I usually spend my time taking photos of London’s old buildings. On one recent occasion, however, I found myself inadvertently taking pictures of one of London’s artistic institutions, Gilbert & George.
I was wandering around Spitalfields and found myself in Fournier Street snapping the old Georgian houses. I can spend hours in this street imagining all the different people who have lived in this area through prosperous and not so prosperous times. There is an old shop, now closed, at 33A Fournier Street which has the name of S.Schwartz above it. A ghost sign from when the area burst at the seams with poor Jewish immigrants. I stopped to look at it and considered a photo.
A taxi pulled up just as I was about to take my shot. It spoiled that picture but I quite liked how the London black cab sat against the old shop front so reeled off some photos. During that time two well dressed men in tweed suits got out of the taxi, paid the driver and headed towards a house in the street.
There were a couple of run down men sitting either side of the front door of an immaculately restored Georgian townhouse. They sat on portable folding chairs and appeared to be down on their luck; when they cheerily shouted a familiar welcome to the new arrivals their voices were slurred and rough. The two smart gentlemen stopped and chatted for several minutes and I think I saw one of them slip a quiet banknote into the hand of the larger of the two doorsteppers before entering the house, closing the door behind them. Only then did I put two and two together and realise that the gentlemen were Gilbert & George and that this was their famous Spitalfields Home.
Another small but perfectly formed London moment.