I’ve lived in Chelsea for the past 35 years. Since 2002, I’ve photographed everything I find interesting here — churches, streets, door knockers and pub signs, plus two old Chelsea pensioners chatting on a bench with their medal ribbons and rank pinned to their scarlet coats. I’ve recently finished my project and added these 1,800 photographs to the historical research I’ve done about Chelsea, which is now sitting safely on my bookshelf.
My love of photography comes from my Uncle Jack. When he returned home at the war’s end, he had a Leica camera, which he got by trading his cigarette rations with an Italian civilian. He gave me his old Brownie box camera. As a child, I would wander around my local neighbourhood — Penge, in south London — always looking for a quiet, still moment when my subjects were unaware of me taking their photo.