I only lived in London for about 4 months in total, June through September 2015. That’s the shortest time of anywhere I would say I’ve lived. But it was a meaning-heavy summer - I was between university and the real world, between two long-term relationships, and between two continents. It was a place where I grappled with my life changing, so it takes up space in my heart disproportional to the amount of time I spent there.
These photos were taken the summer after, when I visited Filip (the subject of the second of those relationships) in the flat he still lived in. I had impulse-bought my Instax Mini 8 a few weeks before I went, which remains to date one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
London isn’t easy to capture in a few Instax snapshots, taken sporadically over the course of two weeks. I wasn’t trying to document it in any comprehensive way. I don’t know the city well enough to think I could even try to do that. Instead, what came out of my Instax photos is a very light map of some of the usual routes I would take through London when I lived there, the routes I wanted to retrace when I visited again. There are places I missed out on (both going to and photographing), but there are always going to be places like that when you’re trying to capture somewhere close to you.
I’m not the only one who has strong feelings about London. My two favorite blogger-documenters of London are Brenna of This Battered Suitcase and Victoria of Bridges and Balloons.
Victoria is from the UK, and her home was London for 15 years, so of course she has written plenty about it. Both what it feels like to be there, and guides for things to do if you’re visiting!
Brenna is originally (and currently) from Canada, but she lived in London for a number of years, by turns in love with and struggling with it. She’s one of the realest writers on the emotion of places I can think of, and reading about her struggles surrounding that sense of place feels like looking in a mirror sometimes.
This certainly isn’t the last you’ll hear from me about London, either!