A Photographic Journey Along Brick Lane by Lewis Phillips

Brick Lane is at the heart of London’s East End and attracts more than it’s fair share of photographers drawn to the area by it’s unique vibe and eclectic mix of personalities.

Leading from Whitechapel to up to Bethnal Green and Shoreditch, the history of the lane is long and complicated. Evolving from a dirt track leading to the claypits of Bethnal Green it has found itself at the centre of various industries such as textiles and brewing over the years. It has seen many people come and go and played host to various waves of immigration from the French, Dutch, Irish, Jewish and Bengalis to Northeners, Arty Types, West Londoners and Hipsters.

The street itself has two unique identities.  The northern end has many art galleries, cafes and plays host to the vibrant hub of the old Truman Brewery.  The southern end  is renowned for it’s indian restaurants and for being the heart of the UK’s largest Bangladeshi community. In terms of street art it boasts some of the very best spots in the city and it’s tributaries on Hanbury, Sclater, Heneage, Pedley, Grimsby, Bacon and Cheshire Streets all help to create what has become a ‘street art quarter’ in this part of London. Simply put it is one of the best places in the World to see high quality outdoor urban art.

Street Artist and illustrator Stephanie Thieu is more likely to be seen on the Lane with a spray can and not a parasol.  Here she is modelling a wedding dress as part of a photo shoot.

Street Artist and illustrator Stephanie Thieu is more likely to be seen on the Lane with a spray can, not carrying a parasol. However here she is modelling a wedding dress as part of a photo shoot on one of the lanes tributaries, Grimsby Street and looking fantastic.

Inspiring City has decided to pay tribute to Brick Lane by producing a series of posts celebrating this vibrant place.  For our first we have chosen to feature a series of photographs taken by renowned photographer and friend of the city Lewis Phillips which capture some of the day to day eccentricity of the street.  He’s featured on this blog before with his ‘Faces in the Tunnel‘ series portraying female street artists painting in the Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel underneath Waterloo Station.

A number of these images are also now showing at the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards at the National Geographic Society along with a host of other excellent images from around the World and which can be seen there until 17th August 2014.  Lewis’s website can be found here so check it out but in the meantime have a look at some of the snaps below featuring the brilliant eccentricity of Brick Lane.

Lewis Phillips Brick Lane Gallery

A local character on Pedley Street next to work from Swedish artist Amara Por Dios

Dylan a local man on Pedley Street next to work from Swedish artist Amara Por Dios.

On Hanbury Street a shop owner goes about his business next to a shutter with work from Dscreet

On Hanbury Street a shop owner goes about his business next to a shutter with work from Dscreet.  This place is a hotspot for quality art and is one of the best places for street art on the lane.  The shop owners like the street art because it brings people to the area so they will often allow artists to paint on their walls.

A man walks past work from Ashes57 and Dan Kitchener on the shutter of a cafe

A man walks past work from Ashes57 and Dan Kitchener on the shutter of a cafe.   This part of the lane just opposite Heneage Street is getting trendier and trendier with more cafe bars and eateries moving in.

Pedley Street is a spot where street art is always changing.  This cheeky Bart Simpson piece is from Graffiti Life who have their offices around the corner

Pedley Street is a spot where street art is always changing. This cheeky Bart Simpson piece is from Graffiti Life who have their offices around the corner on Grimsby Street, their art can often be found in this spot.

Mobstr Graffiti at the end of Hanbury Street

Mobstr Graffiti at the end of Hanbury Street with some people chilling out.

Rain on the Lane next to work from Australian artist Ketones

Rain on the Lane next to work from Australian artist Ketones.  This part of the lane gets particularly busy on Sunday when the market is on.

Alexis Diaz completing his famous Octo-Elephant

Alexis Diaz completing his famous Octo-Elephant, sadly no longer there but replaced by another great piece of art from Australian artist Rone.  It had taken Diaz nine heat soaked days to complete.

A workman potters around on Fournier Street

A workman potters around on Fournier Street close to the junction with Brick Lane.  This area is in a conservation zone and features some well preserved Huguenot Houses dating from the 1720’s

Peeking out of the Doorway with art from Shok-1 on the front

Peeking out of the Doorway with art from Shok-1 on the front.  The people on the right are on one of the many tours which take place on the lane daily

A busker plays underneath a mural made by local school children

A busker plays underneath a mural made by local school children.  The mural itself was never meant to be there, it should have been in Spitalfields market until it was dug up and left in a pile of debris.  That was until someone found it and decided to give it new life by popping it onto the lane. Now it is a favourite spot for buskers.

Dale Grimshaw street art

A dramatic piece of Dale Grimshaw street art with a man passing by.  This piece can be found at the end of Hanbury Street

A man sits on the steps  of the Lane

A man sits on the steps of the Lane just outside the Jamme Masjid Mosque one of the most iconic places on the lane having started out as a Huguenot Chapel, becoming a methodist church and a synagogue before becoming a mosque in the 1970’s

A dog poses next to work from Dale Grimshaw and Art is Trash on Hanbury Street

A dog poses next to work from Dale Grimshaw and Art is Trash on Hanbury Street.  Just one of many cool characters on Brick Lane.