Shot by Nico Froehlich
Have you ever walked through a neighbourhood that used to be bustling with life, only to find it's now a shell of its former self? Chances are, you've experienced gentrification.
Gentrification where the working-class neighbourhoods become developed, displacing the original residents. This often happens as affluent, mostly white people move into the area, attracted by new luxury flats and 'almond milk’ serving cafes. Unfortunately, the process can result in inequality and marginalisation of the original community, especially young women and women of colour.
British photographer Nico Froehlich is shining a light on this very issue through his photography.
Born and raised in south-east London, Nico's photography celebrates the beauty and diversity of declining working-class life. With a strong focus on social realism, his images capture the essence of life in the culturally rich streets of South East London.
Growing up as a child of immigrants, Nico says 'he was often made to hide elements of his everyday life'. However, as an adult and photographer, he's taken the opposite approach, actively seeking out and showcasing the very things that once obscured his youth. From the multicultural melting pots of Southwark and Lewisham to the brutalist blocks of Thames-mead, Nico's work showcases the diverse communities that make up a lot of Britain.
Dr Madden, who specialises in housing, public space and urban restructuring, says 'a switch from social housing to market rate housing is “a pretty good indicator”, as is big developers acquiring property in an area that had previously been the domain of smaller or less commercial landlords….“There are new developments of housing everywhere, companies are rebuilding hospitals and old factories into extremely expensive apartments that are so small and so expensive…...
Gentrification really is a growing concern in urban London areas, but through the work of photographers like Nico, we can continue to raise awareness and bring attention to this issue. By celebrating the beauty and diversity of declining working-class communities, we can work to preserve the rich cultural heritage of our cities.
Nico's work has been widely exhibited across Europe, including at Photo London and Heathrow Airport. With a keen eye for capturing the essence of working-class life and a commitment to inclusivity, he's a photographer to watch in the coming years. Through his lens, he brings a fresh perspective to the world, showcasing the beauty and diversity of the 'streets he calls home'.