This Place We Know | We Are W12

WeAreW12 is a free photography exhibition and a celebration of Shepherd’s Bush, created by photographer Eileen Perrier and the people of Shepherd’s Bush.

Eileen is a graduate of The Royal College of Art. Her work has been widely exhibited since 1999, including at The Photographers’ Gallery, Tate Britain and The Whitechapel Gallery.

Eileen introduces WeAreW12.

I have been taking portraits of strangers with my mobile phone since 2012, initially as a visual diary of my surroundings and now as a spontaneous alternative for taking portraits of strangers in situ. In some respects it reminds me of the point and shoot disposable camera aesthetic and in my early days working as a street photographer.

When I was commissioned by the Bush Theatre for the WeAreW12 exhibition focusing on the Uxbridge Road, Artistic Director Madani Younis explained it is one of the most diverse roads in Europe and I was compelled to capture the essence of this statement.

The inhabitants are eclectic and, on the whole, warm and friendly. Some would give me a snippet of information such as the Mormons on their first day out together; the lady fixing her makeup – an actress currently in Motown The Musical; the expectant mother, due the following Friday, who looked so amazing; the gentleman in the laundrette who shared an in-depth conversation about his family history; the man reciting poetry to his possible love interest, or maybe they were just friends…

These subjects were proud to be part of a community project run by the Bush Theatre. It’s clearly held with great admiration which is why I was able to capture more than 50 people in three days. Most extraordinary really.

To focus this ongoing mobile phone portrait project in Shepherd’s Bush and relating back to the plays commissioned about the area for This Place We Know has enabled me to gain a sense of place both through the eyes of the writers and of the community.

WeAreW12 is displayed on the Bush Theatre building on Uxbridge Road throughout Winter 2016. It is free to view. Share your photos with us of faces and places in Shepherd’s Bush using #WeAreW12.