Drop-in centre. Photos & text Manuel Capurso (5/5)

© Manuel Capurso.

Manuel Capurso writes:

In a metropolis like London, people tend to exist in their own world: their existence as social creatures rapidly diminishes. The result is a sort of public culture that promotes detachment over engagement and where the basis of social solidarity loses significance.

In this contest the drop in centre in Church Street represents a sort of unique experience, where old people can create and maintain “personal communities”. For most of the users the centre is their main form of social contact.  Some of them are poor, in poor health or without family support. By contrast, others have friends outside the centre, from whom they bring stories for those who are more isolated, and they represent a sort of virtual bridge to the outside world.

I spent one week there, the first couple of days trying to engage with them, introducing myself, talking to them, as I was aware that I was breaking their routine. Only after few days, when the novelty effect was over, I started taking pictures, getting varied reaction but being generally accepted as a silent presence. I tried to represent their dignity in the face of the social marginalisation they suffer in the outside world.

… for The London Column. © Manuel Capurso.