When the photographer Georgi Georgiev expressed interests in the daily life of the Travellers’ settlement in East London, he was offered a unique insight into a devout, vibrant community.
“I had … just a few words to appeal and demonstrate an innocent interest in the way they live.”
Centred around a regular Sunday – an important day for several of the families – the series, entitled ‘The Way We Live Now’ focuses on the moments in-between ceremonies and rituals: Waiting, primping and getting dressed, for example. In these moments, both the highly specific and the ultimately universal are revealed. In the following captions below, Georgiev shares his perspective on the intricacies of this community’s everyday realities.
“I was told that there are a few Travellers’ settlements in East London. Later on I found out that one of them is just down the road from the place where I had moved in recently. The first time I went to visit I had nothing on me, just a few words to appeal and demonstrate an innocent interest in the way they live. The second time I went it was on a warm and fresh weekend in May. This time I had approached them as models.
Tony is hanging out on that Saturday, his box training has gone quite well the day before and community duties are sorted. He will take me around.
It is already hitting lunchtime and right in the middle of the site there is the Hackney Playbus, spilled its entourage like a market stall with many toys and props for the kids to exercise their adventurous imagination.
I take a few steps in the homes of the residents who while busy with their little things, keep the doors of their homes wide for me to pop in.
The day approaches late afternoon. On Sunday it is a big day for a few families. A few kids from the site are having their Communions and Confirmations.
At early afternoon the next day, I receive a call from Marian Mahoney and she insists that I go down to the site and follow them around the day of the Holly Communion of her second eldest granddaughter Ellie.
Everyone is feeling festive and although not everyone has their outfit sorted, Marian would do it for them. The family starts to gather, striking poses.
We all go together at the Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church where many other families are here to spend the day with the kids that receive their Communions today .
The white Bentley that also awaits in front of the church is attracting attention with its lushness. Snap! We are ready to go!”
All images © Georgi Georgiev