Photography by a dynamic local photographer, Eve Milner – a member of our congregation and a Cathedral Guide – was due to be exhibited in a pop-up exhibition over the weekend of 20-22nd March
However, the exhibition clearly had to be cancelled, but we are sharing Eve’s images and the story behind them here with you now. Limited edition prints of the images you see below are available to buy, and Eve and her model have agreed to donate all the profits from these sales to The Robes Project.
The theme for the exhibition was “The Hood, The Hard & The Hungry”, exploring the daily life of South London as it is lived by the voiceless many, capturing stories, and moments, while reflecting on both the compelling and the connective.
Eve Milner created the 5 images of her photo-story in collaboration with her friend and model, Mikalie, a young refugee from Eritrea. They met at the Wednesday Lunch Club run by The Robes Project for guests and former guests of the night shelters run by Robes through the winter in South East London. Having fled from Africa in one of “the boats” from Libya across the Mediterranean, spent some time in the Calais Jungle, and made the sea crossing from there, Mikalie eventually landed in London as an unaccompanied minor of 17. He was sleeping rough before he found a place in one of The Robes’ night shelters. “When I first met Mikalie,” says Eve, “he spoke very little – mainly because he had no English, but also because he is a very shy and private young man. I sometimes take my camera to the Wednesday Lunch Club and offer to do a little photography with any guests who are interested, or have the energy to participate. From the beginning, Mikalie was fascinated by the camera, and we bonded over this, taking photos of each other, and little still life compositions we were able to make together.” Helped and advised by The Robes’ advice workers, Mikalie eventually got leave to remain in the UK after a 3-year battle with the Home Office. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, he was working for www.ChangePlease.org.uk, slowly rebuilding his life, and says that eventually he would like to become a digital animator. He and Eve have kept in touch.
“When I was researching ideas for the exhibition, and looking for inspiration,” Eve says, “I discovered a seafaring meaning of the word ‘hard’. For sailors, a hard is a place of safe landing – for example, Buckler’s Hard in Hampshire. As I live by the River Thames in Bankside, and often walk along the water’s edge at low tide where you can see the rotted wooden remnants of landing jetties, this immediately resonated with me. My thoughts turned very quickly to Mikalie and HIS journey, but the big question was whether or not he would be prepared to collaborate with me on such a personal story. We met and talked about it many times, in so far as we could with his limited English. The real breakthrough came when I took him down to the foreshore at low tide one day, and walked him through some ideas. He eyed the lapping water with concern and said “I’m afraid of water” – with good reason, given the sea voyages he’s had to endure! We looked at the high, seaweed-covered embankment wall, and I explained the English expression “to hit a brick wall” to him. He smiled and nodded, as he knows all about those sorts of brick walls. I showed him an Aran sweater and explained how all the villages on Aran knit sweaters for their fishermen with different stitch patterns. This is so that, if there’s a shipwreck, or an accident at sea, and a body is washed ashore, the fisherman can be identified by the stitches on his sweater, and returned to his home village for burial. Mikalie said “This take man home.” Finally, we were facing the wooden steps leading up from the shoreline to the embankment, and he looked at me and smiled – “Way out” he said. For that final image, I asked him to sit on the steps as if he were a king, and he did.
Please visit the link to an article about this collaboration published in the Evening Standard online here
If you would like to purchase limited edition prints, sizes and prices are listed below, and orders are made via Artist’s Showcase International who can be contacted by email
A2 - £165
A3 - £100
A4 - £75
Please click on image below to enlarge.