LONDONERS AT HOME:
The Way We Live Now
Part Three of the London Trilogy
BY MILAN SVANDERLIK
Text Editor: Gerald Stuart Burnett
“Lingering he raised his latch at eve,
Though tired in heart and limb:
He loved no other place, and yet
Home was no home to him.”
S T Coleridge, 1772-1834
“It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home.”
Charles Dickens, 1812-1870
“The best / Thing we can do is to make wherever we’re lost / Look as much like home as we can.”
Christopher Fry, 1907-2005
“Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;”
J H Payne, 1791-1852
Following his two most recent exhibitions, 100 Faces of London (2012) and Outsiders in London, Are you one, too? (2015) both of which highlighted the great diversity amongst Londoners, Milan completed his third major project on life in the capital in the Spring of 2018. While Londoners at Home: The Way We Live Now, which forms the final part of his ‘London Trilogy’, can certainly be seen as furthering his interest in exploring the extraordinary diversity of the capital’s inhabitants and the lives they lead, in this final project, Milan stepped out from the studio and photographed people in their own homes or the places where they lived. Through 64 photographs and associated stories, this project considers,‘WHERE do we live?’, ‘WHO do we live with?’, ‘WHAT do we do?’, ‘WHENCE did we come?’, and ‘HOW are we different?’ with a wide variety of sitters contributing to the substantial commentary that now provides extensive and illuminating answers to these existential questions and offers many insights into 'the way we live now'.
Milan comments: “Of course, this concluding project is by no means unique; many artists have been fascinated, inspired even, by the domestic milieu of Londoners and, of course, every artist will view London and its denizens from a different perspective. A number of lives captured at a particular time helps create a record that enables us to see just how the circumstances of most Londoners are changing and evolving, though perhaps for the luckiest or unluckiest few, nothing ever seems to change very much.”
Like its predecessors, Londoners at Home: The Way We Live Now is a wholly non-commercial project. As the outcome of two years’ dedicated, hard work, 64 subjects have been covered extensively and this final figure is very much a product of the extent to which volunteers could be encouraged to come forward in connection with a range of important topics. Any obvious omissions, and there are several, regrettably represent those occasions upon which considerable endeavour to secure suitable sitters proved fruitless.
A very large website was gradually created, featuring all the text, images and material associated with this project. While it was hosted for many years, for a variety of reasons, it is now no longer available. However, an eBook can be purchased worldwide and copies of the hardback book can still be ordered too. Please see below.
Although the final part of the London Trilogy, Londoners at Home, The Way We Live Now, was completed as planned, unfortunately, largely because of the COVID pandemic and the long-term closure of galleries, it did not prove possible to hold a public exhibition.
In seeing the work on his ‘London Trilogy’ draw to a close, Milan was keen to acknowledge the vital contributions of so many others: “Once more, it has been a great privilege to be invited into the homes and lives of so many extraordinary people, people who allowed me to tell something of their life stories and to weave these into what has become a much larger canvass. I thank everyone who has taken part as well as all those who have provided invaluable help and support. While I am the creator of this project, my partner, Gerald Burnett, has contributed a great deal to it too, as have you all, so I see it very much as our project! It has been created by Londoners and it is a celebration of this extraordinary city of ours, with all its highlights as well as some of its darker shadows.