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Simon Wheatley exhibition: A poignant portrait of London’s communities

Posted on May 17, 2024

Leica Gallery London is exhibiting the work of acclaimed London-based photographer Simon Wheatley

The exhibition will run from 17 May to 21 July, 2024 and features 21 images from Wheatley’s Silverlink series, which offers a raw and intimate portrayal of London’s diverse communities.

Two women sit on a bench at a train station platform with industrial cranes and buildings in the background, while a man in mid-air vaults over a brick wall.
Custom House 1999 | © Simon Wheatley

The journey of Silverlink

Between 1998 and 2010, Wheatley used the Leica M system to capture the essence of the overland train service known as The North London Line, later renamed Silverlink.

His fascination with the social dynamics of London’s northern inner-suburbs led him to document the neighbourhoods along this route, creating a compelling narrative of the city’s social polarisation and cultural diversity.

A young man sits on a bench at a train station, holding a bacon sandwich and reading a newspaper with graffiti on the wall behind him.
Bacon Sandwich, Canonbury 2001 | © Simon Wheatley

A love letter to London

Wheatley’s work is more than a documentation of train journeys; it is a heartfelt tribute to London and its inhabitants.

His images reveal the city’s multifaceted nature, highlighting both the divides and the connections between people living in vastly different circumstances, with the effects of gentrification forming a central theme.

A grey-haired man in sunglasses and a suit smokes a cigarette, with a group of young people smoking and chatting in the background.
Hairdresser, Richmond 2001 | © Simon Wheatley

The encapsulation of an era

Wheatley’s choice of Kodachrome film, inspired by Bruce Davidson’s Subway series, adds a layer of historical significance to his work.

The discontinuation of this film marked the end of an era, mirroring the conclusion of Wheatley’s Silverlink photographic journey.

A group of young men in casual attire, including baseball caps and sportswear, sit and chat on seats at a train station, embodying youth culture.
Weekend, Finchley Road and Frognal 2003 | © Simon Wheatley

Exhibition details

The Simon Wheatley Exhibition at Leica Gallery runs from 17 May-21 July, 2024. Visitors can purchase all works on show, plus signed copies of Wheatley’s book, Silverlink. Learn more at the Leica Gallery London website.

A group of people wait on a station platform in golden hour light, each absorbed in their own world, highlighting a moment of urban solitude.

Summer Saturday, Dalston Kingsland 2004 | © Simon Wheatley

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