Mimi Mollica captures snapshots of the area around his home in east London, and has now published a book of his vibrant — and often tantalisingly incomplete — photos. Here, he talks us through East London Up Close.
I have been living in east London for more than 20 years and I feel at home and fully integrated in the local community. My family, friends and colleagues are here too and that helps in feeling at ease and well connected.
I love the diversity, the characters I meet on the streets and the positive energy all around. Seeing the changes over the years has also helped me to acquire a deeper perspective on the area. The high-pitched tone of my photographs pretty much reflects how I feel about the place.
For this project I used small digital cameras with a wide-angle lens and an integrated flash, so I have always been as close to the subjects as it looks from the photos. Sometimes I ask people to freeze, some other times I just shoot instinctively and capture quickly what I see. It’s just like being in the crowd while blinking your eyes, and every time you open them you are visually assaulted by fragments of east London. Many times I have missed great opportunities, but I have learned to live with it and try to motivate myself to do better next time.
On many occasions I have interacted with the people I photographed and talked about the project by showing images I have on my Instagram account. This way people feel less intimidated by me and become somehow a contributing part of the series.
It’s an endless game of hide and seek and every moment is yet another opportunity to grab and celebrate. Yes, there are times when I get fixated with some particular themes and I find myself noticing details that fit that bill, but this is far from being a linear process. Rather, these are connections I make once I download the photographs and look at what I have captured.
The editing process, intended as the stage where you select and organise photographs as a coherent set of images, is where the real creative work begins. It’s during such crucial stage that I start making connections, creating themed sequences and give a shape to my work.
All images © Mimi Mollica/Hoxton Mini Press