Deptford’s flea market is an assortment of house clearance and second hand goods, I have been buying and collecting family albums, snapshots and histories from the market for a few years.
House clearance often indicates that the items have turned up from a person who has died on their own and had no relatives or next of kin to take on their processions so the council go in. Family members or next of kin might not know what to do with the processions or want even them, or it is left in storage and either not paid for or forgotten about and ends up in on the market.
After my mother and father died me and my brothers went through our family history of photos of our youth and adulthood from school reports to our first drawings to photos of our different stages of growth. We kept all the photos and I saw a history I had totally forgotten about even though I had lived it, you realise the enormity of the loss of your parents, the one’s who know you best.
Through seeing these different family histories I get to see the chosen moments in their lives, children, weddings, friends, holidays, christenings, bar mitzvahs, pets, cars and homes.
I don’t have any children and as such don’t have a family history, so to see a strangers family history fills me with wonder and sadness at the passing of time of people I don’t know and never will.
In the photos I have gathered there is a mix of class and religion, earlier photos from 80 years ago they tended to be middle and the upper classes, as they had the access , after the second world war the working class started to use photography and they have all ended up on a market stall in south east London from their different backgrounds. I found the photos from one hindu family’s wedding album, all the other families were christian or jewish. I found ripped photos to remove people as our relationships with others change over time.
Has the value of life diminished in current british society. I recently read a story on BBC news ‘Paupers’ funerals’ cost councils £1.7m http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34943805 where councils appeared to be complaining about the rising cost for local councils of burying single people with no next of kin or money , who were usually living in single occupancy accommodation on benefits. A lot of the photos on Deptford market come from these ends. If our society boils down to money, and if money is a lie, (if a society prints its own money and bails out financial institutions then it bears little significance to its people) and if a person has no money when they die it shouldn’t make any difference, other than a cash strapped council looking put the blame at a rising cost. Our current government is reducing the value of life for most, the hindrance of the poor is another complaint against the withouts, and once you start blaming the poor you can use them for all of society’s ill’s.
Fifty years from now will we still see photos in flea market stalls or will there be stacks of hard drives in their place or will all our current ways of recording family and friends information disappear with the advent of technology as it leaves less physical evidence of prints.
Sound recordings accompany the photos made at Deptford market and a local school.