Roddy Williams – An ongoing portfolio

Old Man in Whitechapel


This was one of the first digital photographs I took, back in 2009. I decided to take my camera over to the East End of London, to the Whitechapel area, famous for the Jack the Ripper murders in the Nineteenth Century and the reign of local mobsters the Kray Twins in the Twentieth.
Now the area is one of the main centres of London’s Asian community. I was hoping for some shots of that side of London life but one of the best shots I took turned out to be this old man, standing outside the office of an Immigration Solicitor.
I suspect he isn’t an immigrant. Although he didn’t seem to have noticed me taking his picture I gave him some loose change anyway.
There’s something very solid about him. His clothes and face look as if they could have been carved from a single block of wood. Additionally, he seems to match the unkempt nature of the background with its graffiti and peeling paintwork.
My one regret is that I never got to find out what he had in that bag.


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