(Re)constructing Deptford

Place and its people are a central aspect of how my project (Re)constructing Deptford started and how it has progressed. I put place first because it was the primary consideration for me as I began. Now, I consider people who live, work and travel through Deptford to be the thing that holds the place together, with the landscape they find themselves in a social and cultural construct based on the community's interactions with the town.

Regeneration of a place that is close to my heart is of interest to me. Depicting people in this setting that is altering irrevocably before me shows people are a vital aspect of Deptford. I believe my images show something of the strong sense of community I have observed amidst all the redevelopment taking place in the area.

By sharing these images alongside anthropomorphic poems, I am inviting the viewer to explore the ongoing changes in Deptford with me, through my eyes. This is realised by image and poem forming a diegesis which informs the observer of how I perceive these changes. It is a local project so the people who I most want to look at the work are its inhabitants. However, since similar changes can be extrapolated to other developing towns, I consider the project to be wider reaching than Deptford.

My images are made up of composites where people were present at those points in the frame but at different times. This questions the decisive moment within photography and comments on this trope by subverting it. At the same time, it comments on community in developing areas and how, even in times where a place is being reconstructed, there remains spirit amongst its people.

Around here were the docks

Not any kind of docks but royal ones

Thankfully we still have some remnant of them

If only in the boating that goes on

Recreational reminders of my patch’s legacy

Behind me’s where all the new planning began

Looming up from unregulated permits for growth

Development has ripped up my foundations

I’m sure it’s all for the best

Although all for the best for who?

They build upon me every day

In time for the new unveiling

I’m sure I used to be a park

But my memory isn’t that good now, understandably

Over many months my passers-by have inscribed messages

I’ve seen them tag words and images in my side

Though I feel little as the years have rolled by

I’ve noticed less vehicles opposite where I stand

And the new-builds behind me show nothing of the past

Standing still, I feel I am a last relic

And just a wall at that

Many a pint’s been downed within my walls

Just like the memories as my business declined

Not by will of my owners, I’ll wager

More likely just a sign of changing times

Now most of the interest goes to my surroundings

And I wonder how I will fit in with their look

Or if I will fit in the long run at all

I’ve been stationed at the top of the high street for a while

I moved moorings a bit a few years back 

In my glorified naval days, I used to hold fast real ships

But that was ages ago

Now my view stays the same

Except for the erection of towering flats

Or the shops beside me changing hands

Much custom used to come through my doors

People from the past getting their pictures framed

But the irony isn't lost on me

Now I make for a pretty picture myself

As I become more and more dilapidated

With the new flats and park on either side

I might soon be seen in a different context

I live in a rough part of town

Or at least it used to be

People pass by me daily

All different types and creeds

New incomers are becoming more common

Rest assured, those round the corner

They’re safe behind key and gate

First they built the train system

Carving right through me

Connecting me far and wide

Then they built the galleries

They show my changing face

Both inside and out

Connecting people far and wide

You should have seen me a few years ago!

I, the station and my friends, the arches

In a way those were the good old days

With all the old characters present and correct

Now the old guard's changing

Bringing in fresh, gentrified customers

Brought about in part by my infrastructure

I’m the Yard and I’m new!

You can find me just off the high street

But I’m not much like the high street

There was a sign above my head from before

But even that’s been covered up

Now I’ve got a festival once a year

And I take pride of place in my town

On the surface I’m just another part of town

The seasons come and go as do the people

But I’ve retained my character through the changes

Can the same be said for my neighbours?

The trains have surely brought in new faces

And it’s a far cry from when I was renovated

In all though I remain hopeful for my sustained future

(Re)constructing Deptford has been released as a zine! See (Re)constructing Deptford Zine for information

(Re)constructing Deptford was shown from 30th Sept. - 16th Oct. 2021. See (Re)constructing Deptford Show for information

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