George Georgiou
George Georgiou
Last Stop London
“Invisible London Or That All There Is ? The work was shot across the whole of London through the windows of London's famous red double decker buses. Exploring the topography and migrations of London and the increasing diversity of a major Western city as the movement of people continues to change both the urban landscape and the community within it. London, at the forefront of multi-cultural assimilation in Europe allows a view for the possible shape of other European cities as migration into Europe continues at a fast pace. Rules of interaction and proximity are changing, between what the French anthropologist Marc Augè calls non-places, public spaces designed for people to move through in solitude but without isolation, layered against an organic historical city with deep traditions, where old and new are interwoven. It is this space that fascinates me, this migration of people around this very open and public arena, but also a migration that has reached a target, the holy grail of the imagined Western urban dream. It is this new highly fragmented sense of community that the work investigates. Having spent several years living abroad, I decided to move back to London. Although London has always been a dynamic city with a changing demographic, I was really surprised by the speed of change in the makeup of the population and the landscape of the city. I grew up in London and as a young teenager I used to wander through the city by bus with friends. In many ways it was an excuse to go to places I had no real reason or purpose. London’s double decker buses are the perfect “vehicle or vessel” to explore and transverse a complex and vast city, to frame it. It has the advantage of allowing me two perspectives or levels of observation, the lower and upper decks. From this vantage point I can capture the complex phenomenon of urban stratification, how different people use the city through the day, how new layers of architecture, signage and street furniture add to what was already there. How different social, economic and ethnic groups appropriate, shape and adapt to the city. With buses I do not have full control, the random nature of where the bus stops and my position to what is in front of me is not to dissimilar to the encounters we have as we move through the city. I become, as the people I observe, part of the city system where thousands of individual paths cross randomly. A community of invisibility but also of voyeurism and surveillance. Not only is the passer-by invisible, but I, as the photographer becomes a voyeur, become invisible to the outside, like the CCTV cameras in London that follow our every moves. Nonetheless my photography is not detached; I try to capture and understand the emotional content of London’s everyday migrations, rhythms and rituals. For I am part of this rhythm and community, it is also my distance and attachment, for it is my community, my security, my home. “The anthropologist, the journalist, and (apparently) the travel writer seek, and if they are lucky find, explanations and solutions. But the artist may discover that every avenue of inquiry leads to another mystery, more complex and more interesting than the original question.” Francine Prose on the photography of George Georgiou, Aperture Fall 2012.

Biography
George Georgiou was born in London in 1961. He received a BA honours in photography, film and video arts from the Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster) in 1987. In 1999 he joined Panos Pictures in London and began to work exclusively on his own long term projects. He has photographed extensively in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Turkey, living and working in Serbia, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey from 1999 to 2009. Work from this period has resulted in The British Journal of Photography project prize 2010, two World Press Photo prizes in 2003 and 2005, Pictures of the Year International first prize for Istanbul Bombs in 2004. In 2010, his book " Fault Line/Turkey/East/West" was released and exhibited international. His work was included in the prestigious “New Photography 2011" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York Georgiou’s work is collected by several institutions and private collectors, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Elton John collection. Georgiou will be releasing a new book in 2014, Invisible: London. He currently lives in Folkestone, England.