Based in South London not far from the Elephant & Castle, the Pullens buildings comprise tenement homes named after James Pullen, a local builder who acquired the land and developed it over a 15 year period from 1886.
Behind the ground floor tenements, Pullen built workshops which were entered via a gated, cobbled courtyard. Most of the workshops are still in use today, occupied by a variety of practitioners; photographers like myself, architects, painters, ceramicists, graphic designers, costumiers, sculptors, printers, and musical instrument makers.
In 2008 and 2009, I helped organise open exhibitions of the tenants' art shown alongside the work of the studio artists. This was an attempt to encourage participation from people who may not otherwise have had opportunities to show in a public space.
Over time, I became increasingly interested in the diverse mix of people on the estate, and in the tenements themselves. The local social and economic environment is changing; how might the Pullens be in ten, forty, or eighty years' time? What would be known of today's Pullens in years to come? This gave me the idea of making a representational archive of the tenants and their homes for the benefit of future generations.
These images are selected from the ongoing project. The archive will be housed in the local library in digital and print form. Each participant has received a portrait print of their choice, and the final project may become available as a book.
My thanks to all those who were both brave and enthusiastic enough to participate in this project..