Have you seen the Humans of Camden?

Laura Evans gets an intimate glimpse into the diverse inhabitants of NW1

Who are the people that live and work in Camden and Euston? The answer is, they’re a varied bunch, ranging from artists and designers to restaurant owners and shopkeepers. Humans Of Camden is a celebration of this eclectic mix, a collection of photos and quotes highlighting the vibrancy and diversity of the area.

Launched at the Inspire Awards in December last year, the exhibit went on to spend two weeks on display at the Camden People’s Theatre, and has since developed a following on social media. The other day we grabbed Millie Hamilton, Communications Manager for Camden Collective, Euston Town and CTU, for a chat.

“It’s a storytelling platform,” she says, “a medium to bring local residents and businesses to the fore, a personal account of what they like about the neighbourhood. The project mirrors Brandon Stanton’s popular New York-based photoblog and his catalogue of the city’s dwellers.”

How the images looked in the exhibition and on Instagram. Photos: CTU
Millie’s been working on the venture for five months and has talked to fifty men and women. “We reached out to the council, they gave us connections,” she says, “and we already had contacts of our own and links to community organisations. It was word of mouth, too.”

It’s all about applauding the locality and its occupants. The experience has been eye-opening: Millie’s chatted to a huge variety of people, ranging from Yahya, Director of P21 Gallery, Sharon Gordon (main pic, above) at West Euston Partnership and Rose Alexander, Community Manager of Regent’s Place, to Bharat Jain, owner of Gupta’s and Bill Owen, Head Chef at Wellcome Collection.

“I really like the classic ones like shop assistant Bob Buckland,” says Millie. “He casually dropped into conversation that he was a roadie with the Rolling Stones back in the day. He was definitely interesting. He spoke like a grandad but has piercings, tattoos, and wearing mesh tights – a perfect Camdenite.”

Then there’s Louise McCabe, Director of Corporate Responsibility at ASOS (also pictured above), housed in the famous art deco Black Cat building opposite Mornington Crescent tube : “She’s the lady behind introducing disabled models onto their website,” says Millie. “I went to their office, which was great – it’s bright and airy, there were cakes everywhere. Louise loves the place.”

The exhibition at Camden People’s Theatre. Photo: CTU
Did Millie experience any difficulties? “One participant called Vince Jones refused to have his picture taken,” she says. “He told me he wanted his art to represent him. The striking image we’ve used was taken in his flat, which felt like a space-age aquarium. He makes art from junk and old toys; he gave me a sculpture of a dinosaur with fairy lights as a gift.”

Design-wise, the team have enlisted the help of local agency Bolter, who created a hanging modular display unit that enables the work to travel and therefore be used across multiple sites.

And as you can see above, each individual portrait is framed with a colourful border, reflecting the sunny, hopeful sentiment of the campaign. In short, it’s a breath of fresh air.

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See more Humans of Camden: camdentownunlimited.com/humans-of-camden, or follow @CamdenTownUnltd @EustonTown

Main image: Sharon at West Euston Partnership (CTU)

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