Women of Peckham

Street Portraits

While colourful and bright now, the simple concept of this small docu-series came from a dark place. Having been forced to leave my country on a few weeks notice at 18, without family or friends, I found myself searching for home. The long journey through the US, South Korea, finally led me to England, where I took the greatest leap of faith and found my home. The first place I ever lived in the UK was a colourful, bursting with life and vigour, multicultural neighbourhood of Peckham. A recent graduate, fresh off the boat from America, thrown into the busy life of one of the most competitive and powerful cities on Earth, I felt small, insignificant and pale. Within the first year in the UK, I've been rejected countless times from job interviews, lost one job and belief in myself, and lost my dear grandmother in Turkmenistan where I was not able to travel. I felt a constant guilt from letting down my family and my husband, fear, self-resentment and hopelessness. The desire to continue living slowly diminished in me. I wandered the streets of Peckham aimlessly, longing for a home, my family, a place for myself - a job I enjoyed, stability, a promise of the future, but I saw none of that. Instead, I saw colour. I saw the most intricate designs worn by stunning African women who wore their headpieces like crowns; young women who admired vintage, seeking out the most extravagant outfits; the flow and patterns of dresses of the African - Caribbean women; artists, musicians, rebels and poets - all dressed in a statement. Those images, imprinted on my heart, gave me the hope for finding my place and sense of belonging. Fast forward to half a decade later, three jobs and a dramatic career shift to photography, two country moves, a global pandemic and motherhood, I found myself back in Peckham, on a sunny afternoon with a camera in my hands, that brought me home - to my calling. I wanted now to learn about their inspirations. So here they are - Women of Peckham.