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Due for Demolition: Housing Estates and Regeneration with Kit Oates

7 years ago

7 days, 7 images on the World Photography Organisation Instagram feed.

Kit Oates is a portrait, travel and documentary photographer living and working in Kilburn, London. His work has been featured in publications including The Guardian, The Observer New Review, FT Magazine, The Telegraph, and Bike UK. He also creates imagery for web and social media for brand including Google/Youtube, Barclays, HSBC, Virgin Media, Chipotle, Patron Tequila and Capital FM.


What has been the response from the local residents from the series? 

The response from the local community was really great, we had a party and exhibition of the pictures and everyone came down. The posters were put up around the estate and after a few weeks I was surprised that they didn't get graffiti on or ripped. I think because they were portraits of local people they got the respect of the community. I got a lot of people coming up to me afterwards saying how they liked having the pictures around the area, and how it put South Kilburn on the map having a project made about it.

Talk us through the logistics of each photo. How much is done in-camera VS post production? 

I set up a portrait studio in various places across the estate, usually in a community centres or similar. I also built a collection of images of the buildings, and these we're overlaid in photoshop. They were made to look like double exposures, and not too garish, overly photoshopped and too statement-like. The idea was the images would blend into the urban landscape, not jump out at you, so I took the background colours from colour averages of the local buildings.

Why photography, and portraiture in particular?

Ever since I shot my first roll of film there was something really special about being able to freeze time, to pause a moment or person. It allows for a realism and rawness that I'm not sure you can get in other mediums. At college I always regarded portraiture quite highly, and felt like it had an edge over other photographic styles. With portraiture comes a responsibility to capture an accurate representation of that person in their historical context.

What's next for you? 

I am shooting a lot more video these days, it's an exciting medium to explore and the equipment available today allows for new ways to tell a story. I am currently editing a short video I shot in Dominican Republic of a local fishermen called Pepe, he picked me up at 6am and we went out spear fishing and pulling in his pots, he's 55, he fishes every day and has the lungs of an Olympic swimmer, truly inspirational.