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Adventures in the Valley

Afterall’s first photo-essay, by Polly Braden and David Campany, chronicles the River Lea in east London, site of the 2012 Olympic Games.

The River Lea runs from the Thames in east London up to Hertfordshire. Beginning at the site for the 2012 Olympic Games it passes industrial estates, sports centres, new build homes, natures reserves and council estates.

Responding to the strange beauty of the area, Polly Braden and David Campany’s photographs reflect both upon east London and on the processes and conventions of producing documentary photography. Working together, their photographs mix observational documentary and experimental stagings, moving from poetic snapshots and theatrical incidents to naturalistic portraits and wild discoveries.

Escape from the city; the reinvention of spaces; the lure of water; the meeting of cultures; the stubborn persistence of nature. Braden and Campany weave these motifs, building a complex description of the past, present and future of this thread of land.

Adventures in the Valley was exhibited as a 150 image, 15 minute digital slideshow at ICA, London as part of the programme London in Six Easy Steps, Summer 2005.

— Polly Braden & David Campany