Mike Edwards Photography

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SHELF LIFE - E11, E4, E18.

By Mike Edwards


In 2008, I pursued the genre of Environmental Portraiture by taking photos of shopkeepers in my local High Streets of Wanstead, Chingford and Woodford. (E11, E4 and E18). Some were giving me snippets of their lives while they were posing for me and I found the longer they had been plying their trade or vocation, the more interesting their stories became. I decided I had to make a record of their experiences. Some thought they had nothing of interest to say, but without fail, that has never been the case. Some have come from unprivileged backgrounds, and have made a good life for themselves. Others have led intriguing lives and made the most of opportunities which have come their way. Several are coming close to retirement, and since I started this project, some have retired, and sadly, one person has died. I have decided to include all these people as this book is a celebration of those who have dedicated a large part of their lives to their trade, vocation, or voluntary work, invariably with passion, pride and modesty.


Thanks go to my inspirational tutors, Jose Navarro who pushed me kicking and screaming into portraiture, and Geoff Wilkinson who gave me further encouragement along the way! My partner Kathy Taylor, for her well founded constructive advice, and her patience and understanding when that advice wasn't welcomed. To both of my artistic, creative sons Ben and Doran, for their valuable input. And finally to all the subjects who selflessly gave me their time and good humour, for which, of course, I am extremely grateful. Obviously, this book would not have been possible without them!


This book is dedicated to my late uncle, Derek Mead, with whom I wished I had shared our love of photography.


Mike Edwards retains the copyright to all images in this book, and permission is not given to reproduce any, or part of any image by whatsoever means or in any medium.