In Your Face: Paul Trevor's excessive close-ups illustrate the category variations of the 1980s

Brick Lane, 1983

Paul Trevor has been documenting the East End of London for over two decades. After picking up a camera at the age of 25, he decided to quit his job as an accountant and take up the practice full time.

Motivated by a strong social impulse, the photographer's images of life in the East End have since been published in books and magazines. "It was a very personal project – a personal visual record – driven by my curiosity, as taking photos is a way to question the world and yourself at the same time," he told CR.

The city, 1989

Drawing on his previous collaboration with indie publisher Hoxton Mini Press, Once Upon a Time on Brick Lane, Trevor's new photo book was designed to capture the persistent social divide in Britain.

The book, titled In Your Face, features images taken between 1977 and 1992, but mostly at the height of the highly divisive Thatcher era in the 1980s.

Brick Lane, 1977

“The project was provoked by two things: Thatcher's polarized debate about market forces versus community values, and my long-standing neglect of the 50mm lens. Could I do the first with the second? " he says.

With spontaneous black and white close-ups, the images show the stark contrast between the people who visited the city and Brick Lane during this period, even though these areas are just a stone's throw away.

The city, 1989

The extremely intimate photos were the result of Trevor's experiments with a 35mm film camera, a standard 50mm lens, and whatever light was available to him at the time.

"In terms of shooting, In Your Face was an experimental departure from what I'd done before and after. I had to photograph strangers up close without engaging with them. It meant working in secret," he says.

“I found that this approach created a tension between physical intimacy and emotional distancing in the photos. I was fascinated by the results – objective images that were subjective at the same time. "

In Your Face is published by Hoxton Mini Press; hoxtonminipress.com


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