Whitechapel in 50 Buildings


Copies signed by Louis Berk can be ordered directly - see link at top right.

Published in September 2016.

This book is the vision of photographer Louis Berk and Rachel Kolsky, an acknowledged expert on east-end and specifically Whitechapel social history. We chose 50 buildings, still standing today, that capture the essence of Whitechapel, past and present. We hope you enjoy this look at Whitechapel as much as we enjoyed writing the book.

Verbena Bonariensis

Click on the photograph to see a larger size - Sigma DP3M Merrill

I am not a gardener at all but my wife is passionate about her plants and bulbs. I do enjoy photographing the delicate blooms and some are more of challenge than others. This Verbena Bonariensis is still going strong as we head from October into November. 

Supermoon and Cranes, Camden Town

You can click through to a larger image on Flickr

I remember in my early days as a photographer a much more knowledgeable friend cautioning me about trying to photograph the moon. This was, of course back in the days before digital photography. The reason is that our eyes are fantastic optical tools and we selectively zoom into objects subsconsciously. So, when we see a large moon it is part physics (the moon is actually larger in the sky at certain times) but also biology. If you try to photograph the moon it is likely to be only a pinpoint of light unless you use a reasonably large telephoto lens.

Early this morning (about 4:30AM in the UK) it was a 'Supermoon'. Sometimes also called a 'Hunter's' moon.

How then to photograph it and make it worthwhile rather than a fool's errand?

Whitechapel in 50 Buildings: Spitalfields Life Review

The Gentle Author at the popular and well regarded website Spitalfields Life has published a review of "Whitechapel in 50 Buildings."

In the review he chose five buildings and expands on their importance to the life and history of the East End.

Elder Street, Spitalfields

Panasonic GX8, Olypus Pro 7-14/2.8

One of the issues facing an urban landscape photographer is the heavy prevalence of parked cars that often detract from or obscure a view. But this classic Morris Minor parked in Elder Street, Spitalfields is the rare exception. It is opposite number 32, which was built in the early 18th century and was home to Mark Gertler, an early 20th century at some point in his life. In this rare case the vintage car and the historic house do compliment each other.

Review at Londonist - Whitechapel in 50 Buildings

Panasonic GX8, Olympus Pro 7-14/2.8

The Londonist has reviewed my book "Whitechapel in 50 Buildings" and says "This Hawksmoor church is a familiar sight to anyone who's visited Brick Lane or Spitalfields Market, but we've rarely seen it looking finer than in this early morning shot, with the long shadows of dawn".

You can read the full review here. 


Eyes Down


Camden Town, Ricoh GR

Tower House, the 'Monster Doss House'

Fieldgate Street, 2016 - one of the buildings described in my book "Whitechapel in 50 Buildings", Tower House was one of several buildings developed for itinerant workers but in reality became a doss house for the unemployed. It had two famous inhabitants during its time. George Orwell resided here in 1933 during his research for 'Down and Out in London and Paris', and long before that in 1907 Josepsh Djugashvili - later know as Stalin - spent two weeks here before finding 'better' lodgings nearby. Now it has been gentrified and converted into flats. A building of almost identical design is also found in Camden Town.

Lone Beach Hut at Sunset

Sony A7R, Carl Zeiss FE 24-70/4

I took this photograph almost one year ago to the day - or rather I should say, dusk.

I'd noticed the beach hut all on its own on the shingle on a walk the previous day. I had also been tracking the position of the moon, which was just shy of full, throughout the previous few nights and I was pretty sure they would line up with each other close after sunset.

The only other variable was the weather which had been consistently awful the whole week. My weather app on my smartphone suggested a window of fair weather around sunset and it was my good luck it broke that way.

Sleepy Time

See on Flickr

Leica Q

Victor turned up at our back door about a year ago. A neighbour had rescued him. As often happens with a cat displaced like this he decided that he would choose his home, not some human. So, he chose us. He is a surprisingly affectionate cat and loves to spend time cuddled up with my wife on the couch for an afternoon siesta.

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