Manor Garden Allotments is a visual memorial to the gardens that were demolished to make way for the 2012 London Olympics. Interested in the effect such large scale construction projects have on an area and its residents, Jan Stradtmann saw the eviction of the allotment holders as symbolic of the disruption and often lifechanging consequences that emanate from regeneration schemes. Disconnected from the city on a small island in the East End of London, the Manor Garden Allotments were a collection of 80 garden plots, tended by local families, many of whom had worked on the small plots of land since the 1920s. In October 2007 they were demolished to make way for the 2012 Olympics. Shooting at night and influenced by the flash photography of Weegee‘s famous crime images, Stradtmann selected the garden sheds as his objects of evidence. Standing proud against the night sky and pregnant with the history of their owners, each shed becomes a character in Stradtmann‘s story. With their individual designs and use of ad hoc recycled materials they are all different, bringing into visual relief each of the allotment gardeners‘ own personalities. Curtains at the windows and numbers on the doors remind us that once there was a human spirit associated with these places.
Text by Bridget Coaker
‘Manor Garden Allotments’ (2007), series of 13 photographs, Fine Art Prints, each 40 x 40cm, framed, edition of 5.