2012: The Place That Was

May 25, 2012 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books | 1 Comment |
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Documentary photographer Juliana Edwards (pictured) has published a powerful photographic record of the east London site that will house the 2012 Olympics. She set out to document the human traces before the future Olympic site was vacated in preparation for construction work to begin. Many of the locations photographed have since been razed to the ground, making the book an important historical record. Juliana Edwards says: “I had a sense of elation when London won the 2012 Olympics and immediately wanted to capture the area as it was. I have an intimate connection with the Olympic site, having lived in housing in Temple Mills Lane and Clays Lane which has now been demolished to make way for the Olympic Village. People’s idea of permanence is usually based on the premise that bricks, mortar and concrete will be there forever, but here in this part of east London, all of a sudden they are not.” Copies of ‘2012: The Place That Was’ can be ordered from Amazon UK for £30.

Press Release

Frozen in Time: New Photography Book Captures 2012 Olympic Site Before The Bulldozers Moved In

Documentary photographer Juliana Edwards has published a powerful photographic record of the east London site that will house the 2012 Olympics. Taken from when London won the bid to host the Games in 2005 until many of the roads were closed in 2007 to make way for construction of the new site. ‘2012: The Place That Was’ (http://www.theplacethatwas.co.uk) shows a landscape in transition, as the deserted urban wilderness is frozen in time before it is transformed into a showcase setting for the London games.

Juliana set out to document the human traces before the future Olympic site was vacated in preparation for construction work to begin. Many of the locations photographed have since been razed to the ground, making the book an important historical record - and a fascinating opportunity to see a landscape that no longer exists.

The collection of images includes derelict buildings and graffiti strewn walls, canal bridges and locks, abandoned furniture and discarded toys. The thought-provoking photographs give a sense of place rooted in the remains of the people who once occupied it, as if the whole area had been momentarily frozen.

Juliana Edwards says: “I had a sense of elation when London won the 2012 Olympics and immediately wanted to capture the area as it was. I have an intimate connection with the Olympic site, having lived in housing in Temple Mills Lane and Clays Lane which has now been demolished to make way for the Olympic Village. People’s idea of permanence is usually based on the premise that bricks, mortar and concrete will be there forever, but here in this part of east London, all of a sudden they are not.”

The images were shot using a film that accentuates colour. Images of a development area are normally presented in subdued shades or black-and-white, but by using vivid, deeply saturated colour the viewer is challenged to engage with an area that was previously overlooked.

Juliana adds: “I am drawn to prosaic locations and detritus as they are immensely evocative of the people who have left them behind. Michael Ignatieff said that photography enables us to see the past before the future has decided what it means. I want the viewer to think about the residents who once occupied this space - before it is seen through the spectrum of the 2012 Olympic Games.”

Over 120 full-colour pages, the hardback book tells a narrative through its images that will appeal to social historians, curators, Londoners with a sense of belonging to their city and anyone with an interest in the London Olympic Games.

The book’s foreword is written by Professor Val Williams, a renowned curator and director of the University of the Arts London Photography and the Archive Research Centre, who comments: “The Olympic site is magical, desolate and sometimes bleak - and on the cusp of monumental change.”

ABOUT JULIANA EDWARDS: Juliana is a Londoner (she formerly lived in East London) and a photographer specialising in images of people and places in transition. The documentary nature of her work lends itself to medium and long-term commissions. Her photographs have been published in trade magazines, The Observer, Hot Shoe Magazine. Juliana has an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from London College of Communication.



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#1 RTFarT

It would have been nice to a sample of Juliana's pictures. It sounds an excellent story but a couple of examples of the results from this "film that accentuates colours" might have persuaded people to look further.

10:59 am - Monday, May 28, 2012