Emily Rowan

BA Photography
University of West London


The all world is going bazerk and all you can say is

Shoreditch, London 
June ‘14

Revisiting Brick Lane

It had been a good three months since I’d last photographed Brick Lane, the street art hub of London, so I was eager to go back and see what artwork had been replaced and which were still going. It was kind of heartbreaking to see some of my favourite pieces had disappeared, especially as I didn’t like one of the new artworks at all! But this is the nature of street art, pieces are spontaneous and fleeting, and only remain for a short period of time.

I tried to focus mostly on artworks with little statements and slogans; a small text altering the meaning of an entire image. These little finds are hard to come by, but very rewarding and thought-provoking when found. 


#Selfieless - Help Me Please
This is a very powerful piece of artwork, questioning the selfie culture we are currently experiencing in Western society. Selfies seem to be everywhere, a popular way to express yourself amongst the young. #selfieless plays on the popular social media tag and the term ‘homeless’, implying selfies have become overly important to everyday life, and to not have selfies means you cannot get by in society, and need help.

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Journal - Moving Forward

With too much choice it’s easy to get bogged down in what to do next, or so I find. I am free, I have nowhere I have to be today, I’ve got some money I can use. Yet I spent much of the last week sat on my bed getting depressed about how bored and alone I was. You have to be the difference to make the difference, as it were. I’m hoping this week I can be a little more productive.

I was around Brick Lane briefly the other day and rephotographed a few of the doorways that had been painted over since the last time i’d shot around there, about two months ago. I was shooting as a way to fill time and without any real purpose, below is what I want to achieve in the coming weeks.

  • First stop I will go back to Brick Lane, Old Street, Shoreditch High Street and all those other East London places I have photographed this year, specifically to look for street art made up of text with something to say, to build on the collection of images I already have.
  • I would like to explore Hackney, as it is an area I haven’t spent much time in though I believe there may be some more street art and graffiti around there that I don’t know about. Hackney is a part of London I keep hearing about, many comment on the great sense of community there, how the people are very friendly and the want to improve the area. I would like to explore this, and hopefully stumble across some things I can use in my photography.
  • I need to research other street art hubs in London, as surely it can’t all be in the East. Not necessarily street art hubs, just spend some time walking around and really looking - you never know where little statements of street art might be placed.
  • Have a think about what I personally would like to say.


Reflecting on Previous Work


Taken from the evaluation of my last project - Four of my prints include text. Although these texts only take up a small fraction of each image they make a big impact once noticed, becoming the focal point of said image, often altering the viewer’s perception entirely. These single lines are advice, insecurities and positive phrases, and together I find them very interesting. Of everything I have shot this semester, it is this kind of image that I would like to take forward. Perhaps if I had considered my idea more carefully earlier on, this is the idea I would have run with. I feel it would be great to create an alternative portrait not just of Brick Lane but of the whole of London, from varying groups of people with different points of view, using found phrases like these from all over the city. 

These texts could be used to express creativity and confusion amongst young Londoners. In the Central hub for what some in the media have described as “Broken Britain” of late, what are we, the next generation, supposed to do next? How are we to make our way in this time of austerity and confusion when it seems no one has faith in our country? The young are often accused of apathy but I think we simply struggle to see anyone who has our best interests at heart. It’s best to find our own way then, just do the best we can with what we have; creativity and youth and expression might be ALL we have. Street art is an effectively direct way of achieving this, a profound yet anonymous idea or opinion left for the world to see. As young Britons we are privileged like others in the world are not and in London we are surrounded by people from all walks of life, who have come here to become a part of it all. There must be a way to unite us all, maybe our generation and the next will find a more successful way of doing so than the people in power now. Sometimes all you need is a single voice.

This is where I would like to continue developing my ideas from here. Finding a sense of self and belonging in this city, through the voice of isolation and expression of others - we are all in the same boat.

Doorways II

London/Brighton, March ‘14


London, Feb/March ‘14