Soup is a personal project with Ealing Soup Kitchen which is being be exhibited at Artisan in Ealing throughout February, March and April 2017.
As modern day humans, we are often very quick to judge, remark and make assumptions based on people’s appearance, but this striking series of intimate portraits leaves everything to the imagination – deliberately cropping out clothing, shoes, environment and posture. In association with Ealing Soup Kitchen, photographer Remy Whiting sympathetically explores the people who make use of this amazing service.
The viewer might formulate questions: “who is this person”, “what’s their story” - but, we hope, will struggle to put together a solid background or categorically put them in a box. This interactive exhibition will ask its guests to place stories under each portrait, based purely on looking into the eyes of these Ealing Soup Kitchen clients. Their stories are all different. Some are homeless. Some have lost all hope. Some struggle with self esteem. Some struggle with addictions. Some suffer from mental health afflictions. Some are volunteers. Some are staff.
The aim of this unique exhibition is to make people stop and look deeper, inviting them into a silent dialogue between themselves and the faces of the people staring back at them – giving these faces a chance to tell their story before jumping to conclusions. All of the people who kindly sat for a portrait are the same as you and I; any one of us could be in any one of these situations today, tomorrow, next year. These are the people living in our community and we can all do a little more to help them. Ealing Soup Kitchen is happening in our community and we can all do a little more to support it.
Get along if you can and try to match the stories to the faces!
In the small remote village of Kasamba near Lubumbashi in Southern DR Congo is an old shack, it's a hospital for the villagers. Their doctors and the village are fighting against many things but malaria it would seem is the biggest threat. I have started developing films from a heartbreaking story I shot on this during my last trip to DR Congo, there will be more to come . . . . here is Dr Musonda Mujinga-Desire sat in his office at the mud brick hospital with his radio in the foreground.
Dr Pondo Kishala Guislain in his office with his medical supplies beside him.
The next three photos are of 2 year old Kilambwe who was being treated for Malaria with her mother by her side. Unfortunately a combination of limited education on the disease, a lack of resources and money for medication mean the child mortality rate is massive. I have since found out that Kilambwe has sadly died. When I saw her there, with doctors on a drip I presumed she was being taken care of, unfortunately the care they could provide was not enough and she needed further treatment at proper hospital in town. Malaika who are my DR Congo partners (on my Snap Foundation projects) are doing a great deal of work towards the education and prevention of malaria.
Kongolo Mwamba Etienne works at the health centre in the just up from the hospital where he looks after women during and after child birth. This health centre is much like the hospital, rags for curtains, exposed mud brick walls and dusty floors. Very limited supplies and services put them under a lot of strain.
And here are some of the women Etienne looks after. . . .
This is Madame Rebecca, she teaches at Malaika, a school for girls in the Katanga region of Democratic Republic of Congo. I was fortunate enough to have her work with me whilst teaching photography to her girls in 2015 because she made such a positive mark on our lessons. Being very passionate about teaching she ensures that her pupils learn as many new and exciting skills as they can and, in a similar way to my Snap Foundation programmes, she uses visuals in her lessons to help engage and inspire her pupils.
A fantastic shoot to start the year off with Gordon Ramsay for 220 Triathlon Magazine. We were told we would have 20mins with him but that turned out to be around 6 minutes. We shot a bank of feature images, the cover shot and then some film shots on my old 6x6 camera. Really pleased with the end results here thanks to the team at 220 Triathlon magazine.
In a country where photography is basically illegal without permits, which are as good as impossible to get, portraits were slightly quicker than usual! Heavy military and police presence, all of whom carry machine guns, aren't to be messed with. One police officer told me that I can look with my eyes and take home memories, it's as simple as that. Despite this with my local fixer Sebastien at my side most of the time we avoided too much attention and moved on quickly. There's so much more to be shot here though. . . . next time.
Shepherd Xego lives in Ramaphosa, a township on the outskirts of New Brighton in South Africa. A very quiet and humble man he makes amazing lino prints from his workshop at home.
I made a short film with him which you can see in my Films section.
This project was shot with Cold Water Swimmers at Hyde Parks Serpentine Lido after a bracing winter race.
Heyen Turner - Carpet and rug maker
Ian Stuttard - Television Director
Penny Ferguson - Orthoptist
William Ferguson - Student
Ron Witham - Ex weight lifter
These portraits are from a series I shot in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
I met Jayson, Winston and Wayne on the streets in an area known to locals as Beverly Hills, hanging out with their girlfriends and children. They invited me in to photograph them smoking the drugs they sell. At the back of their house they showed me the grass which they mix with white 'powder' and smoke from the end of a broken bottle. Large bags of grass were available on the streets for a few £’s and the little packets of powder were around 10p! From what I heard it will often have a cocktail of chemicals like bleach and powdered baby milk (though that's not much different to drugs anywhere I suppose).
A recent test shoot with girls from Body London
A very passionate and knowledgeable man to introduce you to, Mncedisi. At 62 years of age and living in the township community of New Brighton, (South Africa) he has extensive knowledge of the local area, the people within and the issues they deal with on a day to day basis. He also works, when work is available, filming functions, weddings and local parties etc. Having strived but failed for years to get funding from South African sources to start a photography academy he told me it was a dream come true to work on my Train and Provide Photography Teaching Project. For me he has proved to be an essential part of our exciting program. With a big personality and great teaching skills Mncedisi and I will be working together to create a photography academy which can supply and support a teaching program in the townships of Port Elizabeth.
Here he is photographed outside the Dance Academy he used to run.
Impoverished teenagers involved in Izikhothane have attracted sharp criticism due to their destruction of luxury brands in a carnival of excess. At their worst they will buy lavish items of clothing and proceed to trample and burn them to show off to their friends, or simply to negate their feeling of glaring dispossession. The group I met and photographed here at Walmer Location called themselves ‘Lai Golden Spidens’ and they have been congregating in a central part of their township on a Friday for the last 2 years. Many different groups would turn up, (perhaps 100-200 people) the aim of the game to be wearing something new, expensive and designer of course. If you don’t have anything new you shouldn’t turn up because you will be ridiculed. Sports brands like Nike and adidas are popular but equally labels like Paul Smith, Ben Sherman rate high to get, as Nonke told me, ‘the London look!’ These particular boys seemed quite relaxed and spoke of the fun of being a ‘S’khothane’ but if you google this trend you will find lots of stories of suicides, kids burning money, throwing drinks all over each other and general destruction. I asked these teenagers how they afford their new clothes and trainers, considering they are all living in shacks and unemployment is as high as 80% its very evident that money is not disposable but they explained their parents pay for things and they earn money from being dj’s. I’m still not sure how they do it but …...
Thanks to Nonke, Mandilive, Xolisa and Siyamthanda from ‘Lai Golden Spidens’ and Nosikhumbuzo who made a grand entrance in his glasses.
These portraits are from a series I shot in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the area he lives in is known as Beverly Hills. This for me is one of the most interesting portraits I think I have ever taken, apart from the loaded gun on the arm of the sofa adding some extra tension Jackie sits in his lounge sporting stab wounds to his stomach, chest, arms and one to the back of his head. The memorial photo in the background is for an old friend who was recently shot dead outside his home next door, the same old friend who made that near fatal stab to the back of Jackie’s head.
These guys are living in another world unimaginable to most of us.
Model and actress Alejandra Costa, represented by MOT models, photographed at my studio in Shoreditch.
Styling by Tina Young Routier, represented by Gingersnap
Make-up by Carlo Di Caterino, represented by Gingersnap
Hair by Tina Young Routier, represented by Gingersnap
Retouching by Erwin Schulz
Michael Lange, photographed at my studio in Shoreditch.
Having spent many years in and out of prison in South Africa Terrance is a member of the 28’s, part of the notorious prison gang The Numbers Gang.
I'd seen Terrance on a previous trip to this area and thought he would make a great portrait and when word got to him he showed a real interest. But upon my arrival he wasn't so sure. I walked through some out buildings to his house where he sat with a few friends in a dark lounge behind closed curtains. He agreed to having a photograph as long as it was in his chair where he sat with no lights on and curtains closed. Pushing my film to its very limit I hoped for the best and took his portrait.
To quote wikipedia “In the 28s it is important to prove your manhood and move up in the rankings. A member moves up the ranks through the stabbing or killing of rival gangs, prison guards or disobedient members. Should a member stay in the lower ranks he will still be considered a woman and will be sexually abused until he proves his manhood. When a new prisoner is assigned a cell he will be introduced to the person in charge of that cell known as the “cell cleaner”. The cell cleaner will welcome the new prisoner to the cell, and will either leave him alone for the evening, or will demand sex.”
I was probably in his house for a matter of seconds, all of which felt a little tense, especially when asked for cash as we left. Still these experiences make good stories!
Hassan Reese, represented by Body London, photographed at my studio in Shoreditch.
Scouting around Walmer Location in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) I came across Steven Calico fixing his bike, a really nice and very chatty man. When asked for a portrait he took off his hat to reveal a large lump, from an old wound he got in a stick fight (an ancient African art of deep cultural significance).
Deandra from Body London
This was a quick shoot with our 'location studio' set up running around Hoxton Street in London, just for fun, looking for interesting people.
Thanks to Andrew, J and Daniel.
This was a series I took for a charity book called 'Portrait of Cheltenham' published in 2010 by Bank House Books, ISBN 9781904408789.
Gohar the butcher preparing meat on the High Street.
Product designer David Mlynski in his classic Mercedes, a rolling restoration for the last 8 years.
Caroline Gage when the fair was in town.
Carole Mould tucked away in her attic.
Mike Smith-Wood, restorer of all things old, and more often than not extremely valuable.
Susie with Ted on a very windy Leckhampton Hill.
Juliet photographed at her Tea room and curious, called Harlequin, on the High Street.
4 year old Thomas, aka Woody, recently had eye operations to remove cataracts and now has implanted lens in both eyes. This is his first year with his new sight! An incredible operation carried out at Cheltenham General.
Amy Mould (before she became Mrs Whiting) photographed at home.
Leona from Body London models shot at my new studio in Shepherds Bush
James Burke, photographed at my studio in Shoreditch.
This location shoot with Toto was for a local vintage retailer called Listed.
Styling by Danielle Bailey
H/M by Roma Lobos
220 Triathlon Magazine commissioned a feature shoot on nutrition which we shot around the streets of Shepherds Bush with Adam, represented by W Athletic Models.