisation, what most defines its culture is its people. Ahead of sporting events, fashion trends, artistic expressions and culinary delights, come the people. For London, this is no different.
London became England’s capital largely because of its river and the trade routes it opened up, so the Thames, which holds such a well-deserved place in the City’s timeline, can take due credit for much of what we see today. River People aims to access and expose the characters that have developed over the years, documenting those who represent life on the river today, subsequently revealing the collective face of the tidal Thames. Just twelve individuals are featured, so this is a mere glimpse; but these twelve are, to me, a fine representation of the wider community to which they belong. The series aims to humanise a river which is largely perceived as industrial, dirty, commercial and simply a tourist attraction. It is all those things, but it is also a source of recreation and enjoyment, a place of physical challenge, artistic inspiration and a place of work. The health of the river is rapidly recovering thanks to the efforts of such organisations as Thames 21, and the recreational and sporting pursuits of Londoners on the river only seems to be increasing. The tidal Thames is most definitely alive and existing as a thriving hub of activity, and the resulting community born out of this is as active and relevant to London today, as it has ever been.
A film from the private view at the 7-week exhibition in Westminster