My East London

Nilufa Yasmin snaps the East London she knows so well

East London has been my home since birth and I finally took the time to take a look at what my home really is. What defines East London for me?

I walk past these places on a daily basis. Up until now, their only purpose for me personally, has been as signposts for my way to work. When I see the park, I know I’m past the halfway mark; when I see the ambulance station I know I’m just a road away from work. For me, I would have never marked these spots as particular in anyway, but rather a part of my daily life.

These images sum up a part of my East London – images I associate with home. When I return home after having been away and reach a ten minute radius of my home, these surroundings are what gives me the feeling of being home. I don’t hold these images as a summary of East London in its entirety, but as individuals, we associate places with our own thoughts and memories, so to me these images sum up my daily route, my local area, my community.

They are what I see every day, but normally I would not take notice of them, and if I were an outsider to this East London community, I wouldn’t look twice at a ‘No Litter’ sign, speckled with old gum. But whenever I go outside my own borough, I immediately take notice of the places, buildings and people around me. I believe I’d take notice of places like the Sainsbury’s and think how convenient it is. But for me it would just be…..Sainsbury’s.

These images do a good job of defining what East London is to me, but I certainly don’t believe it defines me as a person. I don’t think a bin or horse dung defines me. It does however, define the East London that I was raised in; the East London that ultimately became my home – mine specifically. There might be dung around every corner and overflowing bins but East London is still my home.

East London means a different thing to everyone who experiences it. When I think of London, I too think of all the staples we see in the media like the Big Ben and black cabs, but they’re not sights I see on a daily basis. What I see is my little part of the city which makes up my East London.