A selection of photographic portraits taken by Hannah Smiles featuring the mudlarks from our 2019 project Foragers of the Foreshore.
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These still-life photographs were created by Hannah Smiles and are from her 2018 still-life project, Mudlark. Hannah spent a year photographing objects and artefacts that were found along the banks of the River Thames by some of London’s most prolific mudlarks. Her interest in mudlarking was piqued after a Sunday afternoon stumble along the tideline of animal bones that stretch the length of the Greenwich foreshore. She was catapulted into the extraordinary micro-world of the Thames, its rich historic and often personal resonances.
It is not the pursuit or portrayal of ‘treasure’ that fascinates Hannah, but the transformative journey these objects have taken from being everyday pieces of rubbish, that can hint at even a small tale of the city’s past, to becoming highly cherished items for the finder. Hannah presents the artefacts suspended in air, affording them the space to speak of their own significance.
Hannah is a London-based, self-taught photographer with over 10 years experience. Her Mudlark project has created some fabulous opportunities for her, including exhibitions at both Tate Modern and the British Museum, a huge outdoor display on the Southbank and of course the commission by The Thames Festival Trust to photograph London’s mudlarkers for Foragers of the Foreshore.