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Ilya Ilford

Ilya Ilford is a Russian citizen who has been living in Edinburgh for the past five years. Following a move to Leith in the north of the Scottish capital, he set out to photograph people he met on the famous Leith Walk.

“Making portraits of strangers helps me to connect with people living in Scotland and understand them a little bit better,” says Ilford.

“My favourite street is Leith Walk, one of the longest and the most vibrant streets in the capital.

“I fell in love with pedestrians and owners of local shops, as well as the light, colours, and textures of the buildings. That’s how the Walk began.”

Ilford aims to shoot at least 100 portraits for the series, all shot on film using a Rolleiflex camera.


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Ilya Ilford

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“I met a gentleman called Ally in a long white coat, who reminded me of David Bowie, smoking a cigarette. Turned out, he had a ‘connection’ to the vintage shop called Epoca. When we were having a little chat inside the shop, the music started to play. The song was Let’s Dance by David Bowie. I’ve always wanted to meet Bowie in real life and that moment felt like I did,” says Ilford.

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Ilya Ilford

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“I liked how the hair of the young barista matched Costa Coffee’s purplish colour,” says Ilford. “I asked if she dyed her hair on purpose after getting a job in Costa, and she laughed and said ‘no’. After a small chat, she said her friends call her Magenta.”

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Ilya Ilford

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“David is one of the most surreal folks I’ve met on the Walk and says he’s often stopped on the street to get his portrait made,” says Ilford.

“I don’t like to spend too much time editing pictures, so film photography helps not to end up with hundreds of similar photographs,” says Ilford.

“Having only 12 shots in one roll allows the photographer to be selective with their subjects.


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Ilya Ilford

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“A few shots feature the banners of Save Leith Walk, a public campaign which aims to prevent the demolition of 1930s sandstone buildings and support local businesses,” says Ilford. “I’m proud that my project captured this important moment in the history of Leith when the community stood up together against commercial development.”

“I’m suffering from social anxiety disorder and getting myself out on the street helps to ease it, as odd as it may sound. Not concentrating on myself while watching and listening to people around can do wonders.

“People are generally friendly and open to having their photos made. Very few say no.

“My goal is to make a visual snapshot of Leith Walk and people passing this street, rather than focusing on documenting their stories. Let the pictures speak for themselves.”


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Ilya Ilford

Image copyright
Ilya Ilford

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Ilya Ilford

Image copyright
Ilya Ilford

Image copyright
Ilya Ilford

Image copyright
Ilya Ilford

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Ilya Ilford

You can follow Ilya’s work on Instagram.

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Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

 

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