ˈfōtō ˈfôrtˌnīt frīdē

Aug 16, 2015

This fortnight’s photo was taken on the London Road in East Reading, Berkshire, UK.
Taken during the two week run of the exhibition, Reading: A Start & A Return, a homecoming 30 years in the making, which ended last week.

This area of Reading, known as Newtown is where I attended college 30 years ago and spent my time walking and photographing. During the exhibition I walked and rephotographed this same area as a way to reconnect with both my photography roots and the area. The built environment has stayed substantially the same, with regards to street layout etc. Some individual buildings have been replaced, the Dove Pub, for example, was knocked down and housing erected in its place. Some new housing has crept into spaces around the edges but the overall area remains easily recognizable and in tact.

Two political events however, the expansion of the European Union in 2004 to include Poland and the 2009 decision to allow Gurkha soldiers permanent residency in Britain, have altered the demographics in Newtown.

The Nepalese community became evident to me through small details as I walked around. I began to notice manifestations of the Buddhist faith on windows, doors and cars. Statues of the Buddha, solar powered prayer wheels on car dashboards, and scarves over doorways and in windows.

For me these three stores nicely sum up both the demographics and the fact that these communities have been absorbed into the existing built environment of Newtown.


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