April 29, 2020

Pleased to announce the arrival of a test copy of my first foray into zine territory New Europe 2015-19.

I've appended the dates since I put this together last year as it really does feel like another world. Perhaps pre-2020 will become a phrase of the future freighted with meaning. In the meantime it already has an nostalgia skin to the wonderful Café Royal books. I see so many instances of our former privileged paradigm that it puts the themes I was exploring into profound perspective.

Here's my original thinking, way back last year...

European cities have long been shaped and identified by immigrant populations. No news there. It's how they've historically grown and prospered. This time things are different. Attitudes and assumptions are being challenged. The essence of what it is to be a citizen is being fought for, intellectually and physically.

When I think of London I don't think of monuments to the past. I think of people. People like my parents who came here for a better life. But it's not easy. London is a dream as much as a place. The streets don't always glitter with gold. But still people come from all around the world. We make lives, love, work, bring up families. Along the way we keep a connection to the home country. But something else happens. Out on the street we share the everyday. Struggles. Triumphs. Despair. We share space and time.

We belong.


The ease of travelling to European cities for the fortunate is now elevated to an aspiration for the few.

National consciousness is heightened. Borders are impermeable to this particular migrant. Tensions rise between city and village.

The advent of social distancing, a contender for phrase of the year, makes some of these images appear reckless. Some may say good riddance, granted.

Will we ever return to that way of walking, way of life even, with the same confidence? I'm sure we will but right now, with talk of one-way pavements, it feels a little distant.

Here's to the memory.


Sean McDonnell

I've been pursuing a style of photography now called street for a number of years. A south Londoner by birth I am pre-occupied with the West End and spend too much time there taking black and white pictures on film. I nurture a hope that one day London will be recognised like Paris, New York and Tokyo as a great city of street photography but secretly like the fact that it is still the underdog. For someone who enjoys the solitary practice of his work I am surprisingly talkative about it - although not at the same time. Here's a collection of idle musings and distracting links.

These posts are a sample of my current blog PORTRAIT OF A STREET PHOTOGRAPHER. There are 10 years of posts so please visit!

Portrait of a Street Photographer archive

link to Portrait of a Street Photographer blog
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