Zed Nelson's 'A Portrait of Hackney' Depicts the Mélange of Cultures in a Gentrifying East London Neighborhood - Feature Shoot

For many of our readers the story of waves of hipsters gentrifying previously undesirable neighborhoods, eventually and circumstantially pushing out the previous communities, will be a familiar one. For photographer…

As Nelson writes in the book’s introduction (which he calls “Hackney—A Tale of Two Cities”), “The social landscape for an underprivileged teenager growing up in Hackney, one of London’s poorest boroughs, is a million light-years away from the new urban hipsters who frequent the cool bars and expensive cappuccino cafés springing up in the same streets. These worlds co-exist side-by-side but entirely separate, creating bizarre juxtapositions of wealth and poverty, aspiration and hopelessness. This series, a work in progress, meditates on the confusion of cultures, clash of identities, and the beauty and ugliness that co-exist in the borough today.”

Zed Nelson: The Family

In 1991, Zed Nelson decided to take a series of formal family portraits of his friends who were about to have a child. Every year on the same day, Nelson photographed them in black-and-white against a neutral background, according to the same strict protocol, capturing the passage of time, the changing feelings and the transformation of their bodies

Gun Nation Revisted

Over a two-year period I encountered scenes both bloody and harrowing: hospital emergency rooms, morgues and the confused aftermaths of random shooting sprees. After every new massacre, the newspaper headlines were always the same: “We thought we were the safest place in America.”

Zed Nelson’s Photos of Hackney, London

Both crime-ridden and trendy, Hackney is one of the host boroughs for the Olympic Games in London. Zed Nelson’s work appeared on Lens in 2010, showing how bodily transformations reflect globalization. Altered Bodies » It is also the home of the photographer Zed Nelson, who spent much of his childhood in this racially and culturally diverse area that occupies seven square miles of London. “It has violence, beauty, wildlife, concrete wastelands, poverty and affluence jumbled together, vying for space,” he recently wrote. “It is tattered and fractured, but very alive.”

bmi Voyager » Maximum Exposure

“THE HUMAN MIND SHOULDN’T BE EXPOSED TO SUCH SHOCKING THINGS,” says Zed Nelson, the award-winning British photographer famous for his pictures taken in some of the most lawless areas of the world. Yet Nelson’s not talking about being arrested and locked in a hut in Sudan or even getting dengue fever with the French Foreign Legion in the jungles of French Guiana. He’s recalling his experiences backstage with Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista at 1992’s Paris Fashion Week. “I’d just come back from documenting the famine in Somalia and suddenly I was exposed to the behaviour of supermodels. It was mind-bending stuff!”

Bodies Altered in Pursuit of Beauty

Zed Nelson documents bodily transformations. As Nadia Sussman reports, he thinks they reflect globalization as much as a Starbucks in Beijing.

Playing on the conventions of commercial photography, Zed Nelson has explored the reach of the global beauty industry in “Love Me,” an artful catalog of operations and other bodily transformations — some of them practically medieval — in 17 countries on five continents.

PDNPulse: Former VII Director Signs Prominent Photogs to New Management Company

The artists Institute represents are Jodi Bieber, Rena Effendi, Lauren Greenfield, Rob Hornstra, Nadav Kander, Gillian Laub, James Longley, Gerd Ludwig, Joshua Lutz, Amanda Micheli, Richard Mosse, Zed Nelson, Jehad Nga, Simon Norfolk, James Pomerantz and Paul Shambroom.